Impact of medical mistakes and near-misses on the wellbeing of veterinary staff

Lori Kogan and others, Colorado State University Fort Collins

Medical errors will inevitably occur on occasions during the treatment of human and veterinary patients. They may result from a range of factors: administering the wrong medicine or the wrong dose, failure to recognise an allergic response, misidentifying the patient, or carrying out the wrong surgical procedure, etc. A mistake may be catastrophic for the patient concerned but will also have a significant impact on the attending medical staff. The authors report the results of a questionnaire survey completed by 606 veterinarians on their personal experience of such events. Overall 74% of respondents acknowledged their involvement in at least one adverse event or near miss. Even these near misses had an adverse short-term impact on the professional lives of 68% of respondents and a long-term effect on 36.4%. Female respondents tended to report greater emotional distress after such incidents than their male colleagues.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 252(5), 586-595

Epidemiology, management and outcomes in dogs involved in road traffic accidents

Georgina Harris and others, Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire

Road traffic accidents are one of the major causes of traumatic injuries in dogs and the fourth most common cause of death in animals under four years old. The authors analysed data from 115 clinics participating in the Vet Compass programme which gathers clinical information from a large, representative sample of cases in UK first opinion practice. The data suggests that younger dogs and male animals were more likely than others to be involved in road accidents. Overall, 22.9% of patients died at a result of their injuries. In comparison with the approach taken in dealing with human trauma victims, ultrasound was underutilised as a diagnostic imaging method and the use of analgesia in these canine patients was lower than expected.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Clinical Care 28(2), 140-148

Wearable sensor technology in the management of pruritis in dogs

Joel Griffies and others, Animal Dermatology Clinic, Marietta, Georgia

Measuring the effects of pruritis in dogs can be challenging because it relies heavily on the observations of pet owners who may vary in their ability to find time for assessing the pet's behaviour and to accurately record any changes. The emergence of wearable technologies for monitoring activity offers a potential solution to those problems. The authors describe the use of a sensor device for recording head shaking and scratching behaviours in pruritic dogs. A comparison with video recordings of the dogs' behaviour showed that the sensors were reasonably accurate at distinguishing between scratching, head shaking and other activities. This system may therefore be a useful tool for monitoring pruritis in both a clinical and research setting.

BMC Veterinary Research 14:124 (Open Access)

Demographic and environmental factors involved in feline obesity

Malin Ohlund and others, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala

The prevalence of obesity in cats has been shown to vary considerably in different study populations. The authors investigated the prevalence and potential risk factors for two large cohorts, cats treated at a university clinic and respondents to a questionnaire sent to clients of a pet insurance company The proportion of cats recorded as obese was higher in the medical records (45%) than in the questionnaire cohort (22%), in which the owners were asked to judge their pet's body condition. Eating predominantly dry food, being a greedy eater and lack of activity were all associated with an increased obesity risk.

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 60:5 (Open Access)

Use of dilute bleach as an antiseptic agent on the skin of canine patients

Frane Banovic and others, University of Georgia, Athens

The emergence of multi-drug resistant bacteria has increased interest in the use of antiseptic agents as an alternative to antibiotics in veterinary medicine. Sodium hypochlorite (dilute bleach) is an inexpensive and widely available topical antiseptic. The authors investigated the tolerability and efficacy of this agent in controlling bacteria on the skin surface of healthy dogs. Their results show that topically applied dilute bleach at hypochlorite concentrations of 0.05% and 0.005% was well-tolerated, with no evidence of significant skin irritation, and also exhibited useful anti-inflammatory properties.

