Archive for April, 2012
Water. We’ve got a lot of that at ARC- in fact, at any time, there’s approximately 1600 litres in the underwater treadmill system and 9000 litres (yes, 9 tonnes!) in the swimming pool. The two systems are separate and are managed quite differently- the swimming pool is quite a large body of water with a steady constant filtering system which means sudden changes in the water balance are less common and easier to control with daily monitoring. The underwater treadmill system is more like a spa or jacuzzi because of the warm temperature (both operate at 26-28C) and the constant mass turbulent motion of the water pumping in and out of the treadmill chamber, and it demands very close attention with water sampling and adjustment between every few patients and a total change one or two times per week.
Water balance is a fine art. Our systems employ both coarse and fine net filters, sand filters and ultra-violet to clean the water of hair, debris and microorganisms. We use a photometer to accurately test the pH and total alkalinity of the water to check the acidity balance and buffering capacity so that it lies in the correct range to avoid irritating skin and eyes and to ensure the sanitisers can work efficiently. We also test the level of the bromine sanitiser we use to keep the water safe from pathogens very carefully and make micro-adjustments throughout the day. We also regularly send water samples and swabs to a specialist lab to check for unwelcome bacteria.
One of the bigger challenges with a system used by our furry friends is the oil that coats their hair and makes it waterproof- this sheds into the water making a fine milky emulsion. Long haired dogs can shed a surprising amount in a few minutes, making a little ’tidemark’ on the chamber. To ensure the filters can effectively deal with natural coat oils, we need to use clarifier- which affects the pH- which affects the sanitiser…… so behind the scenes, we’re constantly beavering away to keep our water perfectly clean, warm and safe for pets and for people.
Last week Amy and Emma attended the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA, FECAVA and BSAVA) Congress at the ICC in Birmingham. There was a wide ranging lecture programme for both vets and nurses, and Amy and Emma attended all the nursing stream lectures in veterinary physiotherapy and rehabilitation, covering topics including post-operative rehab and pain management, home exercise programmes and rehab nursing goals.
Vets and Vet Nurses are expected to complete a certain amount of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every year to keep up to date, and staying at the head of the field is important to all of us at ARC, so an event like WSAVA is a great place to discuss new techniques and equipment and current thinking.
It’s also an ideal opportunity to check out new products and supplies at the trade exhibition, and Emma and Amy were both very impressed with a new range of wet-to-dry towel coats in particular which they think our swimmers will love, so watch this space as new stock should be arriving soon!
We love hearing from patients after they are discharged from treatment and are always delighted to receive a message or even a photo (especially a back-in-action shot!). We like to keep them all in our ‘Hall of Fame’ at the Centre to help make others aware of the assistance that can be given to ill or injured pets in regaining their mobility, independence and athletic performance, and to inspire us all. We’ve had notes, cards and emails in lots of different forms and we value them all, but last week was a first- waiting for us was a beautiful photograph of recently signed-off Bracken the labrador complete with a poem written by her owners! We love it so much that we’d like to share it with you, so here it is…..
How can you not fully adore
The happy aspect of a Labrador?
The otter tail, the silly grin
The open heart to take you in.
Sweet true love from earnest eyes,
Emotional truth, a friend so wise.
At play, at work, at rest, at ease-
The Labrador was born to please.