Elanco Animal Health, maker of Onsior, has created a new film in collaboration with Zoe Belshaw, an RCVS and European recognised internal medicine specialist, which offers tips to help engage owners on the subject of osteoarthritis (OA) in their pet.

The company says it recognises how frustrating it can be for veterinary surgeons if the owner doesn't recognise that their dog has a painful condition. This can be compounded by short consult times, leaving vets unable to fully communicate the implications and treatment options for the disease.

In the video, Zoe encourages vets to tailor their language to each case, in particular, using the language dog owners will use.

While undertaking her research Zoe noticed that many owners do not talk about OA in the same way that vets might; instead of referring to lameness or pain, many owners will refer to the actual physical signs of OA such as stiffness or communicate that their dog is slowing down.

Zoe has also warned that not all owners are convinced by visual demonstrations such as flexing and extending the dogs joints. Instead, she suggests encouraging the owner to get hands-on.

Zoe said: "Point out the visual changes suggestive of osteoarthritis that you can see, such as muscle loss, scuffed nails, and enlarged joints. And encourage them to have a look and a feel, comparing affected and unaffected joints. Hopefully, the owner may be more receptive to the conversation now they associate it with a symptom they can recognise."

Zoe says she also finds that many owners of older dogs often misinterpret the signs of OA as 'just old age' and may not be aware that the condition can be managed effectively with medication, the right exercise, diet and by making modifications in the home.

Elanco has also produced an OA management template which enables both the vet and the owner to create a tailored plan. It provides the owner with information to take away with them about how to modify their home, written in collaboration with Founder of Canine Arthritis Management, Hannah Capon.

Lastly, Zoe recommends a whole practice approach to becoming experts on OA, veterinary nurses in particular. She said: "Vet nurses often have great ideas about how to explain the condition in a way that owners understand. Better owner understanding of OA should lead to better adherence to treatment plans and ultimately better clinical outcomes." 

To watch the video, click here.

To access the suite of assets Elanco has created for Onsior (which includes the management plan, social media posts for the practice, and infographic to help owners to spot the signs of OA) visit: www.myelanco.co.uk  

Whilst you're here, take a moment to see our latest job opportunities for vet nurses.