Tuesday, 14 February 2017

All you need is love - and a healthy heart!

With Valentine's day here, it is a good time to talk about heart health. We would also like to invite our clients to bring their pet in for a
 FREE heart check with a vet.

The check up includes a complete physical examination. The vet will use a stethoscope to listen to your pet's heart and evaluate the sound and rhythm, strength and heart rate. Your pet's pulse will be assessed. The vet will also listen to your pet's lung sounds and breathing rate. 
Should  the vet detect any abnormalities such as a heart murmur or abnormal rhythm, they may recommend further tests. It is important to identify the cause.

Tests commonly used to identify the cause of symptoms are:
💜 Blood tests 
💜Echocardiogram - (ultrasound scan of the heart )
💜 Chest x-rays
💜 Electrocardiograph - ( ECG)
💜 Blood pressure monitoring

Should your pet require any of the above heart related tests, this will be at a 10% discounted rate.

The offer is available until 31st March - please book an appointment!

The science part.

Just like humans, a dog's heart acts like a pump to push blood around the body. The heart's pumping power lies in its muscles. These are normally thick and powerful, helping the blood reach as far as the outer extremities of the body. The right side of the heart sends blood to the lungs where it picks up oxygen. The left side of the heart pumps the blood around the bodyInside, the heart is divided into four chambers. In between the upper and lower chambers are the heart valves, which open and close in sequence to make sure that the blood flows in the right direction.

Matters of the heart!

💖The normal heart rate of a dog is between 60 – 140 beats per minute. The smaller the dog, the higher the heart rate!

💖A cat’s heart rate is between 110-180 beats per minute.

💖The heart is part of the circulatory system, along with the lungs and blood vessels. 

💖The heart acts like a pump to drive the blood around the body. With each heart beat, it delivers blood rich in oxygen and nutrients to all the vital organs and tissues, keeping our pet's fit and healthy.

Heart disease
It is estimated that heart disease can affect up to 10% of dog and cats in the UK. Some heart diseases may be present when the animal is born (congenital), however the majority develop in adulthood (acquired). Heart disease can also be secondary to another condition such as high blood pressure, thyroid disease, infection and anaemia.

Dogs and cats are most commonly diagnosed with one of three heart conditions:

*Degenerative valve disease (Endocardiosis) -

This is the most common heart disease of dogs.
This leads to degeneration and thickening of the heart valves. The mitral valve is mostly affected and as such the condition is also known as mitral valve disease. The heart valve becomes leaky and allows blood to flow in the wrong direction through the heart. It most commonly affects small breeds as they reach middle-older age, however it may be detected in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at a younger age.

*Dilated cardiomyopathy -

The heart muscle becomes weak and stretched, decreasing the heart’s ability to pump blood through the body. It typically affects medium - large breed dogs.

*Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy -

This is more common in cats. The heart becomes thickened, making it difficult to pump the blood properly through the body.     

Heart disease can be present in our pets for a long period of time before they show any signs of a problem. The body is good at compensating for any slight changes to blood flow and heart contraction early on, until eventually clinical signs develop. This is why it is important that your pet has regular visits to the vet, at least annually, as early detection of heart disease will help make it easier to manage.

It is important to remember that some heart diseases are mild and not all pets with heart disease will go on to develop heart failure.

Some of the signs of heart failure you could see at home may include:
*A decrease or reluctance to play or exercise
*Lethargy, being more tired than usual
*Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, especially with exercise or excitement

*Rapid/fast breathing  - often noticeable when the animal is resting.
*Poor appetite
*Restlessness - taking several attempts to get comfortable.
*Weight loss (Spine is more prominent as are the bones of shoulders and hips)
* Swelling of the abdomen - becoming 'pot-bellied' in appearance. This is due fluid build up as the heart begins to fail.
* Pale gums rather than the normal pink.

(These symptoms can also be seen in other diseases, which is why it is important that if you notice any changes in your pet's health or behaviour,  you bring them in for a health check).

While there is not a cure for heart disease, the aims of treatment are to slow down the progression of the disease, manage the symptoms and help maintain the pet's  normal quality of life;  the earlier this treatment is started the better. 

