Monday, 30 December 2019

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 cats, 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.
  • Keep the curtains closed, lights on and turn up the radio or TV to help muffle out the sounds of the fireworks. 
  • A little calm reassurance from you, should they seek it, will go along way. Don't fuss though as this can make the behaviour worse.
  • Try and ignore any fearful behaviour such as panting, pacing and whining. Continue to stay relaxed and carry on as if nothing has happened. 
  • Behave normally and praise your dog if they are relaxed with cuddles and a treat.

Party animal!

  • When guests are arriving and leaving, keep your pet away from the front door to reduce the risk of them escaping or becoming overexcited and jumping up. 
  • Provide a safe, cosy 'pet- zone' for your pet to retreat to, with water, their bedding and a favourite toy. Shut the curtains and leave a light on. Play some soothing music at low level. Be sure to check on them frequently as the celebrations get into full swing, but remind guests to give them space and leave them in peace. 
  • 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 and kebab skewers. 
  • Party poppers and crackers can cause a fright - ensure that pets are in their safe area and away from the noise before they are pulled. 

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.

We wish you all a safe

 & happy New Year!

     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. 

Monday, 2 December 2019

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 ( SnuggleSafe) 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.  ( 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 ( supervise at all times) 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!


Saturday, 9 November 2019

Harley - star pet hall of fame

Lovely 12 year old border collie Harley has been a regular visitor to see us over the last few months.

Harley's owner noticed that his right eye was sore and brought him in to an appointment. An ophthalmic assessment revealed that Harley had an ulcer on the surface of his eye, a structure called the cornea. The cornea is the clear, transparent window of the eye and is made up of three main layers. 

An injury of the cornea is known as an ulcer. Generally these wounds are described as superficial (shallow)

whereby only the surface layer of the cornea is affected or they can be deep where the wound extends deeper into the other layers. There are several reasons for their occurrence, for example; trauma to the eye (from a scratch ,a twig etc), foreign material entering the eye, and underlying conditions of the eye such as dry eye, deformed eyelids/eyelashes.

Harley's eye ulcer was shallow and the initial treatment involved supporting the heath of the eye and of Harley through the healing process of the ulcer. Harley was prescribed antibiotic eye drops to prevent and protect against infection, lubricating drops to help keep the eye's surface healthy and pain medicine to be taken by mouth as corneal ulcers can be quite painful.

It was important that Harley's eye was monitored closely as even seemingly 'simple ulcers' can worsen. Harley came back for check ups every other day. Vet Lavanya was a little concerned that although the ulcer was no worse there had been no improvement. She applied a local anaesthetic eye drop to Harley's eye and carried out a procedure called debridement. This involved Harley sitting very still to enable Lavanya to rub the surface of the ulcer with a cotton bud. This removes any loose epithelial cells and freshens up the wound edges to stimulate healing. Harley was such a good boy throughout. The frequency of Harley's eye drop treatment was increased. At his next visit, a couple of days later, vet Katie assessed his eye and worryingly it had worsened. The ulcer had deepened and Katie was concerned that it might develop into a 'melting ulcer'. This is when the ulcer deteriorates rapidly and often a specific bacterial infection is present. If the ulcer progresses even deeper there is a risk of rupture of the eye. Due to the seriousness of the condition, Harley was admitted to the hospital for intensive medical management.  After two days, head vet Cathy reassessed Harley's eye and decided that the next step was for her to perform a surgical procedure called a conjunctival pedicle graft to further support and stabilise his eye. ( see below for details). This required Harley to have a general anaesthetic.

Following the surgery, Harley spent the next three days in the hospital so that we could continue to administer his eye treatment. He was such a brave boy and wore his head cone without any fuss. With Harley's eye doing well, he was allowed home. Despite a surgical approach, Harley still needed frequent daily eye drops so he spent a combination of days at home and at the hospital ( on days when his owner was out). This took lots of time, patience and dedication from his lovely owner.

He was quite settled and happy during the days he spent with us and enjoyed plenty of cuddles with the nursing staff!

After several weeks, Harley's eye was improving and healing well. With the graft having done its job Cathy carried out a small procedure under a brief general anaesthetic whereby she trimmed back the remaining graft to encourage it to shrink. We are delighted to say that Harley continues to do well.

