Clinical

The veterinary nurse's role in the management of acute oropharyngeal injury in dogs

Oropharyngeal injuries are commonly seen in practice. Severity can range from minor the life threatening. It is important that veterinary nurses can confidently perform an initial triage, recognise life-threatening problems, and provide initial stabilisation to these patients. Nurses play a fundamental role in the management of these cases throughout their stay in hospital. This article aims to provide practical advice and guidance on cases of oropharyngeal injury, and the importance of client...

The use of behaviourally-active medication in companion animals part 3

Behaviour cases are common in general practice and veterinary nurses can play a vital role in their identification and management. Full behavioural assessment and implementation of a behaviour modification protocol remains essential, but increasingly animals may also be prescribed psychoactive medications. The third part of this article outlines some of the ways in which veterinary nurses can contribute to improving the behavioural welfare of the animals under their care. In addition to being...

Summer poisoning hazards to pets

As the spring turns to summer, owners and their pets will spend even more time out of doors. Some venomous animals are more active in the warmer months and there is risk of adder bites or stings from bees, wasps and hornets. Adder bites can result in significant morbidity but low mortality. Insect stings commonly cause local reactions and although these are generally mild, stings involving the airway are more hazardous since there is risk of respiratory obstruction. In addition, there is also a...

Veterinary nutritional assessment: the importance of an interprofessional approach

Few pet topics provoke more debate and discussion than pet nutrition. The veterinary healthcare team have a central role as the expert source of information for optimal pet nutrition, with each member capable of playing an important part in providing optimal nutritional support and recommendations. This article provides an important reminder of nutritional assessment and specific dietary recommendations as the fifth vital assessment and an essential part of patient care for every pet at every...

Should veterinary professionals be having more frequent CPR training?

This literature review critically analyses papers on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, the studies suggest frequent training or retraining can help with CPR; the evidence of medical professionals in various roles and environments shows that regular training for staff can help with skills and knowledge retention. This training also demonstrates that there can be improvement in chest compression depth and efficiency as well as better response times of staff to a cardiopulmonary arrest....

The role of energy and weight: from conception to adulthood

Growth represents a fundamental phase in a cat or dog's life and plays an important role in their life-long health. Energy intake influences not just bodyweight (both weight gain and loss), but also the rate of growth and even the success of reproduction. This article will take an in-depth look at the changing energy needs of cats and dogs from conception to adulthood and the role weight plays in supporting optimal growth.

The use of behaviourally-active medication in companion animals part 2

Behaviour cases are common in general practice and veterinary nurses can play a vital role in their identification and management. Full behavioural assessment and implementation of a behaviour modification protocol remains essential, but increasingly animals may also be prescribed psychoactive medications. This second of three articles focuses on the use of short-acting behaviourally-active medication in dogs and cats. This is particularly relevant to veterinary nurses because they are very...

Endotracheal intubation of the dog and cat

Endotracheal intubation is performed for general anaesthesia, critical care, and emergency situations. As the veterinary surgeon often performs this procedure, it may be under-developed, or minimally practiced by veterinary nurses (VNs) despite being legal to perform in several countries. As an emergency skill, and as the role of VNs grows, this article aims to act as a resource for VNs wanting to learn to perform endotracheal intubation correctly. This article will only review the purpose of...

Nurse-led rabbit clinics

Nursing clinics are an excellent time to provide information to prospective and current owners about their pets. Rabbits are an often-overlooked pet and encouraging rabbit owners to attend nurse-led rabbit clinics can help to correct any underlying husbandry issues to prevent disease. Subtle signs of ill health can also be identified during nursing clinics, resulting in reduced morbidity. Of particular note, geriatric rabbit clinics should be performed frequently, as geriatric rabbits are more...

Mask wearing in the veterinary practice

The clinical environment of a veterinary practice relies on personal protective equipment (PPE) for infection and biosecurity control, especially in areas such as the operating theatre room, dental suites and isolation wards. PPE places a barrier between staff and exposure risk and helps prevent the spread of pathogens between animals and staff. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks were mainly required in clinical areas that posed the highest risk. However, as a result of SARS-CoV-2, the...

Quality improvement for patient safety and a better practice culture

This article explores the subjects of quality improvement, patient safety and practice culture, and the relationships between them. These subjects are highly relevant to the care that patients receive — learning more about them can improve our ability to treat animals effectively. A positive practice culture is one that encourages civility, teamwork, a blame-free attitude to errors, and a learning approach for the whole team. Quality improvement is a mechanism to improve standards of care — it...

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