I first met Sandy in the summer of 2016. She was 14 at the time, and I got called out to see her as a fairly urgent visit as she was in the garden, unable to get up.

Sandy’s owner was pretty sure it would be her time, as she just wasn’t able to move, and of course she was quite old. But her face was still bright, and after a careful examination I realised this wasn’t as bad as it seemed.

Sandy was just down due to pain in her back legs. She was suffering with osteoarthritis and was experiencing breakthrough pain because of this.

We decided to give Sandy pain medication to see if we could get her up again. I left her owner with my 24/7 number and assured her she could call me any time if Sandy didn’t improve.

Sandy did get up that day, and two weeks later I saw her for a review. My clinical notes say: “walking really well!” and “what a huge improvement!”

Needless to say, we kept Sandy on her pain medications, and she has since had two similar episodes, but has recovered well from both. She’s now 17 and still goes for walks.

We are frequently reviewing Sandy’s medication and her needs, and Sandy’s mum is really good at picking up any changes in Sandy’s behaviour that could indicate pain.

I think it is a really common misconception that giving old pets pain medications will shorten their lifespan. I don’t believe for a second that that Sandy would still be here if it wasn’t for her medication keeping her comfortable.

By being comfortable she is able to carry out her usual activities and go for walks, which keeps her happy and fit. Her quality of life has been excellent these last 3 years. She is of course also very lucky to have a very dedicated and loving family, and she has the biggest dog bed I have seen to date!

Sandy is also famous! She has appeared in Your Dog magazine last year, and has recently appeared in the national press as one of Britain’s oldest pets – https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/meet-britains-oldest-dogs-who-17262971

Sandy’s story helps demonstrate how much difference a pain consultation can make to a pet with discomfort.

Dignipets are able to offer at home pain assessments to help keep our ‘golden oldies’ as comfortable as possible.

If you would like to find out more about our at home pain assessment consultations please contact us on 0333 3208731


Maja Redfern

Maja is clinical director at Dignipets. A mobile veterinary practice that offers palliative and end of life care for every pet in need in the West Midlands. Having completed a certification programme in hospice and palliative care in 2017 Maja advises colleagues and referring practices on pain management for their most difficult geriatric cases. She is a dedicated pet owner (two dogs and three cats) and has developed a reputation amongst wanderers and strays for being the go-to person when lost.