Harley has been a joy to look after and very brave throughout his treatment .He is a well deserved star pet!  

Pedicle graft

The conjunctiva is a pink thin membrane at the edge of the eye. In cases of rapidly progressive corneal ulcers, it is possible to surgically create a stalk or ‘pedicle’ of conjunctiva which can then be stitched into the corneal ulcer. The pedicle of conjunctiva not only provides some stability for the weakened cornea but also brings blood vessels (carrying healing cells and antibodies) right to the ulcer – this helps to fight infection.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Take the fright out of Halloween - Tips for keeping your pet safe.

Halloween has become more popular each year with parties being held, fireworks being let off and children out trick or treating. Here are a few reminders to ensure that your pet stays safe πŸŽƒ ;

  • All the noise and excitement of Halloween can be unsettling and distressing for animals, so provide them with a safe, quiet and secure area in which to retreat, complete with their favourite bed, blanket and toys.
  • Take your dog out for a walk before the evening activities get under way.
  • Keep your cat indoors.
  • Keep all edibles out of the reach of your pet, especially chocolate and treats that contain the natural sweetener xylitol as these can be toxic to pets.  Should your pet eat either of these products, please call your vet immediately for advice.

  • Keep pets away from the front door. Children in costumes can scare a pet and with the door opening and closing frequently, you don't want them escaping.
  • To avoid the door bell repeatedly ringing, stand outside during the busiest time to hand out the treats.
  • Do not dress your pet up unless they are completely comfortable with this and ensure that the accessories are kept simple. Supervise your pet at all times.
  • Take care if you are using candles - wagging tails and swatting paws can knock them over.
  • Keep glow sticks and glow accessories out of the reach of pets. Even though they aren’t necessarily toxic, if chewed, they can cause your pet to salivate excessively and act abnormally - seek advice from your vet.
And remember, 

Monday, 15 July 2019

Pet of the month hall of fame -Max

Max is our brave pet of the month after a dog attack left him with a nasty injury. 

Vet Celia was on duty when she received a telephone call from Max's concerned owners and arranged  to immediately see him. It was apparent that he'd sustained a large wound on his back. Celia assessed Max's condition by firstly evaluating his airway, breathing and circulation. She listened to his heart and lungs and checked his limbs and abdomen for signs of trauma. Although Max had received nasty bite wounds to the skin and soft tissue layers, they had not damaged any vital structures in his neck or chest and his condition was stable. Celia clipped the large wound on his back and discovered that Max also had some smaller puncture wounds. The puncture holes on the skin are often only a small portion of the significant damage that may have occurred to the muscles and tissues underneath the skin. Max would need to be monitored for further signs of swelling and bruising. Celia cleaned and flushed the wounds and prescribed Max some pain relief medication and antibiotics. Because a dog's mouth is full of bacteria, a bite  can introduce infection into the wound and underlying tissue. With the risk of infection high, Celia decided to initially treat the wound as open (not stitched). This allows any infection to clear before deciding if surgery is required to close the wound. Max's owners bathed his wounds at home and gave him his antibiotics as instructed by Celia, but at his check up a couple of days later, Celia was concerned about some swelling under the skin. She suspected that the infection was progressing so she introduced a combination of different antibiotics to help fight it. 

After another few days, Celia assessed Max's wounds again and at this stage she could see that some of the skin tissues were beginning to die. Necrosis (tissue cell death) can occur after a serious injury or infection. Despite this, there was also some promising progress. Max's owners had done a wonderful job of cleaning his wounds and giving him his medication and Celia could now see some healthier underlying tissue developing. The infective discharge had cleared up. The next step was for Celia to give Max a general anaesthetic so that she could surgically repair the wounds. 

Celia needed to remove the necrotic, damaged tissue and assess the remaining tissue health - a procedure called debridement. An area of dead space can form with these types of wounds. This is where the skin is pulled away from the underlying tissue creating a space in which fluid can accumulate under the skin. Celia inserted a drain; a latex rubber tube that allows fluid to drain out of the wound. Celia then closed the healthy wound edges together using walking sutures, a stitching technique that helps to reduce tension of the skin.

