Problems with the anal glands can be an on-going issue for some pets, so why is this?

The anal glands are located at 3 and 9 o’clock to your dog’s anus and contain a uniquely scented fluid that is excreted when your dog poops.  It is excreted naturally when your dog’s stools are firm enough to allow for a wide expansion of the anus which helps to squeeze the fluid from the anal glands.  The anal gland fluid is used to mark your dog’s territory in the same way as their urine.

Diet is key in most cases as without enough fibre, stools become too soft to force the fluid from the glands.  The fluid then sits in the glands, develops a foul odour and can lead to chronic infection and abscess.

Some breeds of dog are more prone to this condition than others and require their glands to be manually expressed on a regular basis.   Your dog may show symptoms such as biting their rear end, dragging their bottoms along a carpet or rug, commonly known as “scooting” or you may become aware of an unpleasant odour coming from your dog.

Manual expression of the glands removes the fluid to reduce the chance of infection and the potential for an abscess to form.  We can show owners how to do this to save on time AND money but if it’s not for you, call and book in and we can do the deed for you and provide help and guidance on how to try to improve the issue for your dog.


Anal Gland Location

Cats can be complex and sensitive creatures who become stressed by lifestyle or social changes within their environment.  This can put them under pressure and as part of their nature, are not equipped or genetically designed to express their concerns as this makes them appear vulnerable which isn’t historically a great survival skill in the wild!  So as not to appear vulnerable, they can display what appears to us as some very odd and challenging behaviour as a result.  One day “Fluffy” can be happily living their life and then BOOM something that doesn’t even register on the human radar makes them turn into what appears to be a naughty and badly behaved cat.

The first sign that there might be an issue is varied and the reasons why are equally  varied.  A previously litter trained cat might start to urinate or “spray” or start soiling inside the house.  They might start behaving aggressively towards their human carers.  Whatever the behaviour or the reason, we have a process at Rowan that can help to try to identify the issue (or issues), and work with owners towards resolving them if we can.  We’ve had some great success stories!!!

Hayley Winston, RVN,  works closely with clients and their cats and offers complimentary support.  She has developed a behaviour questionnaire  which is the first step in the process of helping to identify why your cat is not behaving as usual.  Once the questionnaire has been received there is then a telephone consultation with Hayley who will try to dig a little deeper into the life of your cat and understand their environment and homelife and make some initial recommendations based on this.

Sometimes  there is a clear indication that a health problem , such as a urine infection, is the cause.  In these cases your cat would then be referred to a vet who would recommend an appropriate treatment programme.  However, quite often with a few small changes to the household environment, these annoying behaviours can be slowly decreased and disappear altogether because the cause of the cat’s stress has been removed; the key is finding out what that stressor is and that can be the most difficult part!

This can be a long and slow process but has been very successful so if you are having any behaviour issues with your cat, download a copy of the questionnaire here and start the process with Hayley.


Betty Cat 1

Safe Toys

11 Jul 2018

Sometimes accidents happen and it’s not always possible to foresee every consequence of our actions, but there is one way in which you can avoid a particular accident when looking after a pet.

An injury that we see often here at Rowan is a stick injury.  Throwing a stick for your dog to fetch seems like a harmless activity and owners have been doing it for many years; our canine friends certainly do enjoy the game!  However, if the stick lands badly or your dog tries to retrieve it mid-air, this innocent “toy” can become a spear and cause horrible injuries to the mouth and/or face of your dog.

For a fraction of the cost of any treatment needed for a stick injury, consider buying your dog a safer “safestix” alternative.  They come in different sizes and colours and are readily available both here at Rowan and in many other pet stores.  They are usually a pretty robust toy too so even for the more accomplished chewers out there (and we know there are some amazing ones), this safer alternative could be a wise investment.



Animals, like human babies, are born with soft cartilage instead of hard bone to allow for their growth.  In most cases a good diet and appropriate exercise and care will see your beloved fur baby grow into a strong and healthy adult.

However, sometimes your pet might develop a limp or other sign that there is something wrong with their joints or muscle.  There are several reasons why an animal might start to limp so it’s not always easy to identify the cause.

Some pets  can suffer from bone, joint or muscular issues  either as a result of injury, poor diet or genetics.

Some breeds of dog can be more prone to joint problems due to their size such as Great Danes.  Hip dysplasia is a common problem in large breeds of dog when the thigh bone (femur) does not fit into the hip socket properly and eventually leads to arthritis.  A luxating patella  is more common in small toy breeds where the kneecap “dislocates” from the normal groove in the thigh bone.  It can sometimes lead to further damage to the cruciate ligament.  In both cases, this can be a painful condition for the dog with lameness being almost a constant visual sign that something is wrong.

