PAIN SYMPTOMS AND MANAGEMENT

For a variety of reasons, pain is common in geriatric pets or those with serious diseases. Veterinary medicine has recently made great strides progressive in the understanding, recognition and treatment of pain in pets.  We now have a much greater understanding of pain physiology and just debilitating it can be. Pain has been shown to slow recovery from injury and make people and animals more prone to infection. To relieve pain is not only humane, it can even increase odds of survival.

How do I know if my pet is in pain – he doesn’t ever complain!

Pain can be very difficult to assess in pets, even for observant and loving owners. Dogs and cats express pain differently than people. By nature, they tend to hide their discomfort and are not ‘programmed’ to come ask  for help.  Cats can be particularly secretive when painful, following their instinct to hide pain when they know they are vulnerable. The result is an almost universal underestimation of pain in animals, even by professionals. Below are listed common signs of pain in dogs and cats. Frankly, any change in a pet’s regular activity or routine can indicate pain. Be aware that many dogs and some cats with significant pain will continue to eat and that many cats with pain will still purr.

Signs of Pain in Dogs

  • Hiding or withdrawing from interaction with their owners
  • Trembling
  • Reluctance to get up, stand or walk
  • Hunched Position
  • Retracted lips; tense facial expression
  • Drooling
  • Increased heart or respiratory rate; panting
  • Reluctance to eat

Signs of Pain in Cats

  • Hiding or withdrawing from interaction with their owners
  • Sleeping excessively
  • Decreased appetite
  • Reluctance to jump up
  • Hunched position
  • “Fluffed” hair coat
  • Purring

Sage Veterinary Services offers a complete and holistic approach to pain management in pets. Luckily, there are many safe and effective medications that can form the basis of pain control. However, Dr. Thorpe has found that these medications are most effective when used together and in conjunction with other modalities. These include physical medicine, including acupuncture, laser, massage, stretching, and therapeutic exercise as well as nutritional management and supplements.  With knowledge and experience in these areas, Dr. Thorpe is well equipped to help your pet be as comfortable as possible.

If you believe your pet may be painful or if you are noticing them moving with difficulty as they age, contact Sage Veterinary Services.