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The veterinary nurse's role in recognising sepsis

02 June 2017
11 mins read
Volume 8 · Issue 5


Sepsis is a common condition affecting many in patients in veterinary practice, and has a high morbidity and mortality rate. Veterinary nurses play a key role in practice, often spending much of their time with the hospitalised patients. Therefore, it is important to stay informed on current research and guidelines, to be able to recognise changes in patients that may indicate sepsis.

Sepsis is a term used to describe a patient that is suffering from systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) with the added element of infection (Moore, 2006). Septic shock is defined as a patient with sepsis that is also suffering from life threatening organ dysfunction (Surviving Sepsis Committee (SSC), 2012).

Sepsis is a common condition affecting many veterinary patients, and is shown to have an extremely high mortality rate in human medicine (Dellinger et al, 2012), and the same can be assumed of veterinary patients. It is worth knowing the main clinical signs that may indicate sepsis in patients to be able to alert the veterinary surgeon as quickly as possible. It has been shown that early recognition and treatment of sepsis improves mortality in human patients by up to 50% (Surviving Sepsis Campaign Committee (SSC), 2015).

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