Friday, 23 October 2020

Fireworks are no fun.

With many pets anxious and fearful of loud noises, the firework season can result in some stressful evenings for pets and owners alike.

Signs to look out for in your pet include panting, trembling, pacing, seeking people, hiding or trying to escape, refusal to eat, inappropriate urination or defaecation, vocalisation,  as well as changes in facial expression and body language indicative of stress.

To help your pet cope with this time of year, here are some helpful steps you can take at home. It's important to be prepared, so now is the time to act, before the fireworks start.

  • Provide your dog with a safe retreat or denMany people will create a den by using a dog crate covered on three sides with a blanket, but a space under a piece of furniture could do the job equally well. Provide a cosy bed or blankets in which they can hide and feel secure. Allow them freedom to access and leave the den at all times and provide positive experiences whilst they are using it, like a favourite toy or treat and give lots of praise. Leave a water bowl nearby so that your dog can easily get a drink. Prepare this area in advance to allow your pet time to get used to using it.
  • Cats tend to find their own safe haven such as under a bed , behind a sofa or up high on top of a wardrobe. You might like to provide a cardboard box on its side with a blanket inside or an igloo bed. It can be placed in your cats preferred hiding place, but don't force them to use it, they will choose to do what makes them feel most comfortable. Provide a litter tray that they can easily access.

Calming products;      
There are some excellent natural calming products available to help manage stress in dogs and cats.  FeliwayⓇ for cats and AdaptilⓇ for dogs are some of the best known – they mimic the comforting pheromones, which are naturally produced by the animals.

We stock a product called Pet Remedy which is a blend of essential oils that can help to calm anxious and stressed animals. It is available in a diffuser or spray format and starts to help immediately. 


Pet remedy plug-in diffuser - £18.92
Pet remedy refills (2 pack) - £18.92
Pet remedy calming spray 15ml - £5.26
Pet remedy calming spray 200ml -  £16.66

Pet remedy calming wipes ( 12 pk ) - £7.20
Pet remedy party survival kit - £ 23.39

ZylkeneⓇ is a calming supplement that contains a natural ingredient derived from a protein in milk called casein that has clinically proven calming properties to help relax dogs and cats. It is available as either a capsule that can be sprinkled on their food or a tasty chew. 

These products can help with many stressful events - do speak to your vet or nurse!

๐Ÿ‘•A Thunder-Shirt for dogs is based on the concept of swaddling or compression. Just as swaddling new born babies can help them to feel more secure, the gentle pressure applied by the Thunder-Shirt can have a calming effect and help anxious dogs feel more secure. 
(This method may not work for some dogs).

Prescribed medication

There are drugs that can be prescribed for particularly stressed pets. For dogs that get particularly worried by fireworks, a product is now available to help them with noise phobias. It provides a calming effect without sedating them. It is a gel that is applied to the gums, so it can be administered at home. Your dog should be able to function normally, and of course, be less concerned about the noises.

Your pet will require a  health check with a vet before any medication can be prescribed.

Please ask us today about the best option for your pet❕



Some tips for on the night(s)
  • Take your dog for a walk early in the evening before the fireworks start.
  • Ensure your pet is safely inside and secure doors, windows and cat flaps. Cats will need a litter tray.
  • Is your pet micro-chipped in case they do escape and are your details up-to-date? 
  • Try not to leave your pet alone when fireworks are going off. Pets may hurt themselves or cause damage if they are not supervised. Having you there provides reassurance and comfort.
  • Shut curtains, keep lights on and switch on the radio or TV to help muffle out the sounds of the fireworks.
  • Provide distraction in the form of toys, games, chews or favourite treats.
  • A little calm reassurance from you, should they seek it, will go along way. It's ok to acknowledge that your pet is anxious but continue to remain relaxed yourself and carry on normally. Some pets will seek out comfort from you, it is ok to soothe them but don't over fuss. Others will prefer to hide, that's likely all the comfort that they need - they have found their safe haven. 
  •  Praise your pet if they are relaxed with cuddles and a treat.
  • Act normally and try to stick to your normal routine. Ignore the fireworks.
  • Don’t get cross or punish your pet, regardless of their behaviour, as it will only make them more distressed.
  • Should your dog need to go into the garden to the toilet, keep them close to you on a lead.
  • Cats prefer to be left to cope on their own - let them find a hiding place and leave them undisturbed.
๐ŸŽ‡It is a good idea to find out if any public firework displays are scheduled in your local area to ensure that you are at home with your pet when it is happening.
๐ŸŽ†If you are planning your own firework party, let your neighbours know so that they can be prepared.
๐Ÿ”ฅDon't forget to check bonfires thoroughly before lighting as hedgehogs (and other wildlife) like to sleep in them. Lift up the base using a broom handle and listen for any noise, shine a torch into the log pile, or even better, move the bonfire completely before lighting. Light a bonfire from one side only, it will provide an escape route for a hog. 
(Information courtesy of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society)