Veterinary Dermatology 29, 6-e5

Evaluation of two devices for analysing faecal parasite burdens

Kelsea Medeiros and others, Cornell University New York State

Two new devices have recently been introduced on the US market for use in identifying and counting parasite eggs and cysts in faecal samples. The two products, designated OT and ST were evaluated alongside two stationary flotation devices and a standard double-centrifugal sugar-flotation process when testing for hookworm, ascarid and whipworm eggs and Giardia cysts in companion animal faecal samples. Although the two new tests had good sensitivities for the nematodes tested, egg recovery rates were lower than those achieved by standard double-centrifugal sugar-flotation and false-negatives did occur.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 54(1), 36-45 

Assessment of pain and use of analgesia in rodents

Paul Flecknell, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Most currently available analgesic drugs used in human medicine were originally developed through studies in laboratory rodents. Yet the use of analgesics to treat the results of painful procedures in rodents is unacceptably low. The author reviews the available literature on the recognition of pain in rodents and assesses range of options for providing suitable pain relief. He notes that effective post-procedural analgesia requires reliable ‘cage-side' methods for assessing pain.

Recent advances in pain assessment methods should lead to more extensive and effective use of analgesics in these species.

The Veterinary Journal 232(1), 70-77

Use of fluid therapy in the treatment of canine and feline patients

Kate Hopper and others, University of California, Davis

While there is extensive literature on the application of fluid therapy in human patients there is a shortage of equivalent information from veterinary practice. The authors investigated current protocols in a survey completed by 1,496 small animal practitioners. Balanced crystalloid solutions were the most common fluid type used in all clinical scenarios. Despite the regular use of fluids in the responding practices, the findings suggest that clinical staff found many aspects of fluid therapy challenging and there is a need to develop easy-to-use, evidence-based guidelines for general practice.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 252(5), 553-559

Use of lavender aromatherapy to relieve stress in trailered horses

Kylie Heitman and others, Albion College, Michigan

Transporting horses in trailers is known to cause stress,
producing an increase in heart rate and blood cortisol levels. The authors investigated whether lavender oil-based aromatherapy would have beneficial effects on horses undergoing a 15 minute journey in a trailer Measurements taken before, during and 50 minutes after the journey showed that exposure to the lavender oil had no significant effects on heart rate. However, there was a significant reduction in blood cortisol levels in the treatment group during the journey.

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 63(1), 8-12

Stability and storage of commonly used injectable chemotherapy agents

Catherine Chan and others, Queensland Veterinary Specialists, Brisbane

Many chemotherapeutic drugs used in human oncology patients are discarded after a single use, or within 24 hours of reconstitution. This practice follows the product label instructions but may be wasteful and costly for the owners of veterinary patients. The authors review the data on the stability and storage of 19 injectable chemotherapy drugs used in veterinary medicine. Their findings indicate that longer storage is possible without significant loss of drug efficacy and would reduce the costs of chemotherapy for veterinary clients.

Veterinary and Comparative Oncology 15(4), 1124—1135

Comparison of aloe vera and omeprazole in treating equine gastric ulcer syndrome

Jordan Bush and others, University of Adelaide, South Australia

Aloe vera gel is reported to have been used successfully in the treatment of gastric ulceration in humans and in laboratory species. The authors tested this material as a potential treatment for equine gastric ulcer syndrome, which affects a large proportion of the sporting and leisure horse population. After 28 days treatment there was clinical improvement in 56% of the horses receiving this treatment and complete healing in 17%. However both improvement (85%) and healing (75%) rates were significantly higher in a group of horses receiving standard omeprazole therapy.

Equine Veterinary Journal 50(1), 34-40

Use of equine nutritional supplements by Irish horse owners

Jo-Anne Murray and others, University of Glasgow

There has been significant growth in the market for dietary supplements in the equine industry over the past 20 years. The authors investigated the types of product sold and the rationale for their use among Irish horse owners. There were 134 responses to the survey with 98% of professional horse owners and 86% of leisure horse owners saying that they did provide supplements for their animals. Joint supplements (22% of respondents) and products with claimed calming effects (13%) were the most popular items used. About 90% of respondents said that veterinary recommendation was the most influential factor in choosing a product.

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 33 • June 2018