Keeping An Eye Out For Pet Pain

puddle dogWatching your pet experience pain can become your own very painful experience. While there are varying degrees – and sources – of pet pain, the bottom line is that the special pet in your care cannot have the quality of life that they deserve, if in pain.

Luckily, there are certain avenues that can help your pet cope with the challenges of pain, and we’re here to help you recognize the signs and treat the symptoms.

What Is Pet Pain?

Experts agree that pet pain is categorized as either acute or chronic. Acute pain occurs suddenly as a result from surgery, injury, dental pain , or illness. As the name suggests, chronic pain is a long-term condition caused by aging, diseases like cancer, or problems such as arthritis.

Pet pain can really transform a pet that previously ran, jumped, or played without incident. More importantly, pain that results from an injury or illness can make it harder for your pet to heal. These are among our top reasons to try and manage pet pain.

Identifying Pet Pain

Your pet’s pain may be difficult to see, track, or measure as a result of his or her instinctual drive for self preservation. Hiding pain can protect against predators, but even in the absence of yelping, limping, or wincing, your pet could still have pain.

If your pet’s patterns shift, or normal behavior becomes history, it’s time to seek help. Likewise, the following signs indicate that something isn’t right:

  • Lethargy
  • Hiding
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive vocalization (whining, yelping, crying, etc.)
  • Changes in eating or drinking habits
  • Rejection of previous resting spots, toys, or activities
  • Increased respiration
  • Aggression or intolerance
  • Changes in grooming habits

Next Steps

Getting a handle on your pet’s symptoms is made easier with medications, nutritional supplements, and alternative therapies. Testing and diagnostics may help steer us in the right direction, but your pet’s treatment may include:

  • NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories stand in the way of inflammatory factors that cause pain, making this an effective option
  • Opioids – Derived from morphine, this treatment for pet pain decreases the brain’s perception of pain
  • Corticosteroids – Potent as anti-inflammatories, this type of medication is only prescribed in certain cases.

Remember, medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin may work well for humans, but they should never be given to your pet.

Chronic pain can be helped through your pet’s diet. The addition of omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with a reduction in inflammation and pain. Likewise, weight loss can minimize the pain put on sore joints affected by arthritis.

We can also discuss other interventions, such as physical therapy, that may help your pet cope with pain.

On the Ball

If you have any questions or concerns about pet pain, please let our veterinarians and staff know, or schedule an appointment. Getting your pet relief from pain is critical to overall well being, and can even contribute to a longer, happier life. Who can ask for anything more?