Regular check- up appointments are essential to ensure that any changes in the animal's condition are identified early and medication adjusted or introduced accordingly.                          

    The contents of the Arden House Animal Hospital website are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Veterinary Surgeon with any questions you may have regarding your animal’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Lula - Pet of the Month hall of fame

Over 2016 we have treated many lovely pets and sadly some very ill animals too, but we've had some happy endings and one such case is that of 3 year old Lula.

This super little dog has survived the odds after needing two major operations. Lula was diagnosed with a condition called a portosystemic shunt or liver shunt. This is where the normal flow of blood through the liver does not occur due to an abnormal connection between blood vessels. This means that the liver is prevented from doing its normal job of breaking down toxins. The toxins build up in the blood stream making the dog very ill. In Lula's case she was born with this. Medication can be given to support the liver, but the best solution is to surgically tie off the abnormal blood vessel, thus removing the shunt and restoring normal blood flow to the liver.Little Lula had the operation in August back in her owner's home country and was recovering well, but a few weeks later she was brought in to see vet Rachel after she lost her appetite and was very quiet.

Rachel carried out some tests and diagnosed that Lula had a uterus (womb) infection called Pyometra. This is a very serious condition that requires surgery but the risk of anaesthetic complications for Lula were high. Little Lula took a turn for the worse and collapsed. She was showing signs of shock and vet Katie suspected that Lula’s uterus had ruptured and pus was leaking out into her abdomen causing peritonitis.

Katie and the nursing team needed to work quickly and Lula was given a general anaesthetic and prepared for emergency surgery. Supported with intravenous fluids and antibiotics, Lula was taken into theatre. The nurses monitored Lula closely, ensuring that her heart rate, rhythm and breathing remained within a certain range as Katie carried out an ovariohysterectomy (removal of the uterus and ovaries). Katie then flushed Lula’s abdomen with a sterile saline solution in order to remove the infective material. Once out of surgery, the nurses continuously monitored Lula as she began to wake from the anaesthetic. Lula was still seriously ill but she gave us some encouraging signs, not least a little wag of her tail! Over the next few days, Lula continued to improve and was able to take a few steps around the garden. She was quite enjoying all the attention and deservedly-so. The day came for this brave, happy little girl to go home. We were so glad to see Lula back with her owners.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Arthritis Awareness

With the colder winter weather some of us will be noticing our joints are feeling more achy and the same will be true of our dogs and cats. Cool weather can leave joints especially stiff and tender, meaning an increase in discomfort for pets suffering from arthritis or even highlight that you pet is suffering from the condition.

What is it?

Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is the inflammation of the joints caused by wear and tear of the cartilage and the other associated tissues. Cartilage covers and protects the ends of the bones in a movable (synovial) joint. The cartilage has no nerves so when it touches the cartilage of another bone, there is no pain.

When the cartilage wears away, the bone is exposed. The bone does have nerves so when the two bone ends in a joint touch each other it results in pain and inflammation – signals that arthritis is present. In degenerative joint disease we also see small bony projections (osteophytes) form on the bone that is close to the joint. This adds to the pain. This type of arthritis is progressive, meaning it continues to get worse. 

What causes it?

Osteoarthritis is either age related as a result of wear and tear on the joint, or secondary to another problem within the joint, such as hip dysplasia, a ruptured cruciate ligament or trauma.

Signs of arthritis

Arthritis by its nature develops gradually so animals tend to learn to cope with the discomfort without showing any obvious pain. As a result some dogs and cats can appear to be very stoical about the pain from arthritis- often it is only once the pain has been treated that owners realise how much their pet was suffering.

