The Revision Guide for Student Nurses (Part I)

Handling, Restraint & Training - Answers


  1. In order to prevent chaos in the waiting room, what are the 2 most important rules that clients must obey when bringing their pet into the veterinary surgery?
    • Cats must be contained within a secure box or basket.
    • Dogs are to be held on a lead and kept under control at all times.
  2. A client telephones the surgery for an appointment, but informs you that his dog is aggressive. What common sense advice would you offer prior to their visit to the practice?
    • Suggest that the owner bring a friend or family member to assist them.
    • Advise that the dog be kept outside the premises until the veterinary surgeon is ready to see the patient.
    • Ensure that the dog wears a collar and lead from which it cannot escape. A head collar or harness may offer more control.
    • Recommend that the dog be muzzled before entering the premises. A range of sizes should be available at the practice for clients to borrow or purchase should they not possess their own.
    • Recommend behavioural therapy for long term control of the situation.
  3. Having advised the client in Q2 accordingly, what vital step should then be taken to avoid risk to the veterinary surgeon and other personnel?
    Make a note on the patient's records that care is to be taken when handling this particular animal. It is not tactful to scrawl "VICIOUS!" all over the patient's notes, since clients may well take offence at this, particularly if the dog is only aggressive in unfamiliar situations such as a visit to the vets. If an aggressive animal is to be admitted to the hospital, a coding system understood by all members of staff should be employed to avoid taking unnecessary risks. A good idea is to use colour coded pegs; e.g. white for placid animals, green for nervous animals and red for extreme care cases. A care reminder should also be clearly be visible on the hospital case notes/treatment forms.
  4. A very aggressive dog is admitted for surgery. The premedicant is administered with the assistance of the owner. Once this starts to take effect and the dog becomes a little calmer, you are to take the patient through to the hospital kennels. Describe your actions.
    • Introduce yourself quietly and unobtrusively to both dog and owner.
    • Do not proffer a hand for the dog to inspect. This is fine with placid animals but asking for trouble with an aggressive dog!
    • Ensure that the dog is wearing a collar/harness/head collar from which escape is not possible. A muzzle (applied by the owner) should be worn if deemed necessary.
    • Take hold of the lead and ask the owner to leave discreetly. Many dogs will not leave the room if their owners are still present. Once the owner has departed, firmly and confidently walk the dog through to the kennels.
    • Muzzles and choke or slip leads should never be left on unattended kennelled animals due to the risk of airway obstruction or strangulation. A collar and lead may be left in place with the lead slipped through the kennel door to allow the handler to regain control of the dog prior to removing the patient from the kennel.
  5. Who is liable if an animal bites the owner during a veterinary consultation?
    The veterinary surgeon.
  6. List restraining aids for the handling of aggressive dogs.
    • Dog catcher.
    • Muzzle.
    • Slip lead.
    • Halti
  7. List the types of muzzle available, and state the type most suitable for use in practice.
    • Nylon.
    • Plastic, metal or leather "Baskerville" type.
    • Improvised type made of strong bandage, rope or cord. Nylon "Mikki" muzzles are most suitable in practice as they are cheap, yet hard wearing, safe and easily washable.
  8. What is the main disadvantage of the nylon "Mikki" muzzle?
    The restraint is such that the dog is unable to pant properly. Therefore, this type of muzzle is not suitable for prolonged use particularly in hot weather. If the muzzle is too large, dogs have been known to still give a nasty nip even though the jaws cannot open fully.
  9. List restraining aids for the handling of aggressive cats.
    • Crush cage.
    • Blanket/towel/cat sack.
    • Cat trap (for feral cats).
    • Leather gauntlets.
    • Cat muzzle (strange but true!).
    • Cat catcher.
  10. Why are cat bites a particular risk?
    Most cats carry Pastuerella multocida, Streptococci and fuciform organisms within their oral cavity. If transmitted to humans, they may cause zoonotic disease if untreated by antibacterial drugs. A deep infection may result in septicaemia.
  11. A client arrives at the surgery carrying a loose cat. The cat subsequently escapes. Who is liable?
    The veterinary surgeon.
  12. List the ways in which you would reassure a hospitalised patient prior to handling.
    • Before you even think about opening a kennel door - make sure doors, windows and skylights are closed.
    • Approach the animal confidently; animals can sense fear and will usually act up if aware of this.
    • Reassure the animal quietly and calmly. Talk gently and perhaps offer a favourite toy or a titbit (ensure that food is not contra-indicated before offering the latter).
    • If the animal appears placid, offer the back or a closed hand for inspection and gently stroke the head or neck.
    • If the animal shows signs of hostility, do not take risks. Use appropriate restraining aids and do not be afraid to ask for assistance if required.
  13. Describe ways in which a tablet could be administered to an uncooperative cat
    • Use a proprietary pill giver - a small plastic device with a long nozzle, which can be inserted into the cat's mouth with a minimal risk of injury to the handler, but may be dangerous to the cat's palate!
    • Ask an assistant to wrap the cat in a thick towel, blanket or cat restraining sack; ensure that all limbs are safely inside, then open the cat's mouth and insert the tablet.
    • Crush the tablet into a fine powder and disguise it in food. Cats are often crafty enough to detect small pieces of tablet, but a fine powder is less easily unmasked. Proprietary tablet crushers are available, but 2 teaspoons or a pestle and mortar will do the job just as effectively.