Max recovered well from the general anaesthetic and was allowed home the same evening. Unfortunately the drain came out so we needed to observe the wound for signs of swelling that could indicate the formation of a seroma. A seroma is fluid (serum) that has accumulated in a dead space in the tissue. It is the product of tissue inflammation and the body's defence mechanisms.

Max's owners did really well to keep him rested and his wound clean whilst it healed .After ten days, Celia was very pleased with how well Max's wound had healed and removed his stitches. However, she could see that the area looked puffy. With no signs of infection, Celia diagnosed a seroma. She opted to leave it alone rather than intervene as often the body will slowly reabsorb the fluid and it will eventually shrink and disappear.
Max was kept quiet and rested for a further 10 days and his owners ensured that he remained bright and comfortable.

After another 10 days, Celia checked Max. It was brilliant news -  she was able to sign him off as his wound had completely healed! Max had really missed his walks and it was great that he could now start to enjoy them again. 
After six weeks of treatment, we are so happy to see that Max has recovered.

For his patience and bravery, this lovely boy is our much deserved pet of the month! 

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Rabbit awareness at Arden House!

We are supporting rabbit awareness week by offering a whole month of free rabbit checks with a vet between Monday 3rd June - Saturday 29th June!
πŸ‡Please call and book an appointment! πŸ‡

This year's Rabbit Awareness Week theme is 'Protect and Prevent' raising awareness around Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 2 (RVHD2).

Rabbits are normally vaccinated annually against two diseases, myxomatosis and rabbit viral haemorrhagic disease ( RVHD1).

RVHD2 is a new variant of the RVHD1 virus which causes internal bleeding and like RVHD1 is often fatal. 

Therefore, the best way to protect your rabbits is to vaccinate them! 
We recommend that rabbits are vaccinated against myxomatosis- RVHD1 followed by an additional vaccine for RVHD2,  given two weeks later. 
🌟 To help try and get more bunnies vaccinated against RVHD2, we have a 20% discount on this vaccine throughout June ( cost £24.00). 🌟

Examining your rabbit;

Your bunny's wellness visit will start with one of our vets asking you questions about diet, behaviour, past medical problems. This is also the time you will be asked if there are any new problems that have arisen, concerns, or questions you may have. All of this information will be entered into your pet's digital medical record.
After all of your questions have been answered, the physical exam will start. The vet will look at the following things:

  • Teeth - Do the front teeth meet correctly? Are they overgrown?  Are the teeth being effectively worn down by chewing? Using an otoscope with a long speculum, the molars (back teeth) will be checked for sharp points called spurs.The vet will also check the lips for any sores, abrasions, drooling, or swelling.
  • Eyes - Are the eyes bright and without discharge? They will be checked for signs of swelling, infection, or tear duct obstruction.
  • Nose - Is the nose clear of discharge? Are there any signs of breathing problems ( wheezing, coughing , sneezing)? 
  • Ears - Are the ears clean and healthy? If there is ear debris, it will be checked for mites, yeast, or bacteria. The ear will be swabbed and the material examined under a microscope.
  • Skin and coat - Is the coat clean and glossy? Are there any patches of hair loss dandruff or inflamed skin? Is the rabbit itchy? Are there any lumps or bumps? Are the nails too long? 
  • Heart and lungs - is the rabbit's heart rate and rhythm normal? What is the breathing rate? Using a stethoscope, your rabbit's heart and lungs will be listened to. 
  • Bottom check - Is the rear end clean, dry and free from faeces? 
  • Abdomen - The vet will feel the abdomen to evaluate size and shape of internal organs. Are there any signs of pain or discomfort? 
  • Weight - What is the rabbits body condition score ? Are they a healthy weight for their size and breed? 

Rabbit awareness week (RAW) presents a great opportunity to learn more about rabbits and how to correctly care for them. The following link provides some great information on all aspects of rabbit care and rabbit health. Do also contact our veterinary team here at Arden House who will be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Please note;
Your bunny should be seen urgently by a vet if they haven't eaten in the last 12 hours.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Pet of the month hall of fame - Ollie ( Feb 2019)

Our February pet of the month is the rather brave and lovely Ollie ( Age 9 years 9 mths).