Signs of arthritis in dogs include;

🐶Sitting down on walks.                                 
🐶Slowing down on walks
🐶Stiffness, especially getting up after rest 
🐶Reduced activity
🐶Hesitancy to climb steps
🐶Difficulty jumping into the car
🐶Change in character (restless, anxious withdrawn, clingy, grumpiness)
🐶Quiet - spending less time playing with family; which can be mistaken for a sign of 'aging'
🐶Excessively licking over a joint
🐶 Swollen joints
🐶Painful joints                                                                   

Signs of arthritis in cats include;


🙀Reluctance to play and exercise
🙀 Lose ability to jump up to, or down from heights.
🙀Sleeping more                              
🙀No longer grooming themselves
🙀 Irritable/grumpy when stroke
🙀 Grumpiness
🙀 Crying when picked up
🙀Difficulty stepping into litter tray
🙀Difficulty stepping through the cat flap

We recommend a visit to see one of our vets if any of these signs (or other changes) are noticed in your pet.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

Your vet may suspect that your pet has arthritis from the signs you describe and by performing a thorough health check. The vet will manipulate the joints gently to check for swellings, heat, evidence of pain, range of movement and crepitus (a grating feeling when the joint is manipulated). Sometimes it is necessary to take an x-ray to find out what is going on in the joints. This usually requires a sedation or general anaesthesia and a separate day appointment is arranged for this.

How is osteoarthritis treated?

The goal of treatment is to decrease pain, minimise lameness, improve mobility and provide a good quality of life for affected patients. Arthritis cannot be cured.

Weight control: Dogs and cats that suffer from chronic pain caused by conditions like osteoarthritis often become inactive, which can result in obesity. Controlling your pet’s weight will lighten the load on arthritic joints and make it easier for them to move around. We appreciate that reducing the weight of an animal that finds exercise painful is not easy. Please speak to a member of staff about our weight clinics which are run free of charge. We will be happy to give ideas regarding diet, weight targets and design exercise strategies to suit your pet, as well as providing help and support whenever required.

Exercise is essential because it contributes to strengthening the muscles that support joints. Moderate amounts of low-impact exercise each day will improve joint mobility and can help get a lethargic, arthritic pet active again. Dogs will benefit from such activities as walking and swimming (hydrotherapy) ; cats can profit from play that keeps them moving without excessive jumping. Consult your veterinary surgeon about what amount and type of exercise would be best for your pet. Also, be aware that your dog or cat’s arthritis pain may be more severe at certain times than others. If this is the case, let your pet take a break from his or her exercise routine for a few days, until the painful flare-up subsides.

Medications known as non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, (NSAID), are often prescribed to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Their efficacy is well documented. Any reduction in pain at the lowest possible dose will allow for an improved quality of life and limit any possible unwanted side effects. Before use, your pet will be assessed for their general health and regularly monitored whilst on any medication. Please ask your veterinary surgeon for more information. Please note: It is NOT safe to give your pet human anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicines.

Diet and Nutraceuticals.

There are particular diets such as the Royal Canin Mobility that can really improve the signs of arthritis. It contains both nutrients that help with the inflammation, including anti-oxidants, and helps with weight management. Do speak to your vet.

Joint supplements (nutraceuticals) are also found to be very good in some cases. These nutritional supplements are especially useful in the early stages of the disease or when recovering from a joint trauma (including surgery). They can be used solely as a preventative measure too. These supplements often include ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin that are useful in supporting the health of the cartilage and surrounding structures.

The regulation of such supplements is limited and as such the quality may vary greatly from one manufacturer to another. One should always use those recommended by your vet.

Making a few adjustments to your pet’s environment can help to keep them more comfortable and mobile. A few suggestions are;

  • Make sure that you provide a well padded cosy bed, out of draughts. Ensure that it can be readily accessed.
  • Allow your cat to reach their favourite places easily by placing a box or item of furniture as a launch pad.
  • Make sure that your cat can reach their litter tray easily and check that the sides aren't too tall; that they are able to step into it comfortably.
  • Reduce the need for your pet to have to climb the stairs.
  • Allow easy access to food and water without the need for your cat to jump up.
  • If your dog appears unsteady when out walking or has difficulty on uneven surfaces, a harness may offer them additional support by distributing any pressure from the lead over a larger area. This means that you may be able to assist them in keeping their balance making it easier for them to walk on uneven surfaces or going up or down stairs.
  • If you have laminate, wood or vinyl flooring that your dog is slipping or sliding on, you could consider the use of rubber backed mats, particularly where your dog would lie down, turn or stand to eat, to help them grip the floor.
  • If your dog is having difficulty reaching their bowls on the floor, you could consider raising the bowls a little off the floor or there are a variety of raised bowls on the market, to find a more comfortable height for them to eat and drink at.
  • Consider a ramp to aid your dog getting into and out of the car.

