Research Bites is held during BVNA Congress and provides an opportunity for those who have undertaken research relevant to the veterinary nursing profession to showcase their findings in the form of posters and optional short oral presentations.

There are three categories;

1. Research projects

2. Student veterinary nurses – case reflection

3. Registered veterinary nurses – case reflection

Research Bites is designed to provide a friendly and constructive platform for veterinary nurses and students to discuss and share best nursing practice, while increasing the evidence base available to the profession. 

Over the next few issues, we will be publishing the abstracts that were accepted for the 2021 Research Bites. The abstracts are a brief overview of the submitted case or research and gives the judging panel a chance to review submissions and provide feedback. Once the abstract has been accepted, the next step is to design a poster to showcase the work. There is also an option to create a presentation to talk at BVNA Congress. We hope you enjoy reading through the abstracts and feel encouraged to have a go yourself this year 

2021 Winner: Best Poster

Management and awareness of canine epileptic pets – are veterinary clients sufficiently supported?  

E. Clark & L. Nuttall

BSc (Hons) Veterinary Nursing, Harper Adams University 


Epilepsy can be classified by its aetiology as reactive, acquired or idiopathic (Stafstrom, 2014). It is defined as a disorder of the brain which is predisposed to producing epileptic seizures and is the most common chronic neurological disease in dogs (Chandler, 2006).

Veterinary professional (VP) knowledge, effective communication, and client support and guidance are paramount to ensure clients are properly educated to feel able to make informed choices regarding their epileptic pet’s treatment, and that they can acknowledge when to seek veterinary advice (RCVS, 2020; Wager, 2011).

Research objectives were to investigate client awareness of canine epilepsy and recognition of pre-ictal symptoms, and to investigate whether clients feel adequately supported by VPs.


Two comparable questionnaires targeting VPs and owners of epileptic dogs were developed using an online survey platform. A convenience sampling approach was used to gather data by distributing surveys on social media via relevant Facebook pages such as Veterinary Nurse Chatter and Canine Epilepsy UK. Data collected was analysed using Excel and GenStat 19th edition. Statistical tests such as the Pearson’s Chi-Squared and permutation test was conducted to investigate associations between demographic factors and epilepsy support provided.  


There were 279 responses to the client questionnaire and 83 responses to the VP questionnaire.

The survey results showed significant associations that suggested both VPs and clients rated the level of epilepsy support provided as satisfactory, but not excellent (p = 0.012). 44% of veterinary practices only provided verbal advice to clients and no other forms of communication. VPs and clients disagreed on how frequently non-verbal communication was used. VPs thought they provided more leaflets (18% vs 3%), written information (15% vs 2%) and phone-call check ups (17% vs 12%). 

There was a significant positive relationship found between clients who were provided with additional resources such as leaflets, and clients who rated epilepsy support as high (p = 0.049). There was also a positive statistical association between clients who felt there was a lack of epilepsy support provided and clients who expressed an interest in attending epilepsy nurse clinics (p = 0.007). 


Most clients and VPs rate epilepsy support provided to clients with epileptic dogs as satisfactory. However, both VPs and clients still consider that clients with epileptic pets could be better supported, particularly practices without a neurology specialism. Support could be improved with VP engagement in epilepsy focused professional development courses, epilepsy nurse clinics for clients to attend, and increased use of communication resources.


Chandler, K. 2006. Canine epilepsy: What can we learn from human seizure disorders? The Veterinary Journal, 172 (2), p.207.

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. 2020. Guide to Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses. [Online]. RCVS. Available from: setting-standards/advice-and-guidance/code-of-professional-conduct-for-veterinary-nurses/supporting-guidance/communication-and-consent/ [Accessed 25/11/20].

Stafstrom, C.E. 2014. Recognizing Seizures and Epilepsy: Insights from Pathophysiology. In: Miller, JW and Goodkin, HP. Ed. Epilepsy. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. p. 5.

Wager, C. 2013. Informed consent: what do veterinary nurses need to know? The Veterinary Nurse, 2 (7), pp. 344-347. 

2021 Winner: Best Presentation

The relationship between mean arterial blood pressure and end-tidal carbon dioxide in canines during general anaesthesia

Jade Wanmer with supervision from Georgina Darnell

BSc (HONS) RVN, A1, CC, NCertA&CC, Plumpton College, UoB, FdSc Veterinary Nursing


Most pet dogs will undergo general anaesthesia within their lifetime. It is vital the veterinary team has knowledge and understanding of anaesthetic monitoring for healthy patient outcomes. Establishing a link between end tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2) and mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) could provide greater insight into patient stability and cardiac function during general anaesthesia, improving anaesthesia safety. This study aimed to distinguish if a relationship could be seen between ETCO2 and MAP, with a linear relationship hypothesised.  


Twenty healthy canines (both genders, various breeds, aged between 7 months and 12 years) undergoing elective procedures were included. Requirements for enrolment included general anaesthesia ≥ 35 minutes, with exclusion if IPPV or IVFT were required during the first 35 minutes. Premedication of buprenorphine and acepromazine maleate was administered 15 minutes prior to induction of general anaesthesia. Propofol was administered intravenously to effect for induction, and anaesthesia was maintained by isoflurane and oxygen.

Commercially available blood pressure cuffs were placed over the dorsal pedal artery. Sidestream capnography was attached between the endotracheal tube and anaesthetic circuit, connected to the same multiparameter as the blood pressure tubing. MAP was measured every 5 minutes and ETCO2 was continuous. Recordings were noted every 5 minutes, starting from 15 minutes anaesthesia time and concluding at 35 minutes. Statistical analysis used repeated measures ANOVA and Spearman’s Rank Correlation Coefficient. 


Spearman’s Rank Correlation Co-efficient showed no significant relationship between MAP and ETCO2 (p = 0.063). Analysis showed no significant time interactions for MAP (p = 0.298) or ETCO2 (p = 0.387). When comparing the two parameters in this way, MAP decreased during the first 20 minutes before increasing from 20 to 30 minutes, prior to falling at 35 minutes. This differed from ETCO2 where values declined until 25 minutes, then increased to a level higher than first recorded; further evidencing the lack of unity between ETCO2 and MAP.


To conclude, a linear relationship was not found between end ti
dal carbon dioxide and mean arterial blood pressure measured by non-invasive methods. However, many variables and reasons for this result, including pharmaceutical interactions, ventilation/ perfusion ratio, and cardiac output have been explored in this study. This study has therefore demonstrated the importance of understanding the depth and mechanisms of these factors to ensure patient safety during general anaesthesia.