CAM is a very new concept in veterinary medicine. It is being modelled on Arthritis Research UK, Arthritis Care etc. These are independent Non Profit Organisations that aim to educate people on how to manage their own chronic condition. Until now, nothing existed for dogs, despite the similarities in care needed.
Vet Hannah Capon noticed the disproportionate number of dogs being put to sleep due to arthritis and she decided to try to help. The chronic disease affects 80 per cent of dogs over the age of eight.
Hannah decided to take action after euthanising two arthritic dogs in just one afternoon and so CAM arrived. Hannah is also studying with the University of Tennessee Certified as a Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner and the veterinary adviser to Galen, as well as being a MRCVS registered Vet.
She began her journey by visiting owners’ homes to educate them on the steps they could take to help their pet.
Hannah explains: “Seeing dogs with healthy hearts, lungs and kidneys, but whose lives were cut short through arthritis was heart-breaking. Home visits enabled me to offer a more preventative approach. Many houses have wooden, tiled or laminate floors causing the dogs to repeatedly slip and injure themselves and because dogs don’t show pain how owners would expect, they didn’t realise they were suffering. Simple solutions are to use rugs or mats, and avoiding steps and stairs. Activities like using ball throwers make dogs very excited, they keep running and seem to be pain free, but over exercise can exacerbate the disease. Encouraging owners to look for signs of pain, which may appear as “slowing down” or “growing old” and to visit their vet armed with this information is essential. Maintaining a controlled weight is very important and is free of charge. “Being overweight dogs increases the pain they feel and reduces life expectancy.”
Hannah continues her one on one service combining advanced veterinary knowledge with a holistic approach incorporating Galen Myotherapy and rehabilitation as an additional service to what the owner receives from their own vet.
Since starting out in 2016, Hannah has helped hundreds of dogs and has created a huge website and forum dedicated to providing information and resources for owners.
She has a team of five vets, six nurses and three complementary therapists working with her on her #yourdogmoreyears campaign.
As the owner of Holly, a 15-year-old Border Collie, caring for senior dogs is something she’s passionate about and last year they walked the South Downs Way, covering 100 miles in eight days.
Hannah said: “We wanted the walk to raise awareness of the website and our work. I took a trolley for Holly to ride in when she needed a break. I wanted to show that life doesn’t stop with an old dog, it simply changes, and inspires owners to do all they can to improve the lives of senior dogs.”
CAM aims to bring together the communities of dog owners, veterinary professionals and complementary therapists and has produced its own booklet to help implement a multi-modal approach to arthritis. We can also be booked for Veterinary practice talks, public talks and home visits to support all involved in a dog’s care.
Hannah’s seven tips for Canine Arthritis
- Learn to read signs of pain
- Keep your dog at a healthy weight
- Visit your vet regularly
- Get rid of slippery floors
- Don’t over-exercise
- Make sure their bed is accessible, supportive and comfortable
- Investigate and use complementary therapies
To find out more about Canine Arthritis, visit