Your pet's well-being

Spend some time cleaning and grooming your pet. Check their claws to see that they aren't becoming overgrown. Encourage play and interaction to provide exercise and mental stimulation. 
Have regular check up's; it's important to maintain communication with your vet to ensure that your pet is enjoying their senior years.

Consider alternative therapies

Hydrotherapy (which involves your dog swimming in a purpose-built pool) helps to build muscle mass to better support joints. Swimming is low impact and so tends to be more comfortable for dogs with stiff joints. Other therapies, such as acupuncture, could be considered.

Your vet will be able to discuss which therapies will be most appropriate for your pet and where you will be able to find them locally.


In conclusion; 

Once arthritis has started, it cannot be cured, but if we notice the signs early and manage it carefully, we can slow down the progression of the disease, greatly reduce the symptoms and so improve your pet's quality of life.


   The contents of the Arden House Animal Hospital website are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Veterinary Surgeon with any questions you may have regarding your animal’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Pet of the month; Hall of fame - Jimmy

10 year old Jimmy is our brave pet of the month after a dog attack left him with a dreadful injury. Jimmy was rushed straight in to vet Rachel and it was apparent he'd sustained a large wound to the back of his neck and on his shoulder. Jimmy was admitted to the hospital where he was given pain relief and antibiotics, and placed onto an intravenous drip to treat shock.

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Vet Katie assessed Jimmy the following day and although he had received damage to the skin and soft tissue layers, the bite had not damaged vital structures in his neck or chest. He also had a few puncture wounds along his back. Due to the extent of Jimmy’s wound, Katie needed to give him a general anaesthetic so that she could treat the wound further. Because a dog’s mouth is full of bacteria, a bite wound will introduce bacteria to the wound, so firstly Katie thoroughly flushed the wound to reduce the bacteria in the tissues and remove visible dirt. She then checked the skin and tissues for their health and removed some damaged areas – a procedure called debridement. Katie had to reduce the dead space in the wound using stitches; Dead space is formed when the skin is pulled away from the underlying tissue creating a space. Poor Jimmy has likely been shaken  cause this wound.  When the space is large, as in Jimmy's case, fluid can accumulate under the skin once the wound is stitched closed and bacteria can thrive. To reduce this risk, Katie inserted a drain; a latex rubber tube that allows fluid to drain out of the wound. You can see the drain poking out the bottom of Jimmy's wound (see picture above).

The following day brave Jimmy was feeling a bit brighter and the nurses took him outside for a potter around the garden. His wound looked good and the nurses encouraged him to eat with some freshly cooked chicken. Jimmy’s owners felt confident to have him at home, so they came and collected him later that evening. He came back in over the next two days to have his wound checked and the drain removed. We were really happy with how well Jimmy was getting on especially as there can be complications with infection and the breakdown of stitches.

Katie saw Jimmy back for his next visit and was able to remove some of his many stitches. He continued to do well and two weeks after his initial visit, Jimmy had the last of his stitches removed. We are so pleased with the recovery he’s made.

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What a super little dog he is!-Well done Jimmy!  

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Tips for a pet-safe New Year's Eve

While New Year's Eve celebrations are fun for us, our pets can easily be scared by the hullabaloo that comes with it. Here are some tips for a pet-safe New Year's eve;

