2019 Veterinary Emerging Topics (VET)® Report

In this year’s report, we’re highlighting the management of osteoarthritis in overweight pets and exploring opportunities to improve care and outcomes for these pets in general veterinary practice.

While the barriers to care are not simple to address, we can improve the care that overweight, osteoarthritic (OA) pets receive by better understanding and identifying barriers. Ultimately, this step will help improve the comfort, mobility and quality of life for pets.

Opportunities to Help Improve Care

  • Dispense pain medications for OA pets: Identify and lower barriers to care (example: owner not aware/understanding OA pet is in pain). 
  • Incorporate tools for earlier identification or recognition: Tools and technologies are available today that can be better leveraged to facilitate owner recognition of changes in their pet’s behavior or activity levels.
  • Make a dietary recommendation, every time: Pet owners want their veterinarian to provide diet recommendations. This is an opportunity the veterinary community should seize.
  • Weight management: Research has shown weight loss in obese dogs can improve clinical signs of OA and the pet’s quality of life.
  • Patient management as team effort: Management of these cases can be lifted from a 1-person (veterinarian) effort to a hospital team effort.

Care Delivery: Applying the 5 Domains of Quality

The VET Report has previously introduced the veterinary community to the science of quality improvement, from which many tools can be adapted to veterinary medicine with the objective of improving quality of care and patient outcomes. One such tool is called the Five Domains of Quality, a slight modification of a framework developed by the Institute of Medicine. A clinician can leverage this framework to help identify and incorporate veterinary care improvement opportunities for a more holistic approach and better results. Learn more about the Five Domains of Quality with example applications to managing OA cases here.

Read the full report on what we learned about managing arthritis in overweight pets.