Pain Management

dog-acl-repairPets can often hide the fact that they are in pain. In the wild, animals that appear sick or injured are perceived to be more vulnerable to predators. There are different types of pain. Acute pain is a sudden onset of pain that is usually relates to an injury, surgery, inflammation or infection. It usually responds quickly to treatment and goes away completely when treatment is finished. Chronic pain is long-term pain. Common sources are age related disorders such as arthritis, but pain can be related to long term illnesses like cancer or bone diseases. It is slow to develop and therefore can be difficult to diagnose. Some pets may learn to cope with constant pain because it can gradually increase over years or an entire lifetime. It is important to you that your pet has the happiest and most comfortable life possible. We want them to have that too.

Your pet may be experiencing pain if you see any of these signs.

Symptoms of pain in Cats:

Vocalizing
Meowing, Purring, Hissing, Growling

Daily Habits
Withdraws from social interaction, Decreased appetite, Changes in sleeping or drinking, Fails to use the litter box, Urinates frequently, Won’t groom or grooms less, looks unkempt, Sleeps more

Self-Mutiliation
Licking, Biting, Scratching a particular part of its body

Activity Level
Restless ,Reluctant to move ,Has difficulty getting up from a laying position, Repetitively gets up and lies down, Limps ,Can’t leap as high ,Seeks more affection ,Avoids being petted or handled ,Hides

Posture
Generally lays with feet underneath, Arches back or tucks in abdomen

Facial Expression
Grimaces, furrowed brow, vacant stare, Glazed, wide-eyed or looks sleepy, Enlarged pupils, Flattened ears, Pants when at rest

Self-protection
Protects a part of its body, Doesn’t put weight on a limb, Doesn’t want to be held or picked up

Aggressive
Especially a previously friendly cat
Acts out of character, Growls, hisses, bites, Pins ears back

Symptoms of pain in Dogs:

Vocalizing
Whining, Howling, Whimpering, Yelping, Groaning, Grunting

Daily Habits
Decreased appetite, Withdraws from social interaction, Changes in sleeping or drinking, Lapses in housetraining, Sleeps more

Self-Mutiliation
Licking, Biting, Scratching a particular part of its body

Activity Level
Restless, Reluctant to move, Difficulty getting up from a laying position, Repetitively gets up and lies down, Trembling, circling or lying very still, Seeks more affection than usual

Facial Expression
Grimaces, vacant stare, Glazed, wide-eyed or looks sleepy, Enlarged pupils• Flattened ears, Pants excessively when at rest

Grooming
Coat lacks normal shine• Hair stands up in places

Self-protection
Protects a body part, Doesn’t put weight on a limb, Limps, Doesn’t want to be held or picked up, Hides

Aggressive
Especially a previously friendly dog
Acts out of character, Growls, snarls or bites, Pins ears back, A normally aggressive dog may act quiet, docile

Posture
Hunched, with hindquarters raised and front end down on the ground, Lays on its side
List copied with permission from American Animal Hospital Association, pets matter handout.

Now that you recognize the symptoms your pet will need to be examined to determine cause of pain and treatment. Their evaluation may include x-rays and/or blood work. Once your pet is diagnosed treatment can begin. There are a variety of pain medications available for both dogs and cats. Ask your doctor about things you can do at home to help keep your pet comfortable and monitor if your pet’s level of pain is changing.

Never administer pain medication to a pet with out consulting your veterinarian first. Some human medications such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can be toxic and can do more harm than good. After being diagnosed if your pet is prescribed pain medication let you doctor know if you se any signs if side affects. Side affects may include vomiting, diarrhea, changes in eating or drinking, changes in skin such as rashes or hives, being depressed or overly anxious or if your pet just “Is not acting right.”

Pain management is especially important as a part of surgical recovery. After invasive procedures pets may not only be in pain but, weak or disoriented. Once your pet is back at home it is most important to consistently follow your discharge instructions carefully. If pain medication is prescribed give it as directed. Limiting your pet’s activity will also help with their discomfort. If any problems arise contact us as soon as possible.