Nurses at both general practice and referral level will commonly nurse patients with endocrine disease throughout their career. Understanding the basic concepts of endocrinology means nurses can apply knowledge to their care in order to better support their patients.

Having an understanding of the pathophysiology of common endocrine diseases, as well as the tests performed means that we can become a useful support in clinical decision making, which subsequently improves job satisfaction and allows us to nurse to our full potential.

Each week we will look at a different endocrine disease in the cat or the dog. Following the course you will have refreshed your underpinning knowledge of the endocrine system in the canine and feline patient to include the chemical messenger and feedback systems, the types of endocrine diseases commonly affecting our patients, the tests we use and how these diseases impact our nursing care.

Week 1
Canine Hypothyroidism

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Identify the clinical signs of canine hypothyroidism
  • Explain the role of hormones in the body
  • Explain the relationship between TSH and thyroid hormones
  • Describe what canine hypothyroidism is and why it occurs
  • Describe ways to support the client owning a canine with hypothyroidism

Week 2
Canine and Feline Diabetes

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Name the 3 types of cell that contribute to the endocrine function of the pancreas
  • Name the two main types of insulin used in cats and dogs
  • Describe the reason the dogs become diabetic
  • Describe the reason cats become diabetic
  • Explain some differences in the nursing considerations you would give cats compared to dogs and why

Week 3
Feline Acromegaly

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Identify 3 major hormones that are lost when you remove the anterior pituitary gland
  • Explain how Feline Hypersomatotropism occurs
  • Discuss how excess growth hormone results in Acromegaly
  • Explain the nursing considerations for a hypophysectomy patient
  • Explain the support that a client might need for a cat with FeHS

Week 4
Feline Hyperthyroidism

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Discuss the clinical signs that a hyperthyroid cat might present with
  • Explain the effects of too much thyroid hormone on the body
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the treatment options available for the disease in order to support the client with the hyperthyroid cat
  • Describe the most commonly used test to diagnose feline hyperthyroidism and what that test is measuring
  • Explain the difference between free T4 and Total T4

Week 5
Canine Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's Disease)

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the reasons why canine hyperadrenocorticism (HAC) occur
  • Identify the clinical signs associated with a canine HAC patient
  • Discuss some of the common tests available for HAC and the reasons for their use
  • Identify 3 main forms of treatment for the canine HAC patient
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the nursing considerations for the patient with HAC

Week 6
Canine Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison's Disease)

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the causes of Canine Hypoadrenocorticism
  • Identify some of the clinical signs that a patient may present with and why
  • Discuss the treatment options available to the client with the Hypoadrenocorticism pet
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the nursing considerations for a canine with hypoadrenocorticism
  • Name some of the tests that a vet may ask you to carry out on the suspected Hypoadrenocorticism patient and discuss why they may be required

The course will be fully tutored by Gina Parkes and will consist of 15 hours of CPD given in various formats, including tutorials, tasks, case scenarios, forum discussions and quizzes.