Friday, 25 May 2018

Rabbit awareness Month!

 Calling all rabbit owners! 

Image result for rabbits

We are supporting rabbit awareness week by offering a whole month of free rabbit checks with a vet between Saturday 2nd June - Saturday 30th June.

Rabbit Awareness Week
Please call and book an appointment! 

This year's campaign is focusing on 'moving away from muesli' -  encouraging rabbit owners to move away from feeding their rabbits muesli style rabbit food and change their rabbits' diets to a healthy hay-based one. Across the UK many rabbits are being fed a muesli-style mix as part of their daily diet. Because rabbit muesli contains a mix of high-sugar flakes and grains, it can encourage selective feeding. This can lead to health problems. 



So what's the problem with muesli?

The different flakes, seeds and grains in muesli make it seem like a balanced food but it encourages rabbits
 to be picky with what they eat. This is known as selective feeding – where rabbits eat the sugary bits and pieces
 and leave the less tasty pellets behind.

Selective feeding can lead to your rabbit developing serious health problems:
  • Teeth problems. Rabbit’s teeth grow all the time. Without proper feeding hay to wear them down, rabbits can develop dental disease.
  • Obesity. Selective feeding can increase your rabbit's weight, which can cause all sorts of nasty health problems.
  • Tummy trouble. Fibre helps keep a rabbit’s gut moving. Not eating enough fibre can give a rabbit deadly illnesses like gut stasis and bloat.
  • Dirty bottoms. Uneaten caecotrophs (sticky droppings) can stick to a rabbit’s fur, leading to flystrike.

How can you help?

If your rabbit has a muesli-based diet, you should slowly change their food to high-quality rabbit nuggets.
You should transition their diet slowly over a four week period, as depicted in the visual guide below. Make sure you don’t overfeed with nuggets and increase the overall portion size over this period and make sure your rabbits have access to unlimited high-quality feeding hay.  Please call us, we'd be happy to advise you on your rabbit's dietary needs.
        Diet Transition

Monday, 16 April 2018

Oliver: Pet of the month - Hall of fame ( Feb 2018)

The owners of Oliver, a gorgeous 10 year old Hungarian Vizsla, contacted us after they noticed that he was drinking more than usual and urinating more too.

We asked them to collect a urine sample from Oliver and to book an appointment to see a vet. A urine test can help to provide information on the health of the kidneys and urinary tract as well as checking for the presence of glucose that can indicate underlying Diabetes Mellitus (sugar Diabetes). Oliver’s urine was tested and the findings were unremarkable apart from it being slightly lower in concentration (more dilute).

There can be many causes of polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyuria (production of large volumes of urine), so the next step was to carry out some further tests on Oliver to discover the cause of his symptoms.

Oliver was examined by vet Cathy who then collected a blood sample so that she could evaluate his organ function and electrolyte status. The results showed that his liver enzymes were elevated, of which there can be many causes. The next step was for Oliver to come in for the day to have an ultrasound scan of his abdomen and to have a specific blood test called a bile acid stimulation test; this tests how well the liver is functioning. Oliver was such a well behaved boy and lay very still to allow Cathy to perform the scan.

Cathy looked at the structure, size and health of his liver which showed some age related changes. She also scanned his spleen, kidneys and bladder, the result of which was normal. Oliver had not had any breakfast as he needed to be fasted for the first part of his blood test, so he was quite happy when the nurses gave him brunch, as the second part of the blood sample needed to be collected two hours after food. 
Cathy received the results of Oliver’s bile acid stimulation blood test; it showed that his liver was working properly and she concluded that his symptoms were not the result of liver disease. 

With kidney and liver disease ruled out, Cathy was suspicious that Oliver's excessive thirst and urination might be the result of a rare condition called Diabetes Insipidus (water diabetes).There is no specific test for this, so other conditions had to be excluded before starting treatment. 
A common hormonal disease called Cushing’s can also cause symptoms like Oliver’s, so this firstly needed to be ruled out (or ruled in). Cathy arranged for him to come in to the hospital for multiple blood samples. Again Oliver was a model patient, allowing the nurses to take his blood without any fuss. The results showed that Oliver did not have Cushing’s disease.

