Latest Articles & News

Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month

May 8th, 2017

The month of May celebrates National Veterinary Nurse Month, which aims to increase awareness of the importance of the Veterinary Nursing profession in the provision of responsible pet care. This prompts the questions; what does a Veterinary Nurse do, what training is required to become a Veterinary Nurse, and what is the difference between the Veterinary Nurse and a Vet, or Veterinary Surgeon? I have found through working in practice that many members of the public would not be able to answer these questions. In short, the Veterinary Nurse performs a variety of roles within the practice, which I will cover in detail below, and a qualified Veterinary Nurse will have completed 2-4 years of training at either college or university. The Veterinary Surgeon is responsible for the medical and surgical treatment of animals, they diagnose illnesses, prescribe medicines and perform surgery, which requires 4-6 years of training at university. As I define the duties of a Veterinary Nurse, the differences between the roles of a Veterinary Nurse and Veterinary Surgeon should become clearer.

As a Veterinary Nurse we have a very diverse and interesting career which often means we have different responsibilities each day! We conduct nurses clinics which include; admitting patients to the practice; discharging them back home following operations or hospitalisation; weight clinics; post-operative check-ups; clip claws; flea and worm consults; anal gland emptying; six month pet health checks if you are on our Pet Health Plan; and many more!

As nurses we take blood samples from patients, and then can also run the blood tests in-house, as well as running in-house urine tests. We also place intravenous catheters in hospitalised patients, as well as patients coming in for operations. We monitor and care for in-patients throughout the day and administer medication, administer fluid therapy and even hand feed patients when needed! We can administer medications by injection, as well as orally and topically.

When a patient is required to be operated on a Veterinary Nurse will prepare them, clipping and scrubbing the site of incision. During the procedure a Veterinary Nurse will monitor the patient’s vitals throughout the entire duration of the general anaesthetic. It is part of a nurse’s responsibility to keep the patient alive during an operation! Following the operation, we monitor the patients making sure they have recovered, eaten, been outside, and then later in the day prepare them to go home. Veterinary Nurses are able to scrub into operations to assist the Veterinary Surgeon and perform minor surgical procedures, whilst under Veterinary Surgeon direction. We are also fully trained on positioning the animal for X-rays, setting the correct exposure factors and taking radiographs.

Veterinary Nurses cannot prescribe medication, however much like a pharmacist we are able to dispense medication. The Veterinary Nurse also plays a large role in ensuring the practice is clean and tidy, keeping the theatres and veterinary equipment sterile to maintain our practice’s high standards.

I find my work as a Veterinary Nurse very rewarding, particularly caring for ill patients and then seeing them return home well again.

There are a number of ways to become a Veterinary Nurse, through either vocational or higher education routes and training can take between 2 and 4 years to complete. Once qualified, Veterinary Nurses must enter a national register held by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and are required to undertake continuing professional development each year to learn new skills and keep up to date with developments in veterinary medicine. Registered Veterinary nurses can be identified by a red badge worn on the lapel of their uniform. If you are interested in pursuing a career in Veterinary Nursing, please take a look at the work experience section of our website, we often provide placements for students.

Laura Puddefoot RVN

Newsletter – Summer 2017

May 8th, 2017

Newsletter Summer 2017
Our Summer newsletter is now available. We publish these newsletters regularly, usually every quarter. Each provides a series of short articles covering advice and information for keeping your pet happy and healthy.

Click the image to the right to view the Newsletter fullsize (Adobe PDF document)

Spring has sprung it’s National Pet Month!

March 24th, 2017

National pet month is an annual event which celebrates our love of our pets and promotes ways to ensure pet owners and potential pet owners have happy, healthy pets.

The campaign encourages pet owners to first think carefully before getting a pet to make sure that all of its welfare needs can be met. Can you provide the following:

  • A nutritious/well-balanced diet which is appropriate for the pet and its age?
  • Suitable safe housing, bedding and comfort?
  • Can you keep your pet clean and clean up after your pet?
  • Exercise at least once a day and ensure the pet is sociable and trained?
  • Protection from diseases? Ask your vet for advice.
  • Prevention of unwanted litters and neuter your pet?
  • Legal identification? A collar and tag and microchip for a dog
  • Have the financial means or insurance to cover unexpected vet treatment or 3rd party liability?

Our nurses can discuss any of these points with you in more detail. If you would like further information, call to book a nurse appointment. Avenue Vets also offer a healthcare club in which you can spread the cost of your annual vaccinations, parasite treatment and preventative healthcare giving you continual yearly savings of up to 24%!

Overcome firework fear NOW!

March 10th, 2017

Do you have a dog that’s scared of fireworks? If so, you may be enjoying the lighter evenings of spring, grateful that the next firework season is (hopefully) months away. But if your dog is scared of fireworks, now is the best time to do something about it.

When an animal is scared of a noise, we can help them to overcome this fear by gradually introducing them to the noise at a very low level. This is called “desensitisation”. This needs to be done slowly and carefully, or it can make the animal worse. That’s why we recommend starting a desensitisation programme months before firework season starts.

How does a programme work?

Desensitisation works by exposing the dog to a very low level sound of fireworks and then increasing this over time. The most important part of any desensitisation programme is to take it slowly. We recommend doing 8 short sessions a week.

You can buy recordings of fireworks and other scary noises from Avenue Veterinary Centre.

1) First, choose or create a safe area in which to play the sounds. You may already have an area in which your dog feels safe, in which case the programme can be started here. You can also use calming-sprays to help them feel settled; we sell DAP and Pet Remedy at Avenue Veterinary Centre.

2) Play the CD at a very low level. Your dog may show a short response (10-30seconds) but should not show sustained anxiety; if so, you need to decrease the volume further.

3) After a 10-30second period of orientation, give the dog a high valued reward, such as a treat or toy. This is to help the dog associate the slightly scary noise with something positive. Remember if you give treats, you will need to decrease the amount of food they get for dinner! Only play the CD for a short period.

4) Over time, your dog will stop showing any anxiety when the low level noise is played. When this happens, you can slightly increase the volume of the CD and then repeat the process ie. allow them a period to settle, then distract with a reward. If at this point your dog becomes overly anxious, decrease the volume.

5) With hard work and effort, and gradually increasing the volume of the firework CD, your dog will stop being anxious when the sound plays. At this point, you can attempt to make it more realistic, e.g. play the sound at night with the curtain closed, or try it in a different room. Remember, if your dog ever shows signs of prolonged anxiety, go back a stage.

We know that having a pet that’s scared of fireworks can be upsetting for their owners and we would love to be able to help our patients overcome this fear. If you have any questions about implementing a desensitisation programme, or how to help your dog overcome any fears, please call the practice.