Cats can also  suffer from a muscle disorder as a result of an excess of unsaturated fat and Vitamin E in their diet.  They can also suffer from muscle weakness through a lack of potassium.

Through a process of elimination, a condition can be diagnosed and either treated very simply with pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication and rest, a diet change, right through to an x-ray and surgery.

We have several ways of identifying and managing any issues so if you have concerns call 01772 369800.


Hip Displasia XrayLuxating Patella Xray


6 Jul 2018

Tomorrow is #worldchocolateday which is GREAT for humans but not so much for our pets.

If you have any concerns that your pet may have ingested anything they shouldn’t have, you can either contact the VPIS on the owner’s hotline on 01202 509000, visit their website at or call us on 01772 639800.   vpis-circular-logo-rgb1

Download our leaflet here for further help and advice.


Here is our second newsletter of 2018 which you can download here.  We hope you find it informative and if there’s anything you’d like to see in the future, let us know.


Cartoon Summer Hot Sun

Cartoon Summer Hot Sun

It can sometimes be very difficult to know what is wrong with our pets.  Pets can’t talk to us so we have to try and work out what might be wrong with them using a combination of approaches.  We can do this by asking an owner if their pet is showing any symptoms such as not eating or drinking or appearing more lethargic than normal.  We can also get some really useful information by testing blood, urine or stool samples.  In most cases these alone will help the vet to understand what is happening and be able to recommend an appropriate course of treatment.

Sometimes, however, health issues can be much more complicated to diagnose.  In these cases we need to use our technologically advanced equipment to know what’s going on inside a patient before a treatment plan can be recommended.

Technology is always moving forward and improving so we are very excited to share with you a recent purchase of a brand new ultra-sound scanner which replaces an older machine.  As some of you may be aware, Francis and Lottie have been developing their skills  in this particular area over the last year or so, using the old machine.  They have now received training on the new machine and are both really happy and impressed with how it will continue to improve their skills but also benefit the patients they treat now and in the future.


New Ultra Sound Scanner 1New Ultra Sound Scanner 5

Skin Issues in Pets

2 Jul 2018

Now your pet is growing into adulthood, the focus on their healthcare might change.  As an owner  you will continue to meet their routine daily and preventative needs such as vaccination, parasite treatments, dental care and grooming etc but for some, the development of a short or long term chronic condition is a reality.

As you know, animals generally do not live as long as humans so their experience of health conditions is  concentrated into a shorter period of time.  They do suffer from very similar conditions to us humans.  Conditions such as arthritis, allergies, skin infections and heart murmurs  are seen regularly in pets and the diagnostic and treatment options can be very similar to or,  in some cases, the exact same as those used in human medicine.   These conditions can seem like they appear from no-where but our pets age much more quickly than us so we need to keep in mind that they will begin to show signs of ageing “earlier” than us as well as being affected by other inherited or breed related issues more readily.

We are going to take a look at skin conditions that are seen regularly here at Rowan in all species of pet.  Laura, one our vets, has spent the last two years studying a Certificate in Small Animal Dermatology.  She has used this learning to improve the work she does with the sometimes VERY complex and uncomfortable skin issues that affect pets.

Take a look at Laura’s Q&A Blog HERE and visit our YouTube channel to see Laura in action using the microscope in our laboratory.

Microscope 2

Weight & Diet

29 Jun 2018

Something that owners sometimes struggle with is their pet’s weight.  There are a few reasons why your pet might be overweight but one is that their dietary needs after being neutered can change so an adjustment to their food might be needed.  Dietary needs change throughout a pets life so it’s worth having a conversation with a vet or RVN for advice.

We also love our pets SO much we sometimes kill them with kindness, offering them little treats here and there.  These soon mount up and what looks like a reasonable amount of food to us, is quite a substantial amount to them.  Take a look at the human food equivalents for comparison.  I think you’ll be quite shocked!

Extra weight can cause additional long-term health issues for your pet, such as arthritis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to name just a few.

If you struggle with your pet’s weight or just want some general advice on diet and exercise, call to book your complimentary consultation with one of our RVNs who can help answer your questions and get you on a plan that will put your pet back on track.

Signs of overweight in a CatSigns of overweight in a Dog

Cat Treat and Human Food Calorie ComparisonDog Treat and Human Food Calorie Comparison

Tableting your Pet.

27 Jun 2018

Today we are going to offer some tips on how to give your pet a tablet.  Whether this is preventative medication or for a specific illness, this can be a tricky issue for owners.  What tips do you have to share that might help others who struggle?

There are tools available that can help tablet your pet but generally it’s down to practice, trial and error.

Download our Top 10 Tips for medicating your pet here.

Pill Giver