CAM blogs

CAM Meets Lynsey Tanner

Lynsey graduated from University College Dublin in 2017 with a BSc in Zoology and Animal Biology. She qualified with a PgDipVetPhys from Writtle University in 2019 and is currently working towards her MSc in Veterinary Physiotherapy to be completed in July ’20. She is  currently operating a mobile service working in Co. Wexford in the Republic of Ireland, but also runs clinic days with local vets.

In the future Lynsey hopes to achieve a certificate in Hydrotherapy and someday open up her own bricks and mortar canine rehabilitation centre.


Lynsey kindly agreed to answer the following questions:

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

While there is quite a bit on offer to owners regarding hydrotherapy, drugs and physiotherapy, it can be overwhelming for owners to know what’s best for their dog. I think one of the things holding people back is the fear of getting it wrong, but the truth is even though there are some things that will always help a dog with arthritis, sometimes trial and error is the only way to find out what is best and what cocktail of treatments work best and this isn’t always a quick or easy journey.

I think we as veterinary professionals do our utmost when it comes to treating patients and providing the owners with the knowledge needed and what they do from there on in will be the difference of an extended, comfortable life for their dog. Overall, as a professional, I think we’re doing what we can to help things. As a fellow dog owner, it saddens me to think that some owners aren’t as lucky as I am to have the knowledge I have to be able to recognise when my dog is suffering from chronic pain and to get them to a vet.


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

Since I’ve started practicing, it is my firm belief that actually, many pet owners over here (in Ireland) don’t know what it is that they need to be watching out for when it comes to getting a diagnosis for arthritis. Regardless of the current practices in place such as physiotherapy and the use of NSAIDs, CBD oils and joint supplements, without owner education being a top priority then the services we provide as veterinary professionals becomes irrelevant.

I believe it is the knowledge of dog owners which will help us as professionals to provide the necessary services that these dogs need. If owners don’t know what to look for then we must tell them. If they’re not sure how to help their dog in the home, we must advise them on small environmental changes they can implement to make things a bit easier for them.


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

I think that treatment options for arthritis should progress in the next 10 yrs. Research is always being carried out in different countries all over the world and as such the only way is up!

I hope that somewhere in the future the term ‘veterinary/animal physiotherapist’ becomes a protected term which I firmly believe will have a massive impact to the public when looking for someone to work with your dog for whatever their problem may be.

Consistency is what is key to improving anything, and I think that if we keep educating owners and educating ourselves then we will hopefully get to a point where every owner out there can go into their veterinary practice and tell their vet they want their dog to be referred for physiotherapy or hydrotherapy. I believe we’re always improving on treatments and every year at different expo’s or vet shows we see new technology emerging with new research regarding cellular effects that never existed before.


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?

Do not be afraid to ask for help! The worst thing an owner can possibly do is make excuses for their dog that they’re old and that’s why they’re stiff, sore or can no longer do the things they used to. While a physiotherapy appointment may cost you at the time, you can make it an invaluable experience by ensuring you ask as many questions as you can while you have the attention of a professional. Many physiotherapists I’ve spoken to along with myself actually offer their clients phone consultations which can be very helpful if you’re just looking for a few tips that you could do at home, between appointments, without actually going to a clinic.  It is our responsibility to our dogs to keep educating ourselves so that they can be comfortable for as long as possible.

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