Role of food puzzles in maintaining physical and emotional well being of cats

Leticia Dantas and others, University of Georgia, Athens

Increasing numbers of cats are being kept permanently indoors due to concerns about the health and safety of free-roaming animals. However an indoor lifestyle has been associated with the development of medical problems, such as chronic urinary tract disease, and the onset of behavioural disorders, such as house soiling and overgrooming. Environmental enrichment, a concept originally developed to counter boredom in zoo animals, has been shown to be effective in mitigating such problems. This will often involve providing puzzles that are manipulated by the cat to release small quantities of food. This makes use of the cat's instinct to ‘work' for its food, providing both exercise and mental stimulation. The authors explain the different types of food puzzle available, show how pet owners should begin using them, and offer advice on overcoming any difficulties that may arise. They note that veterinary practices are likely to be the main source of information for cat owners and so practices should be promoting the benefits of these devices as a safe and effective method of environmental enrichment for indoor cats.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 18(9), 723-732

Assessing communication skills in companion animal practitioners

Jane Shaw and others, Colorado State University Fort Collins

Communication skills are recognised as a key component of the clinical competencies of veterinary staff. The authors investigated the effects of formal training on those skills, by comparing client satisfaction with consultations occurring before and after their veterinary advisors had completed a six month educational programme. After the training, those clients felt that they had been more closely involved in the discussion and that their veterinarian had appeared to show more interest in their opinions. In turn, veterinarians perceived their clients as complaining less and being more personable and trusting.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 249(4), 419-432

Efficacy of combined acupuncture and manual therapy for musculoskeletal pain

David Lane and Sarah Hill, Points East West Veterinary Services, Garibaldi Highlands, British Columbia

Both acupuncture and manual therapy have become increasingly popular methods of veterinary treatment but, to date, there is little published evidence on their effectiveness. The authors investigated the effects of these two techniques used together on the behaviour of dogs with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Owners were blinded to the treatment schedule and completed a questionnaire on the effects on their pet's comfort and mobility They observed positive changes in the dog's interest in play behaviour; and in activities such as running, jumping and its ability to descend stairs. There were also non-statistically significant improvements in the demeanour of dogs receiving treatment.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 57(4), 407-414

Reliability of continuous monitoring technology for measuring glucose levels

Amie Koenig and others, University of Georgia, Athens

Glucose levels in the interstitial fluid between tissues are considered comparable to those in venous blood. Techniques have been developed for continuous monitoring of this fluid in human diabetics, minimising the need for venipuncture. The authors compared the results of continuous monitoring of interstitial fluid in dogs with sensors placed in different parts of the body, Their findings show that monitors implanted in the thorax showed the closest correlation with blood glucose concentrations but had the shortest functional life-span. Conversely sensors placed in the lumbar region kept working much longer but had the least accurate correlation with the results of lab tests.

American Journal ofVeterinary Research 77(8), 805-817

Effect of supplemental heat on growth rate in tortoises

Mark Heinrich and Kaleb Heinrich, Carlsbad Animal Clinic, Carlsbad, New Mexico

Carapacial scute pyramiding is a developmental disorder in captive tortoises in which the upper surface of the shell or carapace develops abnormal humps. The deformity is of more than just cosmetic significance as this abnormal growth may affect underlying structures. The authors investigated predisposing factors for this condition in African leopard (Stigmochelys pardalis) and spurred (Centrochelys sulcata) tortoises. They conclude that CSP is linked to an increased growth rate as a result of their owners providing supplementary heat to the reptile's living quarters at night. Cool nocturnal conditions appear to be essential for normal growth in these species.

Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine 25(1), 18-25

Hyperlactaemia and serial lactate measurements in sick cats

Lesleigh Redavid and others, New England Animal Medical Center, West Bridgewater Massachusetts

Lactate is an intermediate product of energy metabolism and may accumulate in tissues starved of oxygen as a result of shock. The authors studied the incidence of hyperlactaemia in 123 cats admitted as emergency care patients to a veterinary hospital. Blood samples were taken on admission and at six and 24 hours later The incidence of hyperlactaemia in this group was 23 per cent. But the blood lactate concentration on admission and serial measurements over time was found to have no prognostic value in terms of survival to discharge or in the duration of hospitalisation.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 26(4), 495-501

DOI: 10.1080/17415349.2016.1243457

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 31 • December 2016