CAM blogs

CAM Meets: Dr Patrick Burns

After qualifying  from The University of Queensland, Australia, Patrick worked in an emergency referral practice for five years. In 1997, Patrick obtained his first membership from the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in emergency medicine and critical care and moved into a clinical teaching role. After completing his second membership level examination, this time in anaesthesia (2001), Patrick’s  colleagues convinced him to apply for a residency in veterinary anaesthesia.

In 2002, Patrick was accepted into an anaesthesia and critical care residency at the University of Pennsylvania. His first professorial post was at the North Carolina State University as an assistant professor. Following an opportunity of a lifetime for Patrick and his wife they began their careers anew at The Ohio State University. It was here that Patrick developed his skills as a researcher in the field of translational cardiac research at the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.

From 2010 to 2015, Patrick was the chief of service at The University of Montreal where he had the opportunity to revise the anaesthesia curriculum and develop skills in teaching (in French). It was here that Patrick developed his love for videography and production of education videos.

During his term at the University of Edinburgh, he served as both the head of the anaesthesia service and Hospital Director of the Hospital for Small Animals.

In August 2017, Patrick joined the team at Langford Vets. I hope to continue developing my pedagogic skills in clinical teaching and research into the anaesthesia of exotic species, as well as developing the general awareness of the importance of monitoring during anaesthesia.


Patrick kindly agreed to answer some questions:

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

Since canine arthritis is so pernicious and pervasive amongst dogs, it is difficult for both owners and veterinarians to appreciate both the prevalence and severity of this disease process. These subtle signs of discomfort and pain are often taken as normal or are difficult to interpret as pain. This has led to the gross underestimation of the effect canine arthritis has on the quality of life of dogs. Accurate pain recognition and selecting the most appropriate analgesic treatment is what I strive for, everyday as an anaesthetist.


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

Pain recognition and its assessment are the two most fundamental principles required for the successful treatment of canine arthritis. Without these, we are unable to identify those dogs that are suffering from this disease and how effective treatments are in modifying this disease process.


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

In the future, there will be a multitude of new approaches to the treatment of canine arthritis. Therapies will target the affected joints only and will have fewer side effects. Other therapies will target the regeneration of cartilage tissue in an attempt to return the joint back to normal again. At the same time, there will be advances in canine physiotherapy.


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?

The importance of keeping a dog ‘fit’ cannot be understated. Keeping the dog in its most appropriate weight range and maintaining muscle tone will help alleviate joint pain, thus minimising the reliance on drug therapies.


RCVS recognised specialist in veterinary anaesthesia
Lead in equine anaesthesia