Assessment of dog welfare in a veterinary clinic waiting room

Chiara Mariti and colleagues, University of Pisa, Italy

Visits to a veterinary surgery are known to be a cause of stress for many dogs. The authors carried out a study in which 45 dogs were videoed in the waiting room before a veterinary consultation and the results were examined by an animal behaviourist and the owner to identify behavioural signs of stress. Two thirds of dogs spent more than 20% of their time displaying at least one indicator of stress, such as panting, lowered ears, trembling or whimpering, etc, while 53.5% showed four or more of those signs. The behaviourist's assessment indicated that the dog's level of stress was high in 28.9% of cases. Those dogs rated as highly stressed by the behaviourist were more likely to display resistance to being led into the consulting room. However, the owner's assessment of stress in their dogs showed little correlation with the time spent showing such signs or the numbers of those indicators and there was little agreement between the evaluations made by the owner and behaviourist. These findings show that the welfare of dogs in the veterinary waiting room is often impaired and that owners are unable to accurately assess stress in their dogs in those situations.

Animal Welfare 24(3), 299-305

Benefits of developing ‘dogmanship' – or expertise in handling canine patients

Elyssa Payne and others, University of Sydney Australia

Horsemanship is a concept familiar to most people and has been defined as demonstrating an understanding of best practice in interactions between a rider and their horse. The authors present the related idea of ‘dogmanship' as a set of skills focussing on the ability to understand and interact with dogs. The authors review the evidence on the ways that a dog's mental state is reflected in its behaviour and how human behaviour can create positive responses from the animal. They maintain that it is important for veterinarians and vet nurses to develop an interest in this academic discipline and that doing so would create significant benefits in improved staff safety animal welfare and client satisfaction.

The Veterinary Journal 204(3), 247-254

Nutritional features of OTC diets marketed as beneficial for skin and coat health

Lily Johnson and others, Tufts University Massachusetts

Manufacturers of over-the-counter pet foods will often make claims in their product advertising implying that the product can improve skin and coat quality. Consequently dog owners will frequently blame dermatological problems in their animal on its diet. The authors looked at the marketing claims made for 24 commercial dry and canned products in relation to their ingredients and nutritional profile. Their findings show that terms such as digestive health, sensitive or premium were frequently used but were poorly defined and have little relevance to canine coat or skin health. Owners of dogs with skin problems are urged to consult their veterinary advisor in choosing appropriate diets.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 246 (12), 1 334¬1338

Potential role for silver coated catheters in preventing bacterial urinary tract infections

Adam Ogilvie and others, University of Guelph, Ontario

Indwelling urinary catheters are a necessary part of patient care in a range of conditions but the development of bacterial infections is a common complication in catheterised dogs. Use of silver coatings on these tubes has been shown in human patients to reduce the risk of surface contamination with biofilms containing pathogenic bacteria. The authors examined the effectiveness of such coatings on canine urinary catheters by incubating the drains with Escherischia coli and then using scanning electron microscopy to semi-quantitatively assess biofilm formation over a three day period. There were significantly fewer bacteria on the coated tubes than on conventional catheters.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 56(5), 490-494

Use of low level laser therapy in stimulating hair growth in dogs with alopecia

Lara Olivieri and others, South Modena Veterinary Clinic, Spilamberto, Italy

Low-level laser therapy is a technique approved by the US authorities for the treatment of hair loss in humans. A similar form of noninflammatory alopecia occurs in dogs but there appears to be no previously published reports investigating the use of this technique in that species. The authors administered LLLT twice weekly for a maximum of two months in seven dogs with a clinical and histopathological diagnosis for this condition. By the end of treatment there were significant signs of regrowth in the treated area compared with an untreated control area of the same animal in six of seven cases and minor improvement in the seventh.

Veterinary Dermatology 26(1), 35-39

Efficacy of a weight-control diet in controlling canine obesity

Undine Christmann and others, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

There is an estimated prevalence of excess weight or obesity in between 50 and 60% of pet dogs, according to some recent studies. This condition is the most important canine nutritional disorder with a major impact on longevity and quality of life. The authors report the findings of an international study involving 162 overweight/obese pet dogs which were given a novel commercial low calorie diet (Hill's Pet Nutrition). In 94% of these cases, the dogs lost weight by an average of 14.5% and six months into the study 39% had achieved their ideal bodyweight.

International Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine 13 (2), 104-116

DOI: 10.1080/17415349.2015.1084254 

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 30 • November 2015 •