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CAM Meets Dr Sarah Heath

Dr Sarah Heath, Veterinary Behaviourist

Sarah Heath  BVSc, DECAWBM, CCAB, MRCVS qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Bristol University in 1988.  She spent four years in a mixed general practice before setting up  Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice in 1992.

As an honorary lecturer in Behavioural Medicine within the faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool, Sarah is responsible for the behavioural medicine curriculum for undergraduate veterinary students.

Dr Heath has published a number of books and regularly contributes to veterinary publications on  behavioural topics. She also became the first veterinary member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors in 1990.

In 2001 Sarah was awarded the Melton Award by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) for meritorious contributions to small animal practice.  In 2002 was awarded the Vetlink Award for outstanding service to the Veterinary Nursing Profession.

Sarah was a founding member of the BSAVA affiliated Companion Animal Behaviour Therapy Study Group and is the co-founder of the International Veterinary Behaviour Meeting.

In 2002 Sarah became a Founding Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine.  She is a European Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine (Companion Animals).

Sarah has a special interest in the interplay between behaviour and physical illness in dogs and cats and particularly in the role of pain. She lectures extensively at home and abroad on veterinary behavioural topics.


Sarah kindly agreed to answer some questions for CAM:

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

All too often this condition is left untreated or humans assume that they can accurately assess when the dog needs pain relief.


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

An appreciation that pain is an emotional as well as a physical thing and that it is always what the patient says it is.


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

I hope there will be an increase in understanding and more emphasis on physical therapy combined with medication.


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

Do not let them suffer – ask your vet to do something proactive.


Dr Sarah Heath
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