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CAM Meets Dr Clare Rusbridge

Dr Clare Rusbridge  BVMS PhD DipECVN MRCVS

Dr Rusbridge graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1991 and subsequently completed a BSAVA/Petsavers Residency and was Staff Clinician in Neurology at the Royal Veterinary College. In

She became a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Neurology in 1996 and a RCVS Specialist in 1999. In 2007 she was awarded a PhD from Utrecht University for her thesis on Chiari-like malformation & Syringomyelia – a painful disease occurring in some toy breed dogs.

For 16 years she operated a neurology and neurosurgery referral service at the Stone Lion Veterinary Hospital in Wimbledon. In September 2013 she joined Fitzpatrick Referrals and the University of Surrey. Her professional interests include epilepsy, neuropathic pain, inherited diseases, and rehabilitation following spinal injury.

Dr Rusbridge was awarded the J. A. Wright (a.k.a. James Herriot) Memorial Award by The Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity in 2011 for her work with syringomyelia, in 2014 she received the FECVA award for best original paper also on syringomyelia and in 2016 she was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for meritorious contribution to knowledge.

She has authored or co-authored over 90 scientific papers and articles, contributed to several veterinary textbooks and has edited a medical textbook on syringomyelia.


Dr Rusbridge kindly agreed to answer the following questions:

What are your thoughts on how we currently manage arthritis?

As a society there is a tendency “normalise” osteoarthritis. We expect older animals to be stiff and less mobile and sometimes this can mean that we are less inclined to provide analgesia and other supportive care. However there are many options including safer drugs, nutraceuticals and complementary therapy which means that our elderly companions can enjoy a good quality of life for longer.


What do you feel the future holds for managing arthritis in dogs?

The area of regenerative medicine is particularly exciting. It would be wonderful to be able to  repair the joint rather than giving long term pain killers with the disease slowly and inevitably  progressing. It is still a “watch this space and wait for long term proof ” but I hope that in 20 years we will have a very different way of managing this disease.


If you could give one piece of advice to an owner on how to manage this disease what would it be?

  1.  It is oft repeated and hard to achieve but keep your dog an optimal weight.
  2.  Before buying a dog research the breeders – are they screening for the preventable diseases that they should?
  3.  Feed a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acid.
  4.  Make the environment friendly for an older animal e.g. non slip flooring
  5.  Keep them as mobile as possible – learn how to do simple physical therapy and give short walks often.


Clare Rusbridge BVMS PhD DECVN FRCVS
Reader in Veterinary Neurology
School of Veterinary Medicine
Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences
Vet School Main Building (VSM),
Daphne Jackson Road, Guildford, Surrey
GU2 7AL, United Kingdom

+44 (0)1483 683882