Cathy prescribed some antibiotics for Oliver so that she could also rule out a kidney infection (pyelonephritis) Oliver wasn’t showing clinical signs of a kidney infection other than frequent thirst and urination, and a urine test was negative for bacterial growth, but in some cases the condition can be ‘hidden’. Oliver's symptoms did not improve with the antibiotics so lastly Cathy asked Oliver's owners to collect a series of urine samples from him over a day so that she could test how well he was concentrating his urine; a test called specific gravity. This can be variable in pets, but Cathy could see from the results that Oliver's urine was dilute. It was now appropriate for Oliver to trial some medication to treat Diabetes Insipidus.
Diabetes Insipidus is a condition where the body fails to maintain water balance. It is a rare disorder and not to be confused with Diabetes Mellitus  which is caused by a deficiency of the hormone insulin. Diabetes Insipidus is caused by an insufficient production of a hormone called anti-diurectic hormone ( ADH)  that regulates the body's ability to absorb water from the kidneys. Generally the condition is considered to be idiopathic in nature, which means that what exactly causes this disorder is not known with certainty.

Oliver is now being treated with the drug Desmopressin that mimics the action of ADH. They are in the form of drops that are applied to his eyes. His thirst and excessive urination have decreased and the concentration of his urine over a three day period  is now at an adequate level. Cathy is very pleased with Oliver's response to the medication and will next see him in a month to repeat the urine test. Oliver's owners are continuing to  monitor his drinking and urination at home, ensuring that he has access to fresh water at all times.

For his gentle nature and patience with having blood samples taken, Oliver is a much deserved pet of the month!  💙

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Spring and Easter pet safety.

As we celebrate the joys of spring we mustn't forget the potential hazards that our pets can encounter during the season.


With lots of chocolate around the house, we'd like to remind pet owners, especially those with dogs, of the dangers of chocolate and the importance of keeping it out of reach.

The concentration of theobromine varies depending on the type of chocolate. For example, cocoa powder, baking chocolate and dark chocolate contain higher levels of theobromine compared to milk chocolate. The toxicity of theobromine is dose-related, meaning that the overall effect of chocolate ingestion on the dog depends on the size of the dog, the amount of chocolate eaten and the type of chocolate eaten.

The symptoms of theobromine ingestion may include restlessness, excitement, hyperactivity, nervousness, trembling, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased drinking and increased urination, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures and possibly death.

If your dog (or cat) has ingested any chocolate (even a small amount) you should contact your vet as soon as possible for advice.


It is unknown exactly why these foods are toxic to dogs, but it has been found that some dogs develop acute kidney failure following consumption of these fruits, even from eating a  small amount. Hot cross buns are popular at Easter time, ensure that you keep them out of reach.

It is important to contact your vet straight away should you suspect that your dog might have eaten any foods containing these fruits.


A popular plant at this time of year, these beautiful flowers are best avoided if you have a cat in the household or you are giving flowers as a gift to a cat owner.
Lilies are poisonous to cats and can cause kidney failure. All parts of the plant are poisonous, even a small exposure to the pollen can be potentially very dangerous.
Contact us immediately if you suspect that your cat has come into contact with these flowers.


Cocoa mulch - This is often used in flower beds by gardeners but, as with chocolate, this contains theobromine which is poisonous to pets. Tree bark is a safer alternative.

Gardening tools/equipment - Keep pets away from equipment during use. All gardening tools should be returned to the shed or garage once they have finished being used, so that a pet doesn’t accidentally injure itself on their sharp points and edges. 
Remember to check for wildlife such as hedgehogs and frogs before starting up the lawn mower or strimmer. Use a soft broom to brush through long grass and check under bushes on the edge of borders.

Flowers/plants - Many plants can pose a risk to pets if eaten. Some plants are more poisonous than others. You can find lists on the internet of pet-safe plants and those that are toxic and best avoided.

While some pets aren't interested in nibbling plants, others are notorious for it. Puppies and kittens can be particularly prone to chewing - be sure to choose pet-safe plants with these pets. Supervision is also important.
Fencing flower borders can help to stop dogs wandering into them.

Bulbs can look especially tempting, keep them out of reach.


Keep garden chemicals stored securely and out of reach of pets and children.
Ensure that they are used according to label instructions and keep your pet off of treated areas.
When selecting a product for purchase, and when using a product, read the label carefully as it will give clear and precise instructions regarding children and pets.

Slug bait - With showers and warm weather bringing out the slugs and snails, some gardeners are tempted to reach for the slug bait to protect their plants from these pests. 
Metaldehyde is a common ingredient of slug pellets and is extremely poisonous. Pets are attracted to the cereal based pellets and will eat them. Pets that have consumed metaldehyde may become unsteady on their feet and become twitchy, this can then progress to convulsions and respiratory failure. If you have any concerns that your pet may have consumed any slug and snail pellets, call your vet ( or nearest vet to you) immediately - even if they appear well.
The best thing for a household with pets is to avoid using these products. 