Ollie's owner ( vet Louise's mum!), noticed a swelling on Ollie's left thigh, so she promptly brought him in to see Louise. Louise identified a soft oval mass that appeared to be attached to underlying tissue. The first step was to identify what the mass was, so Louise carried out a simple test called a fine needle aspirate. This involves using a needle and syringe to suck out a few cells that are then put onto a glass slide. The slide was sent to a laboratory where a pathologist examined them under a microscope in order to identify the cells. Sometimes a further biopsy is required if the results are inconclusive, but in Ollie's case the test was diagnostic and revealed that the mass was a soft tissue sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcomas are very invasive into the surrounding normal tissue and the tumour is usually larger than what is visible or felt. Ollie required an operation to remove the tumour. The aim of the surgery was to achieve complete removal of the tumour with clear surgical margins.

The area near his hip where the lump was located, has less spare skin, which can make the surgery more challenging. Greyhounds are also naturally thin skinned and this can make them more prone to problematic wound closure. 
Because the surgery was to be extensive, Louise referred Ollie to a soft tissue specialist. 
Ollie's operation went well; the first stage was to remove the tumour, before the surgeon used a skin flap technique to close the large remaining wound.This was the best option for bringing the wound edges together under the least amount of tension. Post operatively, Ollie spent a few days in hospital at the referral centre. He was a good boy, apart from when he managed to take his buster collar off and nibble at a stitch! The nibbled stitch was at the tip of the flap that had the worst blood supply, so there was already a concern that this part of the wound might not hold together. 
Ollie was allowed home on strict rest, but on day three of being home, Ollie decided to have a roll around on the floor and the wound opened up further (wound picture1). Louise spoke to the specialist and it was decided that the best course of action was to attempt to re-close the wound. Louise carried out the procedure.With Ollie anaesthetised, she flushed the wound and closed it using special tension relieving stitches called walking sutures.For Ollie's wound to have the best chance of healing he needed to be kept quiet and rested, so he was to spend the next 10 - 14 days in hospital.Ollie was given pain relief medication to help keep him comfortable as well as antibiotics. He also had to wear a buster collar again so that he couldn't lick the area. The nurse's gave him lots of cuddles as he was understandably feeling rather sorry for himself.Ollie's wound was monitored closely; it was beginning to heal, apart from the one problem area at the top of the wound. Senior nurse Dayna recommended daily dressings using medical grade manuka honey that supports the healing process (wound picture 2). He was such a brave boy as it must have been sore having it dressed. 

The area on Ollie's thigh was difficult to bandage, so to help keep the dressing in place, he wore a special body bandage. Ollie was doing well and his wound was looking better, when he unfortunately suffered a set back.
Ollie managed to remove the buster collar and body bandage that he'd been comfortably wearing, licked the wound and opened it up again!
Ollie was referred back to the specialist centre and he was admitted to the hospital for open wound management.They attached his buster collar to a special harness so that he couldn't get it off.

Although his wound was looking healthy, it was taking a long time to heal, so the decision was made to perform punch skin grafts. To do this, Ollie was given a general anaesthetic. An area on his abdomen was clipped and cleaned to allow the surgeon to remove small pieces of circular skin from the site. He then placed them into the granulation tissue ( healing tissue) of the wound. It was hoped that the majority of the punched biopsies would 'take' allowing new skin to build between them (epithelialisation).Ollie recovered well from the procedure and continued with strict cage rest. Three weeks later Ollie was allowed home from hospital. Louise continued to dress the wound every three days. Healthy pink epithelial tissue formed ( wound picture 3) and finally his wound healed (wound picture 4).There is no fur on the skin over the grafted areas as it came from the hairless skin on his tummy!

Following analysis of the tumour at the laboratory, the results were encouraging. The surgeon had managed to remove the whole tumour and immunohistochemistry testing gave it a low grade result.There is a low chance of recurrence so to be on the safe side we will monitor Ollie regularly. 

 It's been a long road to recovery and we are so pleased to see that Ollie is his happy self again and enjoying his most favourite thing - walks with his friend, Nigel the Whippet!

For his patience and bravery, Ollie is our much deserved pet of the month!