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CAM Meets Danielle Beal-Harris

Danielle Beal-Harris is a Registered Veterinary Nurse currently based in a mixed animal practice in Mosgiel, Dunedin, New Zealand. Danielle has a Diploma in Veterinary Nursing and currently furthering her studies within the field of physiotherapy. She has always wanted to work with animals and has a passion to learn more about Physiotherapy and hydrotherapy, so she can help provide relief and comfort for elderly, orthopaedic or arthritic patients. Danielle started running nurse osteoarthritis consults at the end of January and is very proud of how this service is growing. Her aim is to  focus more of her nursing skills on the rehabilitation of dogs following orthopaedic surgery and on dogs with arthritis. Danielle’s goal is to be able to offer this service for more patients with a focus towards working dogs with arthritis.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of CAM and the amazing resources for clinics and owners”


Danielle kindly agreed to answer the following questions:

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

It can be a big topic to cover and a lot of information for owners to take in. I find that not enough time is given in consults to fully explain to owners what arthritis is and how we can help their dog. Most people will think it is the end for the pet and often this is unfortunately the easiest option for some. It is great to see more canine rehabilitation centres being set up here in New Zealand and more being done by owners and vet clinics to help arthritic dogs, but we do still have a long way to come. An area I am very passionate about is working dog’s in New Zealand. These dogs are often overlooked when it comes to arthritis so to be able to give them better care would be fantastic as farmers are paying more and more for a good working dog.


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

Owner education and understanding! Without this it is harder to get the information across if they don’t understand and I feel it is our responsibility to help educate these owners on how to effectively manage arthritis in their dog. I also think regular check ins with the client and their pet is also very beneficial and then they might be more comfortable asking questions. I feel farmers also need to be educated around arthritis prevention and management as their dogs are worked hard every day and are heavily relied on. I believe more time is needed to get this information across to farmers and being able to go out to their properties to see their dogs will be very beneficial.


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

I think it will continue to progress, as already in the last couple years in New Zealand more animal physiotherapists/hydrotherapy places have popped up and with more information available to owners, I believe this is a good thing and a good step in the right direct. I would like to see more nurses in vet clinics offer nursing consults around canine arthritis and in rural practices to go out on farm to help farmers understand the importance of looking after their working dog and help them adapt kennels etc and start early prevention of arthritis. Young shepherds have already started doing better for their working dogs and are able to see a huge difference in them so I want to be able to help them encourage their bosses/ managers to also do better. They are all willing to learn how to prevent arthritis and want to do what they can to support their best mates.


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?

Talk with your vet/vet nurses and/or a qualified animal physio to work out a plan for managing arthritis. Never be afraid to ask for a longer appointment with your vet and keep up to date with the awesome work CAM is doing and the resources they have available!