There are some newer slug and snail pellets available that do not contain metaldehyde. It is important to follow instructions on the packet and take precautions when using them. We would advise that if your pet was to accidentally eat them to contact your vet immediately for advice.

There are alternatives to using slug pellets such as crushed egg shells, sand paper, slug pubs and copper tape/rings. 

Rat bait - If using rodent poisons discuss their use with a professional, use pet friendly alternatives where possible and ensure that any bait is completely inaccessible to any pets. If accidental ingestion is at all expected contact your vet immediately. Not all rodenticides are the same so it is important to provide the vet with information on what was used.


      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, 27 March 2018

Competition time!

We are running a children's rabbit themed competition this Easter!

The competition is open for children aged 4-12 years. 

Simply hop along to our Ruislip practice to pick up a bunny activity sheet - children can either complete it in the waiting room or take it home to do.
The sheet can also be downloaded here:

Completed sheets need to be received by Friday 13th April and will be entered into a draw to win some Easter goodies.  Each child bringing in their completed sheet will also receive a chocolate!

Don't forget to write your name and contact number on the back of the entry.
 Good luck!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Easter opening hours

  • Good Friday ( 30th March ) - Emergency service only
  • Saturday 31st March  - 9:00am - 2:00pm for appointments and enquiries
  • Easter Sunday 1st April  - Emergency service only
  • Easter Monday ( 2nd April )  - Emergency service only
  • Good Friday (30th March)  - Emergency service only
  • Saturday 31st March  - 9:00am - 12:00 noon for appointments and enquiries
  • Easter Sunday 1st April - Emergency service only
  • Easter Monday ( 2nd April) - Emergency service only

  • Good Friday (30th March ):  Emergency service only
  • Saturday 31st March: 9:00am-11:00am for appointments - reception open until 12noon.
  • Easter Sunday 1st April : Emergency service only
  • Easter Monday (2nd April ): Emergency service only

Our 24 hour emergency service is available throughout Easter-

telephone 01895 633600

 ( Based at our Ruislip hospital)

Wishing you all a Happy Easter from
 everyone at Arden House x

Monday, 5 March 2018

Pet of the Month hall of fame - Colin ( Jan 2018)

Colin is a polish dwarf rabbit owned by vet Joanna. He recently had to come in for dental work.
Colin had been eating less food than normal, but otherwise appeared well. An examination of his teeth with a small scope inserted into the side of his mouth showed long overgrown and uneven teeth - some with sharp spurs where they had worn unevenly. Colin underwent a general anaesthetic and his overgrown molar teeth were rasped down using a metal tool rather like a nail file. A special drill was used to cut off his long incisors at the front of the mouth. Colin also needed to have his tear ducts flushed. In a healthy eye, tears are constantly produced to bathe and protect the eye, and are drained away via the nasolacrimal canal (tear duct), a tiny, mucous-membrane-lined tube. If the tears are unable to drain, they 'overflow' resulting in constantly wet fur and skin on the face. This can cause irritation and lead to skin infections. There are a number of things that can cause the tear ducts to block and in Colin's case it is related to his dental problems.

Following the procedure the nurses observed him closely and kept him warm. As soon as Colin was awake they syringe fed him some special liquid feed (above picture) to encourage him to start eating by himself and to help keep his digestive system moving. Colin went home later the same evening and is now back to enjoying his favourite food - raspberries!

The best way to keep your bunny's teeth healthy is to offer plenty of fresh hay each day - this should make up the largest part of their diet. It helps the teeth to wear down in an even fashion as they constantly grow. Unfortunately, Colin won't eat hay- even though he's been offered all the different varieties! Every 6 weeks we have to use the specialist drill to trim his front incisor teeth, which he tolerates very well (you can even look to have these permanently removed). We also have a look at his cheek teeth (molars) so that we can monitor their growth and catch any signs of problems early.

Well done Colin!

A note on gut stasis;

Rabbits have a delicate digestive system that requires large volumes of coarse fibre to ensure contast gut motility. When that motility slows down, the rabbit is vulnerable to digestive upsets in the caecum, and complete stasis of the gut - called gastrointestinal stasis ( GI Stasis). It is often associated with another problem i.e something makes your rabbit feel unwell (pain, bad teeth, stress, inadequate diet).

