Research

Training zoo animals for better welfare, better nursing

  • March 2017

Background:Historically, methods used to carry out veterinary procedures in animals within a zoo usually involved manual restraint or darting as a first choice.Aim:To see whether any animal can be trained and if that trained behaviour will improve animal welfare through allowing veterinary procedures to be carried out.Method:A range of species were looked at retrospectively to establish if they could be trained and how that affected welfare. A study was then carried out using a group of Zebras, who were trained for hand injection for their annual vaccination.Results:Case studies indicated that any animal can be trained and the results of using training could improve their welfare. The use of remote delivery systems, such as darts, resulted in pain, stress and deferred aggression.Conclusion:A number of different species can be trained to carry out a behaviour, if this is applied in all animals the need for restraint and general anaesthesia could be reduced. This would result in improved welfare to zoo animals, but can be applied to all patients, exotic and small animal.

An in vitro investigation into the efficacies of chlorhexidine gluconate, povidone iodine and green tea (Camellia sinensis) to prevent surgical site infection in animals

An in vitro investigation into the efficacies of chlorhexidine gluconate, povidone iodine and green tea (Camellia sinensis) to prevent surgical site infection in animals

  • October 2016

Background:Surgical site infections are common in veterinary practice; their prevention is based on the preoperative use of topical antimicrobials at the surgical site to reduce resident bacteria to sub-pathogenic levels.AimChlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) and povidone iodine (PI) are the most popular options for preoperative skin preparation in veterinary practice, however increasing bacterial resistance to CHG and PI have been reported; therefore investigation into alternative antimicrobials such as Camellia sinensis (green tea: GT) is required.MethodThe Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method was used to test the antibacterial activity of four dilutions of CHG, PI and GT on the normal flora of animal skin, represented by S. aureus, S. intermedius, S. uberis and S. pyogenes. Zones of inhibition (ZOI) were measured to assess antimicrobial action. Kruskal-Wallis analyses with Mann-Whitney post-hoc tests determined differences in efficacy between the dilutions of antimicrobials for each bacterium tested.ResultsAll antimicrobials inhibited bacterial growth, CHG was more efficacious than PI and GT (p<0.0001; mean CHG: 24.02± 2.05 mm; mean PI: 4.46±1.35 mm; mean GT: 2.90mm±2.60mm). Although GT produced smaller ZOIs than PI, no significant differences in efficacy existed (p>0.05).ConclusionThe results suggest that CHG is the best antimicrobial for preoperative skin preparation. GT did produce an antibacterial effect on three of the four bacteria, although this was inferior to the existing veterinary products used. Therefore GT in the formulation tested is not recommended for use as a veterinary antimicrobial.

A questionnaire based study to assess compassion fatigue in UK practising veterinary nurses

A questionnaire based study to assess compassion fatigue in UK practising veterinary nurses

  • September 2016

Background:Veterinary staff have been identified as a profession at high risk of suffering from the effects of compassion fatigue (CF), although no specific studies have been carried out to date to assess the risk to UK registered veterinary nurses (RVNs), of this important area of mental health.Aims and objectives:To establish whether CF was a risk factor to RVNs, with the aim of improving mental wellbeing across the veterinary profession as a whole.Methods:An internet-based survey was produced, open to all RVNs who had worked in practice within the last 30 days, using a version of the Professional Quality of Life Scale V (ProQOL). The survey was promoted through various means including social media, an email campaign of veterinary practices and an internet link promoted through veterinary nurse (VN) training colleges.Results:A total of 992 eligible responses were received; 92.8% of respondents were identified as being at moderate/high risk of burnout, with 68.1% of respondents being at moderate/high risk of secondary traumatic stress (STS). Levels of burnout and STS were statistically lower in those experiencing high levels of compassion satisfaction (CS).Conclusion:The statistical analysis performed showed that RVNs are at risk of suffering from CF. The study revealed that working as an RVN posed a risk to mental health in the form of CF. The preventative effect of CS was statistically significant therefore employers should strive to ensure their workers achieve satisfaction in their work to help maintain a mentally healthy workforce.