Tips for outdoor rabbits and guinea pigs;

  • If the hutch is attached to a run, make sure that your pet is back in their hutch before it gets dark and close off access to the run.
  • Provide plenty of extra hay in which they can burrow and hide. A cardboard box ,with a hole cut in the side for access and filled with hay, makes a good hiding place.
  • Turn the hutch to face a wall or fence to help block out the flashes,  or cover the hutch. Do however ensure that there is enough ventilation.
  • If you can, move the hutch indoors to a cool part of the house or into a shed for example.
  • You could always bring them inside for a cuddle (if they are used to this) or pop them in a pet carrier indoors in a cool room with plenty of hay during the worst period of the fireworks.

Behaviour modification
Other than changes to the home environment, or medication, you can try behaviour modification to ease your pet's fear. This is more of a long-term management option which can be very effective. A process called 'de-sensitisation' teaches your pet not to react to the fear stimulus and then eventually to associate it with something positive. Ask your vet about sound therapy and for further advice on behaviour modification.


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.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Star pet - Lottie ( hall of fame)

Lottie is our star pet after recovering from serious injuries she received after being hit by a car.

At the end of November a kind member of the public found a little dog in the middle of the road having been knocked by a car. She was brought straight in to the Ruislip hospital and vet Louise carried out an initial examination. She was unable to stand on her hind legs and she had a large skin wound on her right thigh. The dog, a sweet Jack Russell terrier, was in shock and pain so Louise gave her some pain relief medication and started intravenous fluid therapy to treat the shock. We scanned her to read her microchip number and entered it into the microchip database where we found out her name was Lottie and she was 15 years of age! The database also provided us with her owner's details and we were able to get in touch with them. They came staight in to see her. They explained that Lottie had got a bit confused on a walk and had wandered off by herself and got lost. 

Lottie required some initial x-rays of her chest and hind legs to determine the extent of her injuries. Although she had suffered some bruising to her chest, the x-rays showed no major damage. The preliminary results of her leg x-rays revealed no fractures to the bones in her legs but revealed a dislocation of her hip.Being an older girl, the chance of a full recovery from her injuries was reduced, but Lottie's owners were keen to give her every chance of recovery so treatment was commenced

Before Lottie was given a general anaesthetic, a blood sample was taken to test her liver and kidney health.The results showed no abnormalities which was good news especially for a dog of Lottie's age! With the assistance of student nurse Becky, Louise administered the general anaesthetic and a more detailed x-ray of Lottie's pelvis ( hips) was taken. Louise then carried out a procedure on Lottie's dislocated hip called a closed reduction whereby the leg is manipulated to enable the ball joint to move back into place within the hip socket.

Next Louise treated Lottie's large 10cm wound on her thigh. It was contaminated by dirt, grit and hair so it required lots of flushing to remove the debris before being cleaned and stitched closed. Because of the trauma caused to the skin and soft tissues from the accident, there was a risk that the wound could  come apart (breakdown) so this needed to be closely monitored.Lottie also required a few stitches in a smaller wound on her left knee.

In theatre, Lottie was monitored closely by nurse Dayna and student nurse Becky. Her heart rate and breathing rate were recorded along with her pulse rate, temperature and depth of anaesthesia. She remained stable throughout the procedures and recovered well from the general anaesthetic. 

Lottie stayed in hospital with us for four days so that we could administer pain relief injections and intravenous antibiotics.Her movement needed to be kept to a minimum to help keep her hip in place, but we also needed to assess her mobility to see if she could stand herself up and place weight on her legs.
She was as good as gold for the vets and nurses looking after her in the hospital and they were so pleased when her appetite started to improve - a good sign that she was feeling brighter. 

It was lovely to see Lottie go home. Her owners continued with her care, keeping her quiet and rested in a dog crate.  As suspected, the wound opened up a little over her thigh but the vets decided to let the wound heal naturally ( second intention healing). Lottie's owners gently bathed the area to keep it clean and after 4 weeks the wound healed completely. Lottie is now back enjoying her senior years. 

