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Auscultation is a cheap and easy diagnostic tool available in veterinary practice. Yet it often creates uncertainty, prompting both nurses and veterinary surgeons to seek second opinions amongst colleagues. The purpose of this article is to explore the best techniques for auscultation, and discuss the different sounds that can be heard in dogs and cats when listening to the heart. The starting point of auscultation is to identify normal heart sounds. This will then help recognise abnormal heart sounds, which can then be split into loudness, timing, and point of maximal intensity. Download the full article here
Canine angiostrongylosis is a snail-borne parasitic infection caused by the nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum. This metastrongyloid nematode poses a signi cant threat to canine populations. It is capable of infecting wild and domestic canines as their de nitive host, using gastropods as intermediate hosts. Recent data strongly suggest an increased geographic expansion of this parasite in wildlife animals that can serve as a reservoir. Once localised to the southern UK, A. vasorum now represents a tangible threat to dogs throughout the country, presenting asymptomatically or causing a wide range of clinical signs including dyspnoea and haemorrhage. Veterinary professionals have a range of ef cacious anthelmintics that, when used correctly, can signi cantly reduce mortality, clinical illness and associated health complications. Effective control of this disease, however, entails more understanding of the role of wildlife in spreading A. vasorum. Combined with this is the need for an appropriate framework for engaging and educating pet owners, improved management of adverse health effects of infection in dogs, guidelines on precautions to be adopted in order to minimise risk of infection, and the rational use of preventatives to control this disease. This review focuses on current knowledge about A. vasorum - which affects the respiratory system of dogs - and covers diagnostics, treatment and a brief account of other species of canine lungworms. Download the full article here
The term 'small mammals' encompasses a wide range of species. Each has its own environmental, nutritional and social grouping needs. They also have species-specific activity rhythms, behaviours and communication signals. Many veterinary professionals have limited knowledge of these small, and usually prey, species. This may mean they do not take adequate practical steps to help reduce stress, and thus facilitate recovery, when these animals come to the surgery. Further, there are various long-held, if inaccurate, common beliefs about the needs, lifespans and availability of veterinary care for these small animals. These inaccurate perceptions mean many owners do not know how to reduce stress at home or recognise when the animal is showing signs of stress, ill-health or pain. It is the author’s aim to help the reader rectify this through a brief exploration of four aspects of these animals: size, sight, sound and scent, and how these relate to sources of stress. Download the full article here
While the prevalence of some UK parasites such as Toxocara spp. remains fairly constant despite fluctuations in climate, some other parasites are heavily dependent on mild, humid conditions to feed and reproduce. Recent mild winters and wet summers in the UK have benefitted three parasites in particular. Angiostrongylus vasorum has continued to spread across the UK with increased distribution and numbers of infected foxes, numbers of flea infestations appear to have increased in domestic cats and dogs, and Ixodes spp. tick numbers have increased with a longer seasonal period of activity. Veterinary professionals need to be aware of these changes in distribution and increased risk of disease transmission to domestic pets. This article discusses these changes and how they should inform advice given to clients. Download the full article here

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