CAM blogs

CAM Meets: Gwen Covey-Crump

After graduating in 2001 Gwen spent 3 years in small animal practice before commencing a residency in Veterinary Anaesthesia at the University of Bristol in 2004. After completion she spent 1 year in clinical anaesthesia practice at the Queen’s Veterinary Hospital, University of Cambridge, returning to Bristol as the team lead Clinical Anaesthetist for the newly formed Langford Veterinary Services (University of Bristol School of Veterinary Sciences teaching hospital) in 2009. She obtained the European Diploma in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia in 2012.

As the lead clinical Specialist of the Small Animal Rehabilitation and Pain Management Service at Langford Vets, Gwen now focuses her energies working alongside physiotherapists and collaborating with specialist colleagues in surgery, neurology and medicine.

She has a particular interest in established and emerging non-pharmacological therapies for pain. Other interests include comparative medicine, patient safety and clinical effectiveness. Gwen sits on council for the Comparative Medicine Network of the Royal Society of Medicine.


What are your feelings on how we currently manage arthritis in dogs?

In general practice we mainly ‘firefight’ this condition, in that we treat it once it has become bad enough for the client to notice lameness or a reduction in quality of life. We are no-where near managing the condition from an early stage in order to delay progression and this requires vet and owner education. Vets now have a good range of licensed NSAID medications available but are poorly equipped to treat beyond this. Understanding and use of the non-medication related management options is not widespread.


As a specialist in pain management what do you feel is essential for managing canine arthritis effectively?

Recognition of pain and a means to score chronic pain and response to treatment. Owner engagement. Maintaining lean body weight. Good nutrition. Exercise management. Modifications to the home to prevent injury.


You are one of a number of vets passionately promoting the essential need of including physical therapy and rehabilitation programmes in managing arthritis, and getting very promising results. What advice would you give to owners that would like to consider this as a treatment option for their own dog?

It requires dedication, with time and effort in the early stages you will see great results and form a closer bond with your dog who is also able to enjoy life more. In time the effort required and cost involved should moderate.


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

I hope referrals to physiotherapy and rehabilitation clinics will increase as vets discover their worth, and understanding of this condition will become more widespread.

Social media has great potential for informing the pet owning public who are the ultimate drivers of change. Emerging therapies such as essential fatty acids, platelet rich plasma (PRP) and autologous conditioned serum (ACS) joint therapies, will achieve more evidence base and therefore become more widespread.

New targets in the human field will take time to filter down but include drugs which inhibit the degradation of collagen and induction of nitric oxide synthase, bone remodelling, cytokine inhibition, anti-nerve growth factor and re-purposed drugs to manage OA pain.


Gwen Covey-Crump. BVetMed, CertVA, Dip.ECVAA, MRCVS.
RCVS Recognised and European Specialist in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
Clinical Anaesthesia and Pain Management
Langford Vets