Hannah Capon shares how pet professionals can help fight arthritis


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Would you like to be able to do more to support dog owners when it comes to identifying and managing arthritis in their pets?

The disease is one of the most common causes of elective euthanisia in dogs and Hannah Capon, founder of Canine Arthritis Management, wants to change this.

Between 35 and 45 per cent of dogs suffer silently with arthritis and not just older dogs – it’s regularly found in dogs under one year old.

Hannah founded CAM to educate owners on ways they can support their pets, and now she’s calling for pet professionals to become positive influencers for change.

In this podcast episode she reveals how you can help support her mission so more dogs live longer, healthier, happier lives. 

You can listen in on the player link below and see some of the key messages and timings below. 

Hannah started Canine Arthritis Management after putting two dogs to sleep one after another in just one afternoon

She recalled: “I can remember it clear as day, the lining on the floor, two of the afternoon clients were put to sleep back to back.

“When they came in it said on their notes they were there to be put to sleep ‘off their back legs.’

“Everything else was fine, their teeth were clean, their eyes were bright, you could see they were sad.

“But their hearts were ok, their chests clear, there was nothing in the abdomen to worry about.

“And there was no muscle on their back legs, they had shiny coats but no muscle, and I was thinking ‘that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s months if not years.’

“The owners were in tears, they adored their dogs, they felt they’d done everything they could do.

“There was this big Elephant in the room no-one was talking about, we should have picked it up, we should have done something about it.

“It was that they had arthritis. Yet here we were at the end point, saying goodbye.

“That was the moment for me. I knew we could do better, from both sides of the table. Owners and vets.

“And I set out to make change happen.”

These are some of the shocking figures around arthritis

In 1996 it was believed 80% of dogs over the age of eight had arthritis.

Recent figures show that 45% of all dogs, of all ages and breeds have arthritis.

Between 28 and 82% of behavioural problems are pain related in a study by the University of Lincoln.

Hannah feels groomers in particular are in a position to see the signs and encourage owners to seek advice

She said: “They’re familiar with the dog and most likely to see change such a chunky mane, lack of moulting and dogs stopping wagging their tails, chaffed nails, uneven pads.

“The conversation a groomer can have with an owner is very different to what they might have with a vet.

“We’ve worked in the CAM community to develop strategies on how to broach the difficult conversation about arthritis with owners without feeling awkward or worrying you’re making the owner feed bad.”

Her dream is for pet service providers to be the eyes and ears of CAM and work with vets and other vet rehabiliation practices to support owners

Hannah says: “Wouldn’t it be incredible if all the dog walkers, groomers, trainers and sitters around a practice were on board with working together with vets to support and educate owners?

“And that everyone had a better understanding and respect for the condition so owners didn’t fear it?

“And if practices worked with the professionals to offer non-expensive treatment options like change to exercise regime, weight control, therapeutic exercises. This would be a real achievement.

“You are the influencer, people are using your services because they trust you and have faith in you, you might have more ability to convey a message to an owner than a vet could do.”

If you’re a pet professional and would like to arm yourself with the knowledge and practical skills to support Hannah’s mission, you can start by using the resouces on the CAM website.

If you train up as a CAMadvocate, you get the same programmes and resources Hannah uses for vet and vet nurse training

There’s PDFS, questionnaires, crib sheets, posters and templates, so you can educate owners.

Hannah says: “There’s accreditation you can put out online to show owners that you are trained to support them, a certificate and membership of a private Facebook support community for graduates. 

“Next up is a short CAMpaigner course for owners who want to give the right advice to friends, family or clients if they might have a pet product business to share the right message.

“CAMadvocates will be able to hand out the information on the CAMpaigner course to help people outside of the pet profession get a better understanding of the illness.”

Finally, if you have a pet product that you think is suited to CAM, you can be part of their shop

Hannah says: “We’d love to hear from you if you have enrichment toys, beds, car boot ramps, harnesses, any kind of product that would fit with CAM’s message, but not supplements.”

The CAMAdvocate course is $120 dollars until Christmas Eve, 10 modules, and between 14 and 25 hours work and you can sign up using CAMxmas to get the reduced rate here.

Key timings and points covered in this episode:

0.45 – Intro to Hannah and a brief overview of why it’s important for pet professionals to be more aware of arthritis.

2.21 – How CAM first started back in 2015 as a simple Facebook page.

6.23 – Hannah shares how she felt she was failing dogs and owners as a vet with the support she was giving them and wanted to do more.

9.14 – The day Hannah had to put two dogs to sleep in a row because of arthritis and how it changed her life and inspired her to set up CAM.

11.30 – The rise of arthritis in dogs and now how up to 45% of all dogs have the condition.

13.11 – What pet professionals can do if they fear a client has arthritis.

18.11 – Hannah shares her belief that dogs don’t mask pain, they just cope.

19.36 – How groomers can often feel ignored or dismissed by vets and Hannah’s advice on how to overcome this.

22.32 – Broaching difficult conversations with owners and Hannah’s advice on the best way to do this without making an owner feel bad.

28.18 – Why it’s important to get help and Hannah’s own experience of life with a senior dog, Holly.

31.20 – Hannah’s mission for arthritis to be as headline grabbing as Alabama Rot.

36.33 – Why arthritis needs to be managed as it can be the seed that grows into an oak tree of pain.

38.23 – Hannah’s training for vets and nurses.

39.41 – How her dedication to CAM has led to Hannah returning home to her parents so she can continue her work.

41.46 – Why educating yourself as a pet professional can help you build relationships with vets.

42.45 – Why pet professionals are influencers and are often more trusted by owners than vets.

46.09 – The CAMbassador programme and how it works.

40.32 – The CAMadvocate programme which is for pet professionals where they can learn how to identify arthritis and support owners.

51.30 – The CAMpaigner course for owners who want to give the right advice to friends, family or clients if they might have a pet product business to share the right message.

55.20 – Hannah appeals for brands offering enrichment toys, beds, car boot ramps, harnesses, any kind of product that would fit with CAM’s message to get in touch with a view to having your products in the CAM shop.

THE CAMbassador course is on offer for $120 up to Christmas Eve with the code CAMxmas

About Hannah
Hannah Capon MA Vet MB MRCVS, winner of the 2020 RCVS Impact Award, 2019 CEVA Vet of the Year, 2019 Vet Trust Vet Personality of the Year and finalist in the 2019 Petplan Vet of the Year, is a first opinion veterinary surgeon in the UK.
Recognised for her tireless work on Canine Arthritis Management (CAM) an online education and support service for owners of arthritic dogs and professionals that care for them.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Find out more about CAM on the website:


Learn with CAM in their online resouce for pet professionals.


Support CAM by buying from their shop or by approaching Hannah if you have a suitable brand.


Follow CAM on Facebook

Canine Arthritis Management: https://www.facebook.com/CAMarthritis

Holly’s Army:


Canine Arthritis Management Pro page:


Canine Arthritis Equipment review and advice group:


Hannah’s interview is part of my Changemaker series – read more here:

Why Jade Statt is on a mission to help homeless pet owners

Carla Finzel on why she wants every parent to have a district vet nurse to support them

Marie Yates on why she is helping survivers of sexual violence through Canine Hope


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