A comparison of the v-gel® supraglottic airway device and non-cuffed endotracheal tube in the time to first capnograph trace during anaesthetic induction in rabbits

A comparison of the v-gel® supraglottic airway device and non-cuffed endotracheal tube in the time to first capnograph trace during anaesthetic induction in rabbits

  • September 2015

Background:Rabbit anaesthesia can be a daunting prospect for many veterinary professionals. Their intubation can be difficult; because of this many rabbits are not intubated during major surgery.Aim:To compare two methods of rabbit intubation and evaluate which achieved a reliable airway in the least time. This will in turn hopefully encourage veterinary nurses to take a more proactive role in rabbit anaesthesia.Materials and methods:Eight rabbits that were admitted for elective neutering were randomly assigned either an endotracheal tube or a v-gel®. Using capnography the ease and success rate of intubation was assessed.Results:The time taken to intubate a rabbit in the v-gel group was quicker than using an endotracheal tube.Conclusion:The v-gel proved to be a reliable method to intubate a rabbit, reducing the risk of trauma to the patient.

Comparison of oesophageal, rectal and tympanic membrane temperature in anaesthetised client-owned cats

Comparison of oesophageal, rectal and tympanic membrane temperature in anaesthetised client-owned cats

  • April 2015

Objectives:To determine the agreement between a veterinary-specific tympanic membrane thermometer and measurement of core oesophageal and rectal temperature in client-owned anaesthetised cats.Methods:A prospective study was performed using 20 cats that were scheduled to undergo general anaesthesia. For each cat, five consecutive temperature recordings were taken from an oesophageal temperature probe (OT), rectal thermometer (RT) and a veterinary-specific tympanic membrane thermometer (TT) prior to surgery. The temperatures were compared using Bland-Altman analysis.Results:Mean differences for the TT compared with OT and RT were -0.86°C (SD = 0.62°C, 95% CI [-2.39°C, 0.67°C]) and -0.93°C (SD = 0.57°C, 95% CI [-2.27, 0.44]) respectively; both greater than the accepted maximal clinical tolerance of 0.20°C. The mean difference for the RT compared with the OT was 0.06°C (SD = 0.28°C, 95% CI [-0.56, 0.67]).Clinical significance:The TT does not accurately represent core body temperature in cats under general anaesthesia and should not be used interchangeably with oesophageal thermometers. Rectal temperatures can be used to reliably approximate core temperature in anaesthetised cats.

An examination of perioperative temperature fluctuations in canine patients undergoing routine neutering

An examination of perioperative temperature fluctuations in canine patients undergoing routine neutering

  • March 2015

Objective:To examine the fluctuations in body temperature in dogs undergoing routine neutering both during surgery and in the recovery phase.Methods:Utilising a convenience sampling approach, body temperatures of 17 healthy male and female dogs undergoing routine neutering were monitored during and after anaesthesia. Temperature recording was carried out with an auricular thermometer to minimise stress and discomfort. Data analysis was carried out using Microsoft Excel 2013 and Minitab 15.Results:Body temperature of 15 of the 17 dogs dropped below 37°C at some point during or after anaesthesia. Examination of median temperature results revealed a drop from the time of preparation for surgery, through to the time of discharge up to 6 hours after the end of general anaesthesia. At discharge the body temperature of five dogs was still lower than 37°C. Body temperature did not return to preanaesthesia levels during the recovery stage for 16 of the 17 patients.Conclusion:Following anaesthesia dogs are likely to demonstrate a lower than normal body temperature and should therefore be monitored throughout recovery. Longer hospitalisation may be required to ensure patients are only discharged once their temperature has returned to baseline level.

