CAM blogs

CAM Meets Carrie Adrian

Carrie received her BS in Biology in 1994 from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA and received her Master of Science in Physical Therapy degree from North Georgia College in 1999. She received her PhD in Canine Biomechanics, the first degree of its kind in the country, from Colorado State University, with a research focus related to motor control and the canine stifle.  She has practiced in the field of veterinary physical therapy since its inception in the U.S. and was the first licensed physical therapist practicing full time in a veterinary hospital at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver, CO.  Carrie has participated in a number of continuing education seminars on animal rehabilitation, both as a participant and lecturer since 1998 and has lectured nationally and internationally on the topic of veterinary rehabilitation and physical therapy. She is a contributor to several textbooks including Animal Physiotherapy, Canine Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy, Veterinary Clinics of North America and the Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians. She is the past Vice President for the Animal Special Interest Group within the American Physical Therapy Association.  Carrie is the Director of Rehabilitation Services for VCA Animal Hospitals based in Los Angeles, CA and directs the Physical Therapy Department at VCA Veterinary Specialists of Northern Colorado in Loveland, Colorado.


Carrie kindly agreed to answer the following questions:

What are your feelings on how we currently manage this common debilitating condition in dogs?

It depends upon whom you ask and their area of expertise. In general, DVMs focus on regenerative medicine, medications, surgery, acupuncture, etc.; hydrotherapists focus on swimming; rehabilitation practitioners primarily focus on modalities, chondroprotectants, exercise, weight management, etc.; and physical therapists focus on root causes of movement dysfunction.  Multi-modal.  That’s a word you’ll hear over and over in OA management.


As a veterinary professional what do you feel is essential for managing canine arthritis effectively?

Collaboration.  Treatment is a combination of that listed above.


How do you see treatment options for arthritis progressing over the next ten years?

Continued progress.  We’ll never eradicate this disease, but I do believe we will continue to gain a better understanding and develop effective treatments to address it.  The hope is that we’ll be able to detect it much earlier on, before it becomes more and more debilitating, allowing us to apply various interventions that research proves effective.


If you could have the opportunity to give one tip/ piece of advice to an owner with a dog suffering from arthritis what would it be?

Explore your avenues and talk to various professionals.  Find the best fit, focus and outcome for you dog.