Welcome To Acorn House Veterinary Hospital


The veterinary behaviour service at Acorn House is led by Katharine Nelson MA MSc VetMB GP Cert (SAM)  AVP MRCVS

RCVS Advanced Veterinary Practitioner in Clinical Animal Behaviour

Katharine holds the MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour from Lincoln University and has been recognised by the RCVS as an Advanced Veterinary Practitioner in this field.

Katharine is able to advise on behaviour issues in cats, dogs and rabbits. She uses a combination of applied behaviour analysis and emotion/mood/temperament assessment to diagnose and treat problem behaviours. Commonly reported behaviour problems include:

  • House soiling and urine marking (cats and dogs)
  • Aggression or reactivity towards other animals (inside and outside of the home)
  • Aggression towards familiar people within the home
  • Aggression or reactivity towards strangers inside and outside of the home
  • Barking
  • Compulsive behaviours such as tail-chasing, self-mutilation, overgrooming, pacing
  • Separation related problems
  • Noise phobias and other anxiety problems
  • Difficulties with sleeping patterns

A veterinary behaviourist is ideally placed to assist with pet behaviour problems because:

  • Many behaviour problems are caused or exacerbated by painful or medical conditions
  • Some medications for unrelated conditions may alter mood or behaviour
  • Some non-medical behaviour problems may require mood altering prescription medication as part of the treatment plan

Only a veterinary surgeon with behaviour qualifications can consider, diagnose and treat all of these components in combination. Katharine is also happy to accept referrals from non-veterinary behaviourists when assistance is required with the medical aspects of a behaviour problem.

Every behaviour problem is considered on an individual basis. The details surrounding the pet’s environment, management, previous experiences, and the exact circumstances of every episode of problem behaviour will hold the key to successful diagnosis and treatment. For all but the very simplest advice queries, this is far beyond the scope of a standard consultation appointment at the surgery. Katharine’s usual approach is:

  • For urgent cases (for example when there is an immediate safety risk for people or animals) an initial appointment can be booked at the surgery for a physical examination and immediate “behavioural first aid” advice.
  • Following this appointment, or as an initial step for non-urgent cases, please complete and return a behaviour questionnaire to Katharine at the surgery
  • Katharine will contact you after studying the questionnaire. In most cases the next step will  be to arrange a house visit so that Katharine can talk to you further, observe your pet in their own environment, accompany you and your pet outdoors if the problem occurs mostly outside of the home, and watch any video clips that you may have of the problem behaviour. Katharine will then discuss her assessment of the problem with you and go through suggested treatment / management options. You should allow 1.5 – 2 hours for this visit and it is helpful if as many of the family are present as possible.
  • Katharine will send you a written report, detailing her assessment and the treatment plan, within a few days of the house visit.
  • Katharine will be available for telephone or email support following the visit.


Standard consultation   £43.04
Extended behaviour consultation at the surgery   £57.87 (only suitable for certain, simple problems)
Behaviour visit in your home - cats   £171.87 (includes written report)
Behaviour visit in your home - dogs   £276 (includes written report)
Further blood tests, medications, etc.   Priced at standard rates


 Many insurance policies cover behavioural consultations, investigation and treatment (including both behavioural and medical aspects).

Please contact the surgery if you would like to book an appointment, request a questionnaire to fill in, or discuss things further. Of course, all of our veterinary surgeons and nurses are happy to answer routine queries regarding training, behaviour and management.


Canine behaviour questionnaire

Feline behaviour questionnaire

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Acorn House Veterinary Surgery
Linnet Way, Brickhill, Bedford, MK41 7HN
[email protected]