Bonnie and Fergus are Labradors and Rosa is a Cocker Spaniel. They spend much of their lives zipping through the countryside, taking long walks in the woods, swimming - they even take up paddle boarding.
Aimee is the camerawoman, social media assistant and loving pet parent in this furry threesome.
When Bonnie was little, Aimee noticed a problem with her mobility. At first she thought it was nothing, but her owner intuition told her something was wrong.
"I think she was maybe 7 or 8 months old. She hopped a little in the front left. So we rested her, but a few months later it happened again. It was like a misstep. No real limp. So we took her to the vet. They examined her and said she was fine.”
But the same thing happened again, and this time Bonnie refused to leave. Aimee knew there was a real problem and brought her to the vet office where she works.
"I was a bit pushy to be honest, but I knew she wasn't right. She had a CT scan and they found a small fragment of bone in her left elbow.”
Bonnie would need surgery the next day.
"The surgery didn't quite go according to plan," says Aimee. "They cleaned the joint but couldn't find the fragment, so she had to go to the CT scanner a second time to find it. Then she needed another small cut to clean it up.”
Bonnie's road to recovery was long.
“She was initially on bed rest for six weeks before the vet signed her off and said she could go to hydrotherapy and physical therapy. We did some physio at home, just very, very gently. And then we started hydrotherapy which she absolutely loved. She still absolutely loves it so even now we keep up with the occasional hydrotherapy session.”
Aimee knew that Bonnie was likely to develop osteoarthritis (OA) in the future after surgery.
"It was so frustrating knowing she had this injury because we've always been so careful with her! You see people with puppies walking them six or seven miles at four or five months — but I always set a timer for 10 minutes when she was little. I didn't let her go upstairs and she didn't jump off the sofa. I followed all the rules in the book and was so careful, but she still had this injury." After any joint surgery, there is a much higher risk that the joint will develop osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease that requires long-term multimodal treatment.
Bonnie was young when she had surgery, and Aimee knew she needed to support her long-term mobility and joint health with an effective joint supplement.
Working in a veterinary practice means Aimee has access to a wide range of nutritional supplements and she was determined to find the best for Bonnie.
"I did a lot of research! I had made my own little spreadsheet of what each side dish contained. It's hard to compare them because everything has different levels; They use different units and ingredients. It was a nightmare."
“I can't remember how I came across Antinol®. We had a crate delivered to work and then I met another dog who used it, so it was already in the back of my mind. He always gets great reviews on the internet. It's hard for me to compare Antinol® to anything else because it's made differently, with a different process than everything else – it just seems a little bit better!”
Aimee tried Antinol® on Bonnie to support her long-term joint health, and now she's feeding it to Fergus too. As he is 5 years old she wants to give him the best chance to stay active and mobile and she is confident that Antinol® will help.
Bonnie and Fergus have had Antinol® for almost 2 years now and Aimee would recommend it to anyone concerned about their pet's mobility.
“I have definitely recommended it to other pet owners. I always recommend it for younger dogs as well because it's something they can have long term. It's also really easy to feed. I can literally put it out of their hands.”
The recovery process has been difficult for Bonnie and Aimee. We asked her what advice she would give to other pet parents who are experiencing a long return to normal after surgery.
"Keep your brain busy. I remember taking Bonnie to the pond and sitting in the trunk with her and watching some ducks and little boats for two hours just so she could stimulate herself with something that wasn't the living room.
Get lots of enrichment toys for your pet and know that they will have good days and bad days. Just take the good days.”
Luckily Bonnie doesn't just have to look after the ducks from the car anymore. She swims again and heads into the wild with Fergus, Rosa, and Aimee.