CAM blogs

CAM Meets Ian Gibbs

Ian Gibbs BVSc Cert SAS MRCVS
Ian qualified from Bristol University in 1999 and has over 20 years experience in small animal medicine.

In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Certificate in Small Animal Surgery and has previously been recognised as an Advanced Veterinary Practitioner. He has enjoyed a varied career from the busy charity hospitals of the PDSA, right through to the super-posh referral centres. Ian currently runs Wave Vets – a mobile small animal out-patient service in Cornwall.


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

Too many people just think dogs slow down because they are older. Often with that age there is progressive joint disease which can be overlooked but if managed, could allow pets increased mobility and a better quality of life. Owners will often look to joint supplements, however the scientific evidence, initially positive in the 1980s has become more negative as to the benefits in more recent decades.


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

Non steroidal anti-inflammatories are the mainstay of any arthritis regime. However, the use of these must be carefully monitored as they can exacerbate other conditions if given unchecked. The use of analgesia allows improved mobility, improved quality of life and may aid further weight loss as patients are able to exercise more.

Weight control is another major factor – less body mass equals less pressure on the joints, easing mobility.


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

Non-steroidal drugs are becoming more selective in their targeting and so newer generations have less risk of other organ compromises. It will be interesting to see if stem cell therapy can slow degenerative processes and surgical advancement such as joint replacements of elbows and knees will hopefully progress to success rates similar to those of hips (90%).


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?

Analgesia, analgesia, analgesia


Home visits:

Osteoarthritis, whilst a disease that affects all species more noticeably it affects larger animals with heavier body masses. It can sometime be challenging  for owners to safely mobilise animals into cars , up and down steps  and across slippery waiting room floors. Having the option of a mobile service can often result in lower stress and a reduced chance of exacerbating these underlying health conditions for pet and owner alike.