Decoding Your Pet’s Hidden Pain Signals
Physical pain affects animals and humans alike. But because our furry companions cannot describe their symptoms, they rely on us to recognize and treat their discomfort.
While the signs of acute pain are often easy to recognize, all too often, chronic or low-level pain in pets goes undiagnosed. Behavioral cues such as reluctance to exercise or loss of appetite can be misinterpreted and are often dismissed simply as signs of advancing age. Learning to understand how our pets experience and show pain is a critical step in managing their discomfort.
Ouch! Oww! Ay! We express our responses to painful stimuli in various ways and oftentimes find it difficult to describe that dull, throbbing or gnawing pain from a toothache, tummy ache or worse a migraine. Sadly enough our pets can also feel the same types of pain that we do from similar ailments. Many pet owners may find it difficult to identify when their fur buddies are in discomfort especially when it’s not from an obviously painful stimulus.
Each pet may respond to pain differently. Some dog breeds are known to be more stoic than others and tolerate discomfort much more than they should as an example.
So what are some of the signs that your pet may be in pain?
Some obvious signs are:
- Excessive licking
- Biting at a specific area
- Decreased appetite to no appetite at all
but other subtle signs may be:
- Decreased activity
- Reluctant to jump up on surfaces
- Licking lips
- Decreased eye contact (eyes may appear glazed over)
Dogs tend to be more obvious with their signs of pain. Cats may vocalize, decrease grooming, hide, not eat and partially close their eyes when they are in discomfort.
Pain is a very important condition that we must manage in our pets as it severely affects their quality of life. Some conditions that are obviously painful include wounds/lacerations, fractures, arthritis, dental disease, limb injuries, major post surgical procedures. Less obvious conditions that can be painful include tummy aches, back aches, ear infections, corneal ulcers, anal gland impactions, minor post surgical procedures.
There are a range of options for treating pain in pets.
These medications may include NSAIDs, steroids, opioids, opioid-like agonists, neuropathic analgesics or a combination where possible. We prescribe pet-friendly medications that relieve pain and that are safe.
Veterinary medicine has begun to embrace some alternative pain management techniques such as acupuncture, combination therapy for glucosamine and chondroitin (for osteoarthritis), and aqua therapy (often helpful in pets experiencing post-surgical pain).CBD has recently been added to the list of choices to help with pain and some patients seem to respond well with this treatment.
Diet & Lifestyle Changes
Some pet discomfort can be mitigated through changes in diet and lifestyle. For example, an obese cat suffering from joint pain may benefit from weight loss to reduce pressure on load-bearing joints.
With The Mobile Vet Company, we take your pet’s pain seriously. If you suspect your dog or cat may be suffering from acute or chronic pain, give us a call. Our experienced vet can evaluate your pet, diagnose the source of discomfort, and work with you to create a pain management treatment plan. Don’t let your pet suffer a minute longer. Contact us today.