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CAM Meets Jon Mills

Jon Mills MA VetMB MRCVS Cert SAS

Jon qualified from the University of Cambridge in 1991. He gained the RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Surgery in 2000 and RCVS Advanced practitioner status in 2015. Jon was employed with PDSA until 2004 and has been employed as a small animal referral surgeon since then. Jon founded West Midlands Referrals with Andy in 2011. Jon is married with one son, and enjoys adventure sports. He recently gained a private pilot’s licence.


Jon kindly agreed to answer the following questions:

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

In the thirty years that I’ve been doing the job, the improvements have been huge; in 1991 we treated cruciate injury with over-the-top surgery, which had poor outcomes, and phenylbutazone which was an NSAID drug with considerable side effects. Now we’ve got a number of osteotomy and lateral retinacular suture techniques that work well with predictable outcomes, a range of modern potent NSAID drugs with less side effects, and analgesics like gabapentin, amantadine, tramadol etc.

Arthroscopy, stem cell therapy/ platelet rich plasma treatment, laser treatment, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy….   The list of developments in the last three decades is bewildering!


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

For an owner to listen to post-op exercise restriction advice, but then to effectively manage and allow return to exercise. There is little point in having joints unless you actually use them! The goal really should be getting dogs back into scampering around the park and being dogs …


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

I think the big progress is coming from arthroscopy for elbows which is then followed up with effective rehabilitation with hydrotherapy and 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?

Look to get your dog happy, active and functioning – sometimes you just have to accept a degree of lameness, but if that isn’t overly bothering them, don’t let it overly bother you!