  • Exercise pets during the day- take dogs on a long walk. For cat's, play with them for half an hour or more. If they are tired, pets are more likely settle down and rest later in the evening.
  • With fireworks going off through the evening, it is best to keep cats indoors (provide a litter tray). When taking your dog out for a toilet break, do so in your garden and keep them on a lead so that you can stay close to them. Ensure that their collar is fitted correctly so that there is no chance of escape should they become frightened.
  • Provide a safe, cosy area for your pet to retreat to, with water and their bedding. Shut the curtains and leave a light on if they are in another room to you. Play some soothing music at low level. Be sure to check on them frequently as the celebrations get into full swing.
  • If your pets do interact with party guests, make sure that everyone knows not to feed your pet food or alcohol and be mindful of where leaving your plate and glass. This may seem self -explanatory, but some people may not be aware of the dangers of such behaviour.
  • Take care not to leave objects lying around that your pet could chew and swallow such as wine corks, cracker toys, corn on cob.
Typical signs of stress in dogs are;

Trembling, shaking, shivering
Yawning ( excessively)

Cats will tend to hide if scared. Do not try to coax them out if they are hiding. Before your party guests arrive make sure that your cat has some safe hideaway areas where they won't be bothered. Ensure that they can access their litter tray and food should they wish.

      The contents of the Arden House Animal Hospital website are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Veterinary Surgeon with any questions you may have regarding your animal’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Pet safety at Christmas

Our poem is a reminder to have a pet-safe Christmas!

Twas the night before Christmas.....and at Arden House, Albert was dreaming of a new catnip mouse; when in walked the vet with some patients to see, first a kitten had fallen out of a Christmas tree. Mimi had tried to climb to the top, the tree toppled over and down she dropped! Felix had swallowed red tinsel strands, he was now being sick; an operation was planned.

With everything well and the animals fed, and Albert still asleep in his nice comfy bed. Loudly the phone started to ring...’It’s my dog’ said the owner, ‘she’s raided the bin!’ Penny the Labrador’s groans could be heard; She’d eaten the bones from the cooked Christmas bird. ‘I’ll need to see her’ the vet explained as Penny was in a lot of pain.

At the hospital Penny was admitted to stay, to receive care throughout Christmas Day. The sound of the phone rang out again. ‘I’m worried about my dog!’ an owner exclaimed. ‘What’s happened?’ asked the vet concerned; she’d eaten a bar of dark chocolate he learned.
Image result for dog christmas chocolate poisoning
‘Please bring her straight in for emergency care’ the vet advised as fully aware, that a compound in chocolate in pets is toxic and likely to be what’s making her sick.

With the patients all treated and settled, the vet went to put on the kettle. When up on the roof, the sound of hooves- the arrival of somebody special! 'I have a gift for Albert the cat' greeted Santa wiping his boots on the mat.'And one of my reindeer has injured his foot, would you be so kind to take a look'?

The vet heard of Dasher's plight, he'd slipped on ice when he landed from flight. An x-ray showed no broken bones, the reindeer was fit to fly to more homes. With tablets prescribed to help Dasher's pain, it was time for Santa to take the reins. 'Merry Christmas to you, Ho Ho Ho' beamed Santa as he prepared to go. With Rudolph's nose providing the light, off whizzed his sleigh into the night!

Here are a few more hazards to look out for over the festive period;                               

Ingestion of batteries is more common at this time of year.  If the battery is chewed and pierced it can cause chemical burns and heavy metal poisoning. If they are swallowed whole it is possible they will cause an obstruction. All batteries are potentially toxic so if you suspect your dog has chewed or swallowed a battery - please call us.



If you think that your pet may have eaten something that it shouldn't then
swift action is necessary. Please do not wait for your pet to suffer.

Follow these four simple steps:

  • Step 1 - Prevent your pet from eating any more.
  • Step 2 - Phone your vet immediately!
  • Step 3 - Stay calm and follow your vet's instructions.
  • Step 4 - Collect the relevant wrapping and packaging.
Make a note of our phone number and call us immediately -

01895 633600


Christmas time often means a busy home, with friends and family coming together in seasonal spirit. Remember that new faces and more noise can be scary for your pet, so it’s a good idea to provide them with a safe room so they can escape and be put at ease if it all becomes too much. It’s also important to maintain your pet’s normal routines, especially with feeding and exercise, to avoid them becoming too unsettled.

      The contents of the Arden House Animal Hospital website are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your Veterinary Surgeon with any questions you may have regarding your animal’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.