Emily Ashdown RVN, A Dip Physio, ISFMCert, MIAAT,MBVNA,MRAMP is a registered veterinary nurse, canine rehabilitation therapist and animal physiotherapist who has been involved in the animal industry since she was 16 years old. Emily initially worked in a rescue kennels, before going on to study her veterinary nursing qualifications. She has experience working in a range of veterinary practices including out of hours emergency clinics and charity hospitals and she also holds a certificate in feline nursing.
Emily has always had a passion for animal rehabilitation and particularly in the care of arthritic dogs. Emily now works as a product specialist for Companion Animal Health as well as running Worcestershire Animal Therapy – a mobile therapy service specializing in physiotherapy and laser therapy treatment. Emily is also a member of the British Veterinary Nursing Association and the International Association of Animal Therapists.
Emily kindly took some time to answer some questions from us on managing canine arthritis.
What are your feelings on how we currently manage this common debilitating condition in dogs?
As an owner and a professional within the veterinary industry I really feel that more should be done for our arthritic pets. All too frequently I hear the same ‘oh they are just getting old’ it should not have to be that way when there are so many options out there for these pets.
As a veterinary professional what do you feel is essential for managing canine arthritis effectively?
A multi-modal approach is necessary when treating arthritic patients. No one thing should be relied on as the condition is constantly changing and what may have been okay at the start will not necessarily be okay a year down the line. Also, being aware that patient’s will always have good and bad days, it’s how we manage the bad days and not to overdo it on the good days that makes all the difference.
How do you see treatment options for arthritis progressing over the next ten years?
I would love to see less animals euthanised early because their joints gave up. I would also love to see more owners taking more interest in keeping their elderly pets as comfortable as possible and looking at all the options that are available and not just medication. Equally I would also like to see the Veterinary profession to be more accepting of complementary therapies and choose to be educated in these other methods and not choose to overlook them.
If you could have had the opportunity to give one tip/ piece of advice to an owner with a dog suffering from arthritis what would it be?
Routine, routine, routine everything about managing arthritis is about building a routine and not becoming disheartened when a new therapy may take some time to see any big improvements. Equally if one thing does not seem to be working then don’t give up keep trying various treatment’s until you find what suits your pet!