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Nurse-led parasite control

02 March 2017
11 mins read
Volume 8 · Issue 2
Figure 1. Small slug.
Figure 1. Small slug.


This article explores the development of parasite-control plans and the role of veterinary nurses in their development. Through identification of risk and improved education of clients, the veterinary nurse can increase compliance and therefore the health of pets. This can be achieved throughout veterinary practices but dedicated nurse-run parasite-control clinics offer an opportunity for nurses to spend time with clients and assess their pet's parasite control needs. Parts of this article are based on an article to be published in April issue of The Veterinary Nurse Journal entitled ‘Parasite control clinics and the role of the veterinary nurse’, which will expand further on some of the themes explored here.

Cats and dogs are exposed to a wide range of parasites such as Toxo-cara spp.., Echinococcus granulosus, Angiostrongylus vasorum and tick-borne diseases, which may cause significant disease in pets or present zoonotic risks to owners (Morgan et al, 2005; Overgaauw and van Knapen, 2013; Craig, 2014). Although there are few data on current UK disease incidence from these parasites, the consequences of infection are potentially severe. This article discusses some of these clinical syndromes and risk factors, as well as the role of veterinary nurses in assessing this risk, and developing subsequent parasite-control plans.

Strategies to limit parasitic disease rely on a combination of practical control measures and preventative drug treatments; these form the basis of parasite-control protocols for individual pets. Parasite-control programmes are becoming increasingly popular and important as treatment options and potential parasite threats increase. Parasite-control programmes allow for bespoke advice based on regional risk and lifestyle of the pet. Asking questions surrounding lifestyle, previous treatment adverse effects, and owner preferences will also help to maximise compliance, and therefore the effectiveness of any recommended treatment. The collection of information required to formulate a parasite-control plan is a team effort and the veterinary nurse plays a vital role.

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