For being so brave and a perfect patient, Lottie is a much deserved star pet!

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Troublesome grass seeds!

During the summer we start to see an influx of grass seed cases arriving in the hospital. The worst offenders are seeds (awns) which look like small darts with a sharp point and fanned tail. They get caught up in the animal's fur and can end up in all manner of places. They tend to affect dogs more than cats ( they are usually good at grooming themselves), but cat owners still need to be aware of these troublesome seeds.

swelling between toes

The most frequent area to find grass seeds is in-between the toes or underneath the paw where the dog has stood on a seed and it has got caught up in their fur. The sharp point on the seed works its way into the skin where it can travel further into the paw and up between tendons and ligaments. Often an owner is alerted to their dog incessantly licking at the affected paw and the appearance of a reddened lump. They might limp as it is uncomfortable. In some cases we simply lance the site and a small abscess discharges along with the seed, but unfortunately it isn't always this simple. Some patients require a sedation or general anaesthetic so that the vet can surgically explore the region and remove it. This can require several operations.

A grass seed found in the fur on an ear

The ears are also susceptible for collecting grass seeds especially in dogs that have large hairy ears like spaniels. The seeds get caught up in the fur of the ear flaps before finding their way down the ear canal. The dog will show signs of discomfort such as head shaking, holding the head to one side or they might yelp if the ear is touched as it is painful.

Seeds can also find their way up noses causing sneezing, pawing at the nose and discharge, or into eyes where they become lodged between the eye and eyelid. The animal will likely rub their face and squint due to the discomfort and the eye may water and look reddened. The vet will first examine your pet. If a grass seed is visible, the vet can sometimes remove it without the need for sedation or anaesthesia, but often this becomes necessary for the safe removal from these sensitive sites. 

Although thankfully rare, we have seen cases where the grass seed has pricked the skin and gone unnoticed. It continues to move around under the skin travelling to other parts of the body where it causes swellings, infection or abscesses, making the dog very ill. 

Reducing the risk

  • Try to avoid walking your dog in fields with long grass as much as possible and stick to areas where it has been cut short.
  • After every walk check your dog thoroughly by running your fingers through their fur ( include the armpit and groin area), check each ear flap including the fur around the entrance to the ear canal and fur around the face. Check between the toes on each paw.
  • Daily grooming will help to clear the coat of any debris and seeds caught up in the fur.
  • Excessive hair on the feet and around the ears can be trimmed to reduce the chance of the seeds being picked up. 
  • Although cats tend to be less affected by grass seeds due to their fastidious grooming routine, it is still a good idea to check through their fur (especially long haired cats).
  • Be vigilant!

If you notice any of the above signs or any other abnormality, please call your vet as soon as possible for the most successful treatment outcome.

Disclaimer :
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.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Feeling the heat!

While people regulate their body temperatures by sweating, a dog goes about it in a different way! Dogs do not sweat in the same way that people do, although they do produce very small amounts of sweat from the pads of their paws (as do cats). The main way in which dogs regulate their body temperature is by panting, which draws cooling air into the body to drop the core temperature, and also by drinking water, which again hydrates and cools the body. 

What is heat stroke?

Heat Stroke (hyperthermia) is a condition that occurs at a point where an animal can no longer regulate their body temperature or cool themselves down. Their temperature becomes dangerously raised. It generally occurs in the summer months when the outside temperatures are high. Dogs that are overweight or ones that have a thick coat are particularly vulnerable as are short nosed breeds such as a Pug, Boxer, Pekingese and Bulldog.

Situations that can quickly lead to heat stroke;
  • Too much exercise or vigorous play during the hotter parts of the day.
  • Not drinking enough water or lack of access to drinking water. 
  • Being out in direct sunlight and unable to find shade. 
  • Being enclosed in a car, shed or other overheated enclosure where the temperature is hot.

