Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dylan Clements

Personal Chair of Small Animal Orthopaedics

Profile photo
Phone: +44 (0)131 650 7650

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

2004Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Liverpool
Genetics of Canine Osteoarthritis
1991Bachelor of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool
1994Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh

Professional Qualifications

Edinburgh Teaching Award, Level 3
Edinburgh Teaching Award, Level 2
Diploma in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics), DSAS(Orth)
Diploma of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons (Small Animal), DipECVS
Certificate in Small Animal Surgery, CertSAS

Area of Expertise

Research expertiseSmall Animal Orthopaedics, Longitudinal Cohort Studies, Osteoarthritis

Current Research Interests

Veterinary clinical orthopaedics, the epidemiology of health aging in dog populations, and the genetic basis and functional aspects of osteoarthritis.


Dylan graduated from the University of Liverpool in 1997, having also gained an intercalated degree at the University of Edinburgh in 1995. Initially he worked at the PDSA in Liverpool for three years before completing a surgical residency and registrar post in Small Animal Orthopaedics at the University of Glasgow. Dylan returned to the University of Liverpool in 2004 where he was awarded a PhD for studies into the molecular genetics of canine osteoarthritis. In 2007 Dylan returned to the R(D)SVS as a senior lecturer in Small Animal Surgery, where he is involved in the clinical service, teaching and research into the genetic basis and functional aspects of canine osteoarthritis. In 2020 Dylan was awarded a Personal Chair of Small Animal Orthopaedics.


Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Pathological Sciences (1995)

Bachelor of Veterinary Science (1997)

Certificate in Small Animal Surgery (2001)

Diploma in Small Animal Surgery (Orthopaedics) (2004)

Diploma in Small Animal Surgery (2004)

Doctor of Philosophy (2007)

Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (2016)

Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (2017)

Senior Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (2019)





Research Interests

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common, debilitating condition of mammalian joints, characterised by the destruction of articular cartilage, resulting in pain and dysfunction of the affected joint. OA is estimated to affect up to 20% of dogs over one year of age in the general dog population. 

My research is focused on clinical and laboratory based projects investigating the genetic basis of osteoarthritis in dogs and cats. We aim to identify the key genes which are differentially expressed in tissues from osteoarthritic joints, and how these gene expression changes are related between different tissues. We also try to identify genomic risk factors for osteoarthritis using both candidate gene and genome-wide association studies of canine osteoarthritis. Our ultimate goal is to identify markers for osteoarthritis which can be used to inform novel breeding and treatment strategies, and which may have relevance in other species. 

Pain is a feature of osteoarthritis, which can be extremely difficult to quantify in domestic pets. Part of our research evaluates methods for quantifying pain in dogs with clinical osteoarthritis, and the effects of analgesic (pain relief) intervention on osteoarthritic pain states. In particular, we are looking at the quantifying the mobility of healthy dogs and dogs with osteoarthritis using novel methods such as custom made Global Positioning Satellite collars and activity monitors.

I lead a groundbreaking longitudinal cohort study of canine health, the “Dogslife” project. This project is an epidemiological study of the relationship between canine health, activity, environment and their interaction with the host genome unique. It provides a platform for lifelong study of canine health and disease. Pet owners engaged in the project provide health information by recording information about thier dog using a web-based interface. This approach allows an insight into the genetic and environmental interactions which cause diseases in dogs.

Research Groups

The epidemiology, economics and risk assessment group (Prof Mark Bronsvoort)

The VitDAL laboratory led by Prof Richard Mellanby

The Schoenebeck lab led by Dr Jeff Schoenebeck

Institute of Population Health (University of Manchester, Prof Bill Ollier, Dr Lorna Kennedy)


Research students

Carys Pugh (PhD Student, 2011-2015)

Craig Johnson (PhD student, 2012-2016)

Charlotte Woolley (PhD Student, 2016-present) 

Brendan Duggan (2nd supervisor, PhD student, 2012-2016)

Tom Marchant (2nd supervisor, PhD student, 2014-2018)

Ekele Ikpegbu (3rd Supervisor, PhD student, 2014-2018)

Office Hours

9.00am - 5.00pm

Administrative Roles

Head of Small Animal Surgery
Member of the Veterinary Ethical Review Committee
Member of the Research Computing Strategy Group
Member of the Antimiocrobial Stewardship Group
Member of the Theatre Users Group


Clinical Expertise and Specialisation

Orthopaedic Surgery, Small Animal Teaching


Year 1

The Animal Body 1

Year 3

Dog & Cat, Clinical Foundation Course

Year 5

Final Year Rotations, Student Selected Component 2

All years

Professional Development

My research in a nutshell

Osteoarthritis affects a lot of dogs and cats. I am interested in finding out why dog and cats develop this disease, to try an improve the diagnosis and treatment of the condition. In particular, I am trying to develop tools which allow us to more accurately assess the pain that dogs and cats with osteoarthritis have, as they cannot tell us directly. 

I am running a web-based study following the health of Labrador Retrievers from puppyhood as they become older. We hope to follow them through thier lives, to find out what environmental effects (such as feeding, exercise, and health care) increase or decrease the risk of them developing diseases as they age.

Research activities & awards

  1. Royal Highland Show 2011

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Festival/Exhibition

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Latest prizes

  1. Outstanding Clinical Research Award

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  2. Petplan Charitable Trust Scientific Award

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  3. Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

    Prize: Fellowships awarded competitively

View all (4) »

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