TO mark Veterinary Nursing Awareness Month White Cross Vets in Widnes have launched a campaign to raise awareness about the crucial role veterinary nurses play in pet health and wellbeing.

Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month is organised by the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) to promote animal health and welfare through the ongoing development of professional excellence in veterinary nursing.

Throughout the month veterinary nurses will be posting short educational videos on its social media platforms covering topics including dental health, cleaning ears, grooming, obesity and weight management.

The practice has two registered veterinary nurses RVNs) who work alongside a team of vets and they are involved in all aspects of care given to pets and their owners.

Clinic Director Laura Paterson said: “A lot of people don’t realise the huge breadth of services and procedures RVNs are involved in. They carry out everything from vaccinations and taking blood samples to clipping nails and helping owners to manage pets’ weight and behavioural problems.

“It’s a varied and really interesting role that typically takes between two and four years to train for. As well as being very rewarding, RVNs are able to train in specialist areas including anaesthesia and dentistry. From admitting a pet for surgery to carrying out post-operative check-ups or even triage during an emergency, veterinary nurses are highly skilled at what they do."

She added: “Behind the scenes they monitor anaesthetised pets, take x-rays, carry out patient recovery lab work and diagnostic tests, nurse sick pets, carry out cleaning jobs and most importantly provide pets with plenty of cuddles.

"They are also great phlebotomists – which means they are trained to draw blood from tiny fur babies and lots of nervous pets who find it hard to keep still! They often obtain samples from the jugular vein in the neck or for intravenous (IV) access they can use the cephalic vein in the foreleg or saphenous vein in the hind leg. This IV access is vital when it comes to giving sedation, drug, fluid therapy or emergency access and it’s an intricate business.

“They also run weight management clinics, puppy socialisation classes, organise worming, flea and tick programmes, as well as advising on general pet welfare. It’s not just a job, being a registered veterinary nurse is a true calling and they are all very passionate about what they do.”

White Cross Vets is part of Independent Vetcare and has 22 practices throughout the UK. The company is keen to encourage more people into the industry, specifically registered veterinary nurses, who must complete a qualification that is approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). This can be achieved via a Veterinary Nursing Diploma, an Apprenticeship, a Veterinary Nursing BSc (Hons) or FdSc degree. Before completing the training applicants must be aged 16 or over, have five GCSEs including English, Maths and Science and have relevant work experience.