Pain management

Chronic pain can be a challenge to manage and often requires more than one approach. At Greyfriars our primary goal is to improve quality of life for our patients whether they are younger patients requiring long term management of osteoarthritis, patients recovering from orthopaedic or spinal disease or older patients who may be struggling with multiple problems including mobility.

Our primary goal is to reduce pain and improve quality of life for our patients. The initial consultation involves a behavioural questionnaire which looks at how your dog may behave when affected by pain, a questionnaire about physical difficulties and the home environment which may allow us to manage daily life, and a physical examination which gives us information about the source and degree of pain or mobility problem. Taking in all this information we then formulate a plan to target pain, improve mobility and thereby improve quality of life.

The care plan may include pharmacological pain management advice which can then be taken on by your first opinion practice. Advice about weight management, nutraceuticals, environmental adaptation and exercise and acupuncture treatment may also be included.

Acupuncture works in several different ways but essentially it provides another stimulus which detracts the nervous system’s attention away from chronic pain. It also helps release muscle tension, improves blood flow, and causes a release of chemicals in the brain which are the body’s natural pain killers. Acupuncture is normally assessed over four treatments, usually attended weekly, to see if this is going to be of benefit to the patient. If so, treatments are then spaced out according to each patient’s individual response. It is often used alongside medication management but can be used instead of medication management if other medical conditions prohibit the use of medication for pain relief.

We aim to provide support and advice for care of geriatric patients who often have multiple conditions and require complex plans. Working together we can help to give your pet the best quality of life.

Pain management lead

Susanna Alwen

GP Cert Western Veterinary Acupuncture and Chronic Pain Management, Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist, Diploma in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals

Dr Susanna Alwen MA VetMB MRCVS

Susanna qualified from Cambridge Vet School in 2002 and since then has worked in a variety of veterinary roles from general practice to industry and then moved on to referral practice. Susanna's main interests are improving the quality of life of dogs and cats with osteoarthritis and neurological conditions and providing palliative care for geriatric patients. Since 2012 Susanna has worked exclusively in this field and gained qualifications in hydrotherapy, rehabilitation, pain management and Western Veterinary Acupuncture.

In March 2024 Susanna was nominated for PetPlan Vet of the Year award and was selected as one of the three finalists from the thousands of nominations.
Susanna works with dogs who may have pain and mobility issues as a result of osteoarthritis, back pain, spinal disease, cancer or other orthopaedic and neurological diseases which impact mobility. The clinic aims to work alongside your first opinion vet and can also incorporate the other services offered at Greyfriars such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.