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Dr. Matt Brunke Speaks on the UPenn / Big Barker Clinical Study Results

In a clinical study conducted by University of Pennsylvania, owners reported that the Big Barker bed reduced joint pain & stiffness, improved joint function & gait, and led to improved nighttime restfulness in large dogs with arthritis.

Dr. Matt Brunke, board certified in veterinary sports medicine and rehab, serves as the Medical Director at VSCR and took the time to talk about this breakthrough study with Dr. Sarah Wooten.

The full 15 minute interview is in the video above.  See the attached infographic for an overview on the study.  Interview highlights below.

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Interview Highlights

[4:50]

Dr. Brunke:

"Well, I'll even back up a second as to why this was really important to do. Okay? Is because if you think about it, when I, as a specialist or any part of the veterinary team sees your pet, we may work with them in rehab, but we work with them for what, maybe an hour, twice a week. So where are all those other 99% of the day spent right? Pet parents and their fur kids, the pet parents are the caregivers. So you guys, it's the home environment that's really important, whether that's home exercises, getting out and walking safely every day, getting some light exercise and stuff done, but it's that home environment of how they get around. That's where they live in."

"So it's such an important factor, because as much work as me and my team can do, it has to be that team approach that also goes back to the parents. So setting up something that can help improve that home environment was really important. So when I took a look at this study, I said, here's some data that... Where do dogs want to sleep? Do they want to seek this out? Do they want to be comfortable? And can it be something that's positive for them? So my initial thought was, this could be a good thing if it can help us to modify that at home environment, and from the data, it looks like there's a good start here."

[6:21]

Dr. Brunke:

 "It's always great with pilot studies because you know you have a focus group here and the Penn team did a really great job, because sometimes pilots studies are like five or 10 [subjects]. They really took a big step here to go up to 40, because that's starting to get a lot of data here. And when I looked at that, I said, okay, we want to find both owner feedback, and then we want to find some objectivity. And what I really liked about this was they went for as much as they could get of both."

"From the objective stuff - especially with our nonverbal patients, - they said, well, let's put activity monitors on them and see if they sleep a little bit better, because we know with arthritis, if your back hurts... if you're not comfortable at night, then you're not going to sleep, or you're going to toss, you're going to turn, you're going to get up. So usually the good thing is, is if you're out cold, you feel great the next morning. And that was one of the things from the activity monitors was that it started to show that there could be a trend here in that they're going to just not get up as much at night, so that was really important to me. And it was the simple fact that the pets sought out the bed." 

 "Because think about this. How many times do we get a big, nice, fancy bed? We get something for them, and your dog goes, uh-huh, kitchen floor, out cold. That's their favorite spot. So when dogs seek it out, that's also one to me that they're telling us that this is comfortable for them. On the subjective side, I think we had some pretty good feedback on the pain scales of how the dogs were then able to move around a little bit better the next day, so that you have to start to look at a little bit more, but it looked like there was some positive results here." 

If you don't yet have a Big Barker bed, is now the time to make the switch?
Click here to learn more.

 

[12:46]

Dr. Wooten:

"So do you think, Dr. Brunke, as the expert that you are, if you have some of your clients coming to you and asking about modifying the home environment for their arthritic dogs, do you think the results of this study warrant recommending a therapeutic mattress as part of a multimodal approach to helping these dogs with arthritis?"

Dr. Brunke:

"Yeah, I think it does. What I would want to ask them is where does your dog like to sleep, ahead of time? Do you want your dog up in bed with you? What type of mattress are you currently sleeping on yourself, even? And think about it, because if you set parameters with your pet and they are the ones that have for years and years and years have always slept on the cold stone floor because that's what they're comfortable with, that's what their constitution kind of tells them to sleep, yeah, but maybe at least for that, get better traction for them to get up. Simple home modifications can be making sure that our arthritic patients have their nails are trimmed down, because if they're overgrown, they can't get... Their feet are out of balance. And if they have a lot of fur on the bottoms of their feet, that we shave those on a regular basis so that their toe pads and foot pads are exposed to get them traction."

"But if they like to try to lay on things, but they used to like to lay on the couch, but now they really just can't get up on the couch. Or they used to be able to jump into that high bed with you, and now they can't, well they know that they like something supportive, then getting a bed involved with that would be really good. And we always say that our dogs do talk to us. We just have to learn how to listen. So watch them and see where they like to be, and try it. That's the thing about this is, what do we do when we go to a new hotel room? We jump into a bed and go, okay, how good is this bed, or not? How good is this mattress? Or if we go mattress shopping for ourselves, this is something we spend a third of our life doing is sleeping. So if our pets are doing that, too, they should find something that's comfortable for them. And that's a good aspect to help modify the home. It's a third of their lifetime doing it."

 

If you don't yet have a Big Barker bed, is now the time to make the switch?
Click here to learn more.

Eric Shannon

Owner & Founder of Big Barker Dog Beds