Pet owners’ perception and satisfaction of surgery services and outcomes at the Ashanti Regional Veterinary Clinic, Kumasi, Ghana

Pet owners’ perception and satisfaction of surgery services and outcomes at the Ashanti Regional Veterinary Clinic, Kumasi, Ghana

  • December 2014

Aim:To study pet owners’ perception of surgery services and client satisfaction in Ghana in order to improve the quality of surgery services.Method:Self-administered questionnaires were administered to owners of pets that were presented for surgery at the Ashanti Region Veterinary Clinic (ARVC). Data generated were presented in percentages with their standard error of means.Result:80% of the respondents were satisfied with the cost of surgical management, while 92% were satisfied with doctors’ staff attitude.Conclusion:The study revealed an overall client satisfaction of veterinary surgical services at the ARVC however surgeon–client communication need to be improved with respect to knowledge of surgical procedure prior to surgery. Periodic evaluation of veterinary services by service consumers should be encouraged to facilitate service improvement toward better animal healthcare delivery in Ghana.

Analysis of predisposition factors for limb amputation in dogs with survival analysis in those diagnosed with appendicular cancer

Analysis of predisposition factors for limb amputation in dogs with survival analysis in those diagnosed with appendicular cancer

  • September 2014

Aims:This study aimed to contribute to the knowledge of epidemiological factors contributing to limb amputation in dogs. A survival analysis for limb amputees from cancerous causes was also performed.Methods:Data were collected in 2010 from 152 owners of amputee dogs. And a statistical analysis was performed to differentiate effects of gender, castration, age, breed, treatment and behaviour after surgery. A cox regression was also performed to analyse these same effects in survivability.Results:A larger proportion of amputee bitches than dogs are associated with cancer while a larger proportion of amputee dogs than bitches are associated with trauma; castrated/spayed dogs were diagnosed older than intact dogs; cancerous causes of amputation were diagnosed later in dogs' lives than traumatic causes; dogs showing an animal behaviour in the first week after amputation were diagnosed with cancer younger than dogs showing a vegetal/rock behaviour. Treatment by chemotherapy has a better survivability than holistic therapy, and patient receiving chemotherapy exhibit animal rather than vegetal/rock behaviour.Conclusion:The survival analysis gives clear indication of the benefits of chemotherapy over holistic treatments. Animal behaviour post surgery is also related to survivability.

Student veterinary surgeon support for and knowledge of veterinary nursing professional regulation in the UK

Student veterinary surgeon support for and knowledge of veterinary nursing professional regulation in the UK

  • July 2014

Objective:To investigate UK student veterinary surgeons’ knowledge of and support for the veterinary nursing profession and how this differs between veterinary institutions.Methods:Data were examined from a quantitative questionnaire, sent to the population of final year veterinary students at each of the seven veterinary institutions in the UK.Results:An association was found between respondents attending a university offering a veterinary nursing degree and increased support for the veterinary nursing profession (p=0.016), this however did not influence respondents knowledge of the veterinary nursing profession. No statistical correlation was found between the university a respondent attended and respondents’ knowledge of and support for the veterinary nursing profession.Conclusion:Results demonstrated that final year veterinary students supported the veterinary nursing profession and veterinary student knowledge of the veterinary nursing profession was evenly distributed amongst the student veterinary surgeon population. Veterinary students attending universities which also offered veterinary nursing courses showed increased support for the veterinary nursing profession.

How to select an appropriate wound dressing

How to select an appropriate wound dressing

  • March 2014

Wound management forms a vital part of nursing practice. With such a vast variety of wound dressings available on the veterinary market, the registered veterinary nurse (RVN) should ensure they are familiar with the function and purpose of the dressings they are applying to their patients. Over recent years, wound care has advanced with the introduction of dressings with anti-microbial properties along with an improved understanding of the science behind wound dressings. This article aims to provide the RVN with a basic knowledge of the different varieties of wound dressings available for our veterinary patients, along with a brief overview of their main functions and applications.

