Opportunities for incorporating the human-animal bond in companion animal practice

Oliver Knesl and others, Zoetis Inc., Florham Park, New Jersey

Clients that have a strong bond with their pet are more likely to accept healthcare recommendations from veterinary staff, will visit the practice more frequently and are more likely to seek preventive care. The authors discuss the nature of the human-animal bond and how this concept may be incorporated into the everyday practices of a veterinary clinic. They emphasise the importance of addressing two key issues, improving client communication and developing better procedures for handling patients to reduce signs of stress. A focus on empathic communication, which encourages veterinary staff to listen for underlying messages, will help build an understanding of the pet's health problems seen from the client perspective. They highlight gender-based differences in the relationship between the veterinary advisor and their client. Female staff are considered better able to build a rapport with clients, to communicate with the pet and to do so in an unhurried manner They argue that when male staff adopt the same approach they may be equally successful in engendering client satisfaction and providing better clinical outcomes.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 249(1), 42-43

Examination of the causes of pica in client-owned cats

Isabelle Demontigny-Bedard and others, University of Montreal, Quebec

Pica is the term used to describe the ingestion of non-nutritive items such as fabric or wood. It is a compulsive behaviour in some cats and can place strains on the animal's relationship with its owners when it leads to damage to belongings or costly medical treatment. The authors carried out a questionnaire survey of owners whose pets did or did not display this behaviour Their findings provide no evidence to support theories that pica is a consequence of a sub-optimal home environment or a result of early weaning. Cats with pica were less commonly fed ad libitum than healthy cats. There was an apparent association between pica and frequent vomiting although it wasn't possible to establish a causative link.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 18(8), 652-657

Effects of olfactory and auditory stimulation on separation anxiety in dogs

Yoon-Joo Shin and Nam-Shik Shin, Seoul National University South Korea

Separation anxiety is a problem in dogs that occurs in the absence of their owners and results in undesirable behaviours such as excessive vocalisation, defaecation, urination and damage to either the dog's own body or to property. The authors assessed the effects of stimulation with either the owner's odour on clothing or recordings of their voice in reducing the effects of separation anxiety Salivary cortisol levels, used as an indicator of stress, were recorded before, during and after the owner left the room. Their findings demonstrate that the owner's odour or voice could significantly reduce separation-related stress. These methods could be a practical management option for owners struggling with an anxious dog.

Korean Journal of Veterinary Science 17(2), 153-158 (Open Access)

Capromorelin, a potential appetite stimulant for anorexic dogs

Bill Zollers and others, Aratana Therapeutics, Leawood, Kansas

Dogs may suffer a loss of appetite as a result of a wide range of medical conditions. The change may be a complete reluctance to eat (anorexia), a partial reduction (hyporexia) or a change in food preferences (dysrexia). The authors describe a study on an experimental compound Capromorelin thought to have potential as a treatment for such conditions. A group of 12 healthy beagles received an oral dose of 3mg/kg of the agent, once daily for four days. Treatment resulted in a dramatic increase, of an average of 60% in daily food consumption, compared with placebo controls. There were no significant side effects observed in this group.

BMC Veterinary Research 13(10) (Open Access)

Evaluation of cleaning protocols for decontaminating clipper blades

Rebecca Mount and others, Dermatology of Animals, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Clipper blades used to shave fur before surgery can cause skin trauma and may transmit pathogenic bacteria between patients. The authors investigated the frequency of contamination of clipper blades used in first opinion and specialist practices and assess the efficacy of different disinfection procedures. Equipment was examined from 60 practices, 51% of which showed bacterial contamination. There was no clear link between the type of practice, the frequency of cleaning and the location of storage for the equipment and the likelihood of bacterial contamination. The one factor closely associated with contamination risk was the type of product used in the cleaning process.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 52(2), 95-101

High prevalence of subclinical bacteriuria in older cats

Joanna White and others, Massey University Palmerston North, New Zealand

Cats have traditionally been considered resistant to bacterial urinary infections but recent studies indicate that such conditions may occur frequently in older cats. The authors investigated the prevalence of UTIs in cats aged seven years or older and the associated risk factors. Urine samples were obtained by cystocentesis from 67 non-azotaemic cats on five occasions over three years. The prevalence of subclinical bacteriuria varied between 10 and 13%. Female cats were 21 times more likely to have a positive culture sample than male cats. However, subclinical bacteriuria was not significantly associated with survival.

Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 30, 1824-1829 (Open Access)

VOL 32 • May 2017 • Veterinary Nursing Journal