    Note: Enteric coated tablets should not be crushed.

  14. At what age should a puppy begin its training?
    8 weeks of age (or at the time of acquisition).
  15. What is the most influential age of a dog's life?
    4-12 weeks of age.
  16. What basic obedience exercises should be taught to a puppy?
    • Sit.
    • Sit-stay.
    • Down.
    • Down-stay.
    • Come.
  17. By what age should a puppy be able to walk to heel?
    4-6 months.
  18. Describe "positive reinforcement".
    Positive reinforcement describes the rewarding of good behaviour. Praise may be given verbally or in the form of a food reward, a walk or a game.
  19. A client telephones the surgery. Her 10 week old puppy is driving her to despair…he has chewed 2 doorframes, is urinating and defecating all over the house and upsets the neighbours by howling when she goes out. What advice would you give?
    • Problem 1/chewing: Chewing is normal behaviour for puppies, particularly when they are teething. Address the problem by purchasing appropriate items for the puppy to chew such as Nylabones, Rasks and strong rubber toys. Suggest that the owner initially play games with these items in order to make them desirable to the pup. She should use positive reinforcement to encourage good behaviour, i.e. chewing the appropriate objects. If the pup is caught chewing inappropriate items, he should not be scolded, but quietly removed from the area and encouraged to chew on his toys.
    • Problem 2/toilet training: The owner cannot expect the puppy to be toilet trained without help! A puppy crate is the most sensible and effective technique. The puppy should be let outside to urinate and defecate at regular intervals, particularly after meals. It must be appreciated that accidents will happen, and scolding will not help. The puppy should be rewarded every time he goes to the toilet outside.
    • Problem 3/howling: Puppies need plenty of stimulation and company. Establish just how long the pup is being left. Again, a crate is a useful training aid, since this provides a secure environment where the pup will feel safe and not get up to mischief. Favourite toys may be left in the crate, but bear in mind that most toys need a human or another animal to participate to make them fun. Safe items to chew on are appropriate. A very young pup might appreciate a hot water bottle or heat pad. A ticking alarm clock can simulate the heartbeat of its mother, and noise from the radio or television can be soothing. Suggest that the pup is only left for very short periods of time, with the owner gradually increasing the duration of departure. If not resolved, this problem may well result in separation anxiety in the adult dog, which can be extremely difficult to cure.
  20. List training aids suitable for dogs:
    • Head collar.
    • Harness.
    • Training collar.
    • Training discs.
    • Training clickers.
    • Dog whistle.
    • Toys for retrieving.
    • Favourite toys/food for rewards.
    • Flexi leash.
    • Rattle can/dog stop alarm.
    • Puppy crate.