Vet Hannah Capon truly understands the unique and enviable bond that we share with our canine companions. Sixteen years of life spent with her beautiful Border Collie, Holly, at her heels mean she is fully aware of the heart wrenching sadness that comes with the realisation that they are ageing so much faster than we are. With improved preventative healthcare and better nutrition, our dogs are hitting old age more frequently than ever before, and with that comes a new set of challenges - age related disease.
Arthritis is a household name. A debilitating, painful disease, it cripples and destroys people's ambition and independence. The long term, constant pain has a huge impact on both the physical and mental health of the sufferer. This happens to our dogs too.....
In fact, 80% of dogs over the age of 8 suffer with arthritis and 20% of all dogs over the age of just 2. Quality of life and mobility concerned with arthritis is one of the major causes of elective euthanasia of dogs. As a vet, Hannah is only too aware of this. In simple terms, ARTHRITIS KILLS. Most dog owners want their faithful friend to remain by their side for as long as possible. Many will accept their dog "slowing down" and "just getting old" as reasons for changes in their canine's mobility and behaviour, rather than being aware of the silent suffering their dog is enduring. This innocent naivety needs to be highlighted and addressed in order to manage this disease effectively. When an owner learns that their dog has a debilitating, painful condition, it can often in their minds signal the beginning of the end - but it doesn't HAVE to be that way. Here at CAM we believe it is just the beginning of a new direction.
Canine Arthritis Management (CAM) is here to help. Hannah and her team have created a free online resource that can help to educate millions of dog owners to identify the signs of arthritis in their dog, to manage it earlier and return the years of loyalty by understanding chronic pain and thus taking steps to alleviate it. Through education and management less dogs will suffer silently, slowly losing the fight against chronic pain. Instead of these dogs being euthanased because they can no longer walk, they will have had their condition identified sooner and actions will be in place ensuring the disease is slowed.
Our website has been up and running for over a year now and we are seeing a heavy footfall taking full advantage of our advice, hints and tips. Our social media presence is ever-growing, with over 10,000 followers on our main page! We pride ourselves on our mix of responses to any post, where you will find opinions from highly specialised veterinary surgeons, GP vets, veterinary nurses, therapists and the dog owning public alike; meaning you can always rely on an informed and balanced point of view.
Another Facebook group is Holly's Army, which has a real sense of community of owners of arthritic dogs, sharing their stories and tips for management. The camaraderie, respect and kindness shown within Holly's Army is a joy to behold, particularly when a diagnosis of arthritis suddenly seems a very lonely place for many owners.
We have also launched CAM Foundation, a forum where you can ask any arthritis related question you like, from recommendations of dog buggies to stem cell therapy! The forum is manned daily by our veterinary led, diverse team, meaning you will always get a reliable, professional answer and can post your own experiences if you so wish.
Our very own short film; "In Silence", starring Holly herself has been widely shared and viewed from our Facebook page over 100,000 times, and is used online, for education purposes and in veterinary practice waiting rooms. We understand that veterinary surgeons are on time constraints with consultations, so we have designed business cards that are available to be handed to clients to ensure busy first opinion appointments don't have to neglect essential information - the owner can be sent away to look at our website, with the vet safe in the knowledge the owner has reputable, professional advice at their fingertips and will come back for follow-up appointments with the adequate tools to assess their dog's progress and response to treatment. CAM is proud to be endorsed by the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management, who advocate for the best practices in the treatment of animals in pain.
We have achieved so much, so far. However in order to grow and reach even more owners, and thus help even more of those precious golden oldies, and sadly those diagnosed with arthritis at a much younger age - WE NEED YOU!
Canine Arthritis Management is a small initiative with gigantic plans. It is fuelled by the love of dogs and the recognition of that incredible bond. Hannah and her team have invested a bucketful of passion, time and personal funds into CAM so far, but we need help to aid our mission to improve the quality of life of dogs across the globe.
We are making a small income from our online shop, where you can find items such as arthritis awareness leads and bandanas, t-shirts and literature for vet practice waiting rooms, as well as products from other companies that we fully endorse. However, if we have been able to help you and your dog in any way at all, then just a small donation would be gratefully received and will allow us to keep the wheels rolling!
If you are able to donate, to help us to help them, we would be entirely gracious.www.caninearthritis.co.uk