A preliminary evaluation of surface electromyography as a tool to measure muscle fatigue in the National Hunt racehorse

A preliminary evaluation of surface electromyography as a tool to measure muscle fatigue in the National Hunt racehorse

  • November 2013

Background: Within equestrian sports, training is commonly based on historic and anecdotal good practice. Telemetric surface electromyography (sEMG) systems facilitate assessment of muscle recruitment including mean motor unit action potential (mM-UAP). Mean EMG frequency (mEMGF) provides an objective measure of fitness levels while a shift in the median EMG frequency (MeEMGF) over time can illustrate fatigue.Aim: This study aimed to investigate if sEMG could be used in the field to evaluate muscle activity of the Gluteus superficialis in a cohort of National Hunt racehorses during one canter interval training session.Method: Sensors were secured bilaterally to horses' Gluteal superficialis prior to exercise and data were collected over a standardised 10 metre interval. A repeated measure ANOVA assessed differences in mEMGF between runs across the cohort and between runs for individual horses. A Pearson's correlation identified if mEMGF was related to perceived fitness level as assessed by the trainer. mEMGF and MeEMGF for individual horses were plotted over time (0.25 second intervals) to assess fitness and fatigue.Results: Individual horses exhibited a wide variety of mMUAP values. No differences were found between runs for the overall cohort (p>0.05) however significant differences were found between runs within some individual horses (p<0.01). No relationship between fitness level and mEMGF was found (p>0.05), mEMGF varied throughout runs and MeEMGF for most horses remained consistent indicative of a lack of fatigue.Conclusion: The results suggest that this technology exhibits potential to be used to aid analysis of efficacy of training programmes for individual horses.

Kinematic analysis of the equine mastication cycle pre and post prophylactic dental treatment

  • May 2013

AbstractBackground: The domestic horse is utilised as a companion or competition animal, subsequently many horses are exposed to management regimens which can limit mastication opportunities often resulting in the development of pathology requiring prophylactic dental treatment (routine floating). To date, limited research has undertaken evaluation of the efficacy of mastication pre and post floating. Aim: This study aimed to utilise kinematic analysis to measure changes within lateral excursion and power stroke duration as a result of routine floating to establish its influence on the mastication cycle. Methods: Six horses presenting with sharp buccal and lingual points were charted by a qualified equine dental technician and then underwent kinematic analysis of mastication (Qualysis ProReflex) on Day 0. Prophylactic dental treatment was conducted on Day 1 and kinematic evaluation was repeated on Day 8. Results: No differences were found pre to post floating for the duration of the power stroke or lateral excursion. However, distances travelled during both the power stroke and lateral excursion exhibited significant differences between treatments. The horse appears to exhibit a 'natural' frequency for components of mastication including the durations of the cycle, power stroke and lateral excursion. Increases in distance travelled could facilitate attrition over a larger surface area of the cheek teeth thus improving the efficiency of the mastication cycle. Conclusion: Prophylactic dentistry appears to produce initial enhancement of the 'power' component of the mastication cycle which should exert a positive influence on attrition and thus improve welfare in the horse. Further research to evaluate the longitudinal impact of prophylactic dentistry is warranted.

A study on veterinary nursing university student email writing

A study on veterinary nursing university student email writing

  • April 2013

Aim:To examine how a cohort of 38 veterinary nursing students responded in their learning of written communication in the form of an email.Methods:Two sets of emails, written ‘before’ and ‘after’ exposure to a series of instructions and learning activities focused on written communication, were evaluated. Scores were awarded to each email based on a checklist of structure and components considered essential for an effective student email. Frequency charts and paired-samples t-test were used to compare the scores of the two sets of emails.Results:Results showed improvements in the after emails. Inclusion and correct presentation increased for six out of the nine components in the checklist. Pair-samples t-test, at level p>0.05, indicated there was no significant difference between the mean scores of the two sets of emails. Results also revealed the use of smartphones and emoticons by the students.Conclusion:Communication skills, including the effective use of emails, should be taught at undergraduate level in veterinary nursing to better prepare graduates for the workplace.

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