The Revision Guide for Student Nurses (Part I)

Obstetrics & Paediatrics

Obstetrics is the branch of veterinary medicine and surgery covering pregnancy, parturition (labour) and the puerperium (the return of the body to normal after birth).

Paediatrics is the branch of medicine dealing with the care and development of the young and the treatment of diseases that affect them.

In practice we tend only to see problem births. The vast majority of queens and bitches kitten or whelp at home with relatively few problems.

This chapter covers all aspects of the pregnancy from breeding to the aftercare of the dam and litter. The veterinary nurse needs not only to be competent in emergency procedures such as assisting with a Caesarean, but must also be able to offer concise advice regarding all aspects of obstetrical and paediatric nursing. Many clients, particularly if they have not bred from an animal before, will telephone the surgery for advice beforehand.

Learning Objectives
The learning objectives of this chapter are:

  • To understand the difference between congenital and hereditary defects and be able to state examples.
  • To understand how heat in the queen and bitch differ, and be able to offer advice to clients with regard to seasons.
  • To comprehend the mating procedure in cats and dogs, and again be able to offer advice to clients regarding this subject.
  • To be able to competently undertake the care of the pregnant queen and bitch.
  • To understand how a foetus develops.
  • To competently be able to assist the veterinary surgeon with a Caesarean section including the monitoring of general anaesthesia and resuscitation of the neonates.
  • To be able to provide accomplished nursing care to orphaned neonates.
  • To be able to competently undertake the care of the lactating dam and her litter.
  • To understand the importance of neutering, and be able to advise clients as to the benefits of spaying and castration in animals that are not intended for breeding.