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.
To help educate the public about pain awareness and management in pets, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) has declared September as Animal Pain Awareness Month. It’s an excellent opportunity for pet owners to recognize potential signs of pain in their animals.
Be alert to these potential pain signs:
Let’s look at what these potential pain signs tell us.
Recent advances in veterinary medicine have broadened our management options for cats and dogs that are experiencing pain. In fact, pain management has become an important sub-discipline within our vet practices. Effective management of discomfort not only helps your pet feel better, but it also promotes healing and speeds recovery times.
We have a range of options for treating pain in pets.
Meds, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids, are often used to manage discomfort in pets. Because dogs and cats cannot tolerate human NSAIDs like ibuprofen, 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).
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.
At Richmond Road Veterinary Clinic, 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. One of our experienced vets 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.
Richmond Road Veterinary Clinic and its sister clinic, Tates Creek Animal Hospital, are both members of the Kentucky Veterinary Practice Group, local experts for compassionate pet care. Dr. Kevin Smith and his team of veterinarians and technicians use the most advanced technology and techniques. Should you have a question for our office or staff, please contact us at (859) 263-5037 or firstname.lastname@example.org.