Occupational hazards for clinical staff in US veterinary practices

Heather Fowler and others, Minnesota Department of Health

Previous surveys have indicated that between 50% and 67% of veterinary surgeons and 98% of veterinary technicians (i.e., VNs) have experienced some form of animal-related injury at work.

The authors carried out a broader-ranging study of occupational hazards encountered by clinical staff at veterinary practices in Minnesota. A total of 831 veterinarians and technicians responded to the survey around 10% of the total numbers of veterinary staff in the State. During their career; 27% of respondents had acquired at least one zoonotic infection and 77% had been injured by needles or other sharps. Recent feelings of depression were reported by 25% of respondents. A higher proportion of technicians than veterinarians (42% compared with 21%) reported working in an environment in which employees experienced some form of workplace abuse. The authors note that it is probably impossible to eliminate all hazards associated with veterinary practice but adherence to a well-developed health and safety programme, including regular staff training, will help to minimise the risks of injury and illness.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 248(2), 207-218

Nutritional considerations for dogs and cats with liver disease

Rebecca Norton and others, Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, Houston,Texas

The synthesis and metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins are among the many vital functions of the mammalian liver and so diseases affecting that organ will have considerable impact on the animal's dietary requirements for macro- and micronutrients. The authors review the nutritional management of liver disease in dogs and cats, which they note should be directed at treating the clinical manifestations of the disease rather than the underlying cause. In addition, the owner's veterinary advisors should be shown how to avoid overwhelming the remaining metabolic capacity of the liver while providing sufficient nutrients to encourage regeneration.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 52(1), 1-7

Efficacy of antiseptic wipes in controlling microorganisms on canine skin

Paola Cavana and others, Alfort National Veterinary School, France

Malassezia pachydermatis is a lipophilic yeast which forms part of the normal cutaneous microflora of many mammalian species. However it can proliferate, causing dermatitis in susceptible individuals. The authors investigate the efficacy of wipes containing chlorhexidine, climbazole and Tris-EDTA in reducing Malassezia populations on canine skin. The results of their pilot study in shar-pei dogs show that three days treatment substantially reduced Malassezia numbers and that this approach may be useful in topical therapy of dermatitis involving the lips, paws, perianal area and skin folds.

Veterinary Dermatology 26(4), 278-281

Integrating a physical training programme into a canine weight loss plan

Anne Vitger and others, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Obesity research in human patients has highlighted the health- promoting effects of physical activity but few parallel studies have been carried out in overweight dogs. The authors investigate the effects of a physical training plan in dogs undergoing a weight loss programme. Dogs underwent thrice-weekly aquatic and land- based treadmill exercise alongside their calorie-restricted diet for 12 weeks. Their findings show that these exercises prevented the loss of lean body mass seen in a control group receiving the same diet but without the physical training programme.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 248(2), 174-182

Use of melatonin to suppress fertility in female cats

Michelle Kutzler Oregon State University

Breeders of purebred cats and managers of assisted feline reproduction programmes would welcome the introduction of technologies allowing reversible contraception. The author assesses current understanding of the action and likely efficacy of a promising candidate drug, melatonin. However, she concludes that this agent is currently of limited value due to its short biological half-life, its poor oral availability and its neurological effects in reducing wakefulness. Further research may determine whether higher doses and longer release formulations might overcome these limitations.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 17(9), 753-757

Alopecia in kittens caused by abnormal maternal licking behaviour

Natalia Fanton and others, San Siro Veterinary Clinic, Milan, Italy

Infective diseases such as dermatophytosis or ectoparasite infestations are the most common causes of hair loss and scaling in kittens. Grooming plays an important role in feline maternal behaviour and excessive licking may cause alopecia, but this will normally be self-limiting. The authors describe an unusual incident of facial alopecia of differing severity in four two-month old kittens born to a two year-old-queen. A behavioural consultation revealed abnormal grooming behaviour, with the dam licking and chewing the kittens' facial fur The kittens were separated from their dam and the alopecia resolved within a few weeks.

Australian Veterinary Journal 93(11), 417-419

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 31 • July 2016