Help at hand for pets with emotional issues

Carolyn Danbury
Carolyn Danbury

A Morpeth-based veterinary firm is now offering a new area of expertise as it has appointed its first animal behaviourist.

Carolyn Danbury will work with domestic pets such as cats and dogs, farm animals and exotic species at Robson & Prescott’s main surgery on Whorral Bank, Morpeth, and its eight branches in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The 29-year-old, who is originally from Bearsden, near Glasgow, studied veterinary medicine at Glasgow University and also has a Masters degree in applied animal behaviour and animal welfare.

As part of her training, she spent 2011 in Indonesia helping monkeys that had been returned to the wild after being kept as pets.

“I am a standard vet as well so I will be seeing my fair share of normal cases, but vets will refer patients to me that might benefit from more specific help as there is a strong link between behaviour and pain and stress,” she said.

“The most common cases I see include cats with toileting issues, where they pee in places they shouldn’t or have trouble peeing, and dog separation anxiety, where they don’t cope with being left alone.

“Dealing with behavioural issues is a growing area of animal healthcare. People can be embarrassed to admit they have a problem with their pet’s behaviour, but the earlier they seek help the better as we can nip it in the bud.

“We can watch the animal’s body language for clues, make changes to their environment and look at medication to rebalance them.

“A lot of time is spent acting as a counsellor to the owners to help them deal with the problem as I am acting as an interpreter of their pet’s behaviour.”