Symptoms include;

* not eating, combined with reduced and smaller harder droppings.
* Reluctance to move or appear hunched up.
* If you can hear loud crunching noises from the rabbit's mouth, the rabbit is experiencing acute pain.

Urgent! Your rabbit needs to be seen as soon as possible if they are not eating as they do deteriorate quickly.

Prevention is better than cure!

- Feed plenty of high fibre food every day.
- Ensure your rabbits have access to unlimited fresh hay that is freely available at all times.
- Rinse greens and herbs, and leave residual water on them.
- Ensure that they have eaten.
- Check droppings every day - be alert to changes ( reduced amount, change in size, shape, texture).
- Spend time and get to know your rabbit's rhythms and natural patterns, then you'll know when something isn't right.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Brrrr.......Bunnies and guinea pigs in Winter.

Winter tips for outdoor pets

Winter can be a difficult time for our outdoor pets. It is important to take steps to ensure that they remain happy and healthy throughout the cold months.

Hutch position;

If possible, move the hutch indoors to a cool room of the house or into a shed, porch or unused garage. Do not put the hutch in the garage if you park a car in it. The exhaust fumes are dangerous for them.

If it is not possible to bring the hutch inside,then ensure that the hutch is in a sheltered area of the garden. It needs to be raised off of the ground, so if the hutch has not got long legs, place some bricks underneath. This will help to prevent the damp from the ground affecting the bottom of the hutch.

Protect from the elements;

Rabbits and guinea pigs need protection from draughts and damp!

Check the hutch walls and roof to ensure that there are are no gaps through which rain and wind can get in. Put sheets of newspaper and a blanket or duvet onto the roof and let it hang down the back and sides of the hutch to provide extra insulation.Then protect it by securing a waterproof plastic sheet over the top (tarpaulin is a good choice) or you can purchase a waterproof hutch cover from a pet store. 

Make the inside of the hutch warm;
  • Use layers of newspaper to line the base of the hutch. Newspaper is a good insulator.
  • Place a thick layer of super absorbent litter like Excel bedding and litter or Smartbedz on top of the newspaper. It will help to absorb urine and keep the hutch drier and warmer.
  • Provide lots of extra hay as bedding so that they can snuggle into it.
  • A cardboard box with a hole cut in one side and filled with some hay will give them somewhere a bit more insulated to sit. (Make sure that they have enough room in the rest of the hutch to stretch out).
  • A pet-safe microwaveable heat pad is a safe option to add warmth on an icy night.

The front of the hutch;

During the daytime your rabbits and guinea pigs will welcome some fresh air and winter sun so leave the front uncovered. Ensure that the hutch has a bedroom section that they can retreat into. Should the weather be poor, a clear plastic or perspex sheet can be placed over the mesh front so that your pet can still see out, light can get in, but it keeps the wind and rain out. 

The hutch front should be covered overnight.

When covering the hutch front, It is important to make sure that there is sufficient ventilation - allow air to circulate through the hutch. Don't seal the hutch off completely.

Each day;

Your outdoor pets must be checked regularly, at least three times a day .

  • Ensure that the hutch is not leaking and is still protected from the elements( e.g covers are in place and haven't blown away).
  • Check that their bedding is dry - damp, soiled bedding must be changed promptly.
  • A bottle snug
  • Provide them with fresh food (nuggets and hay) and fresh veggies.
  • Check water bottles frequently in case they have frozen. The drinking spout needs to be checked too as it can ice up. Have a couple of spare bottles available so that they can be swapped over if necessary.A bottle snug is a good idea to help prevent the water freezing - the water should still be checked.
  • Observe your pet to ensure that they have eaten and been to the toilet and that they are bright and alert. Any concerns should not be ignored.
  • If they appear sleepy or not really reacting to anything, you must book an urgent appointment with the vet.
Remember that the hutch still needs a thorough clean each week.



Exercise is still important during the Winter. Bring them indoors to a cool room for a run around, or let them have a short time in the garden ( as long as the grass is not soaking wet). Covering a run with tarpaulin provides a dry sheltered area for exercise. Position the run so that it gets the warm winter sunshine.
Try to prevent your pet from getting too wet or cold. Should they get wet, towel them dry and allow them to warm up naturally indoors.

Remember, your pets still rely on you for their regular routine. So even though it’s wet, miserable and cold out there, everything should remain as close to normal as possible.This includes feed time, play time, snuggle time, and cleaning time.

   So wrap up warm and head outside!