Preventing heat stroke in pets

It is vital to monitor your pet closely when it is hot to see how they are coping with the heat. Some of the precautions to take during the summer include:

  • Not walking your dog or encouraging vigorous play during the hottest part of the day;  walk in the early morning and the evening when the weather is cooler.
  • Ensuring that your pet has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Take water out on dog walks with you so that you can give them a drink.
  •  NEVER leaving your pet shut in a car, shed, conservatory, caravan or other small space for any amount of time, even for just a few minutes. Your pet can become dangerously overheated. 
  • Making sure that your pet can get out of direct sunlight if needed, ensuring that they have access to cooler, shaded areas - some dogs and cats insist on lying in the sun, discourage this!
  • Provide a cool room in which they can retreat into - if necessary close the curtains to keep the sun off the room and ensure that there is plenty of ventilation (good air-flow) and fresh water readily available.
  • Groom your pet regularly. A healthy, groomed coat helps your pet to regulate their body temperature and cope with the heat in summer.
  • Outdoor pets must have access to shade and drinking water at all times.
  •  Remember that some dogs, particularly those with white fur or pink skin may be prone to sunburn -  take this into account when taking them out in the sun. Cats with white ears are also prone to getting sunburn on the ear tips.  You can buy pet safe sun cream - always read the label.

Identifying heatstroke in dogs;

Even if you take all possible precautions and do what you can to help your dog keep cool, it is important to be able to identify the symptoms of heatstroke in the early stages in order to take prompt action. Heatstroke can quickly progress to become a life-threatening emergency.

During the early stages of heatstroke your dog may appear restless, have excessive thirst, be breathing heavily and faster and look generally unhappy. They can appear listless and lethargic too. They will begin to pant excessively and for a prolonged period of time, or pant recurrently without getting any relief. As heatstroke progresses they may drool more than usual from the mouth. Their gums or tongue may appear a dark red or purple colour.  A high body temperature and elevated heart rate also accompany heatstroke in dogs. Heatstroke often progresses very quickly, and can soon advance to confusion and disorientation, collapse and fitting. The dog may also vomit or lose control of their bowels and bladder.

    Heatstroke is a veterinary emergency, and not a condition that can be left to resolve itself.

     What to do for dogs with heat stroke;
  •      Immediately move your dog to the shade or indoors to a cool area.
  •     Apply cool or tepid water (not ice cold as this can be counterproductive), either directly by slowly pouring small amounts of water on them or by using wet towels/ sponge to wet the body. Pay particular attention to the stomach, inner thighs, armpits, head, neck and footpads. (Don't cover the dog with a wet towel as this can cause them to warm up).
  •     If a hose pipe is available, use a fine, gentle spray to wet your dog. (Make sure that you run water through the hosepipe first before applying it to your pet - any water residue in a hosepipe that has been sitting in the sun can be scalding hot so be sure to check the water temperature before using it). 
  • If you have brought your dog indoors, if able to, stand them in the bath so that their feet are stood in tepid water and continue to slowly wet their body. Do not submerge them in water as this can shock them. 
  •     Offer your dog water to drink but don't let them drink too much at once. Small sips are ideal. However, don't force them to drink.
  •      If you have a fan, direct it onto your dog.
  •      CALL YOUR VET for further advice and to arrange for your pet to be checked, (even if they appear to be recovering). 

     Cats and the heat

  Cats will generally cope better with hot temperatures. They usually seek out somewhere cool to rest. Cat paw pads have sweat glands and this is how they cool down. Cats also lick the fur over their bodies to distribute saliva that will evaporate to cool them, much like sweat would do. A heat stressed cat will pant and this should not be ignored.

A cat can succumb to heatstroke and show similar symptoms to a dog - restlessness, agitation, drooling, panting, weakness. Again it is vital that you move them to a shady, cool area and apply cool water using a towel/sponge to the groin, paws and neck. If available, use a fan to help cool them down. Offer small amounts of water to drink. CALL YOUR VET.

   Rabbits and Guinea pigs

Don't forget your small furries! Rabbits and Guinea pigs are unable to sweat, they must have plenty of shade and good airflow. 

Position enclosures/hutches in a cool place out of direct sunlight such as under a tree and create more shade by adding a tarpaulin or a towel. Provide more shady spots within the enclosure using a cardboard box with a couple of openings cut into it for added ventilation. Provide fresh water at all times in both a drinking bottle and ceramic dish.

Signs that a rabbit or Guinea pig is hot include lethargy, breathing heavily, puffing, a wet nose, drooling, weakness, reluctance to move.

Immediately move them to a cool area and apply cool water to their ears, groin and feet using a sponge/towel. Offer them water to drink. Do not submerge them in water as it can shock them. CALL YOUR VET!

Click the link for some tips on summer outdoor bunny care
      (courtesy of www.rabbit

Ensure that rodent cages and bird cages are kept out of direct sunlight and are not left in a conservatory. Make sure that your pet has access to fresh water at all times. 

Wildlife - Don't forget to leave a dish of water out for wildlife visiting your garden.

Disclaimer: 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.