Our commitment at Care Animal Hospital is to the health and comfort of your pets. In recent years, veterinary medicine has made great progress in understanding how animals feel pain and the best ways to manage that pain. Many animals will instinctively hide their pain as a survival mechanism which in the past led to incorrect assumptions about the ability of dogs and cats to feel pain. Because we now understand more about how pets feel pain, we know how to recognize it and manage it.
The American Animal Hospital Association along with the American Association of Feline Practitioners recently released the AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. These guidelines show that pain management helps improve the recovery process, whether from illness, surgery or injury. Because it reduces stress and increases a sense of well being, pain management may even help your pet live longer.
There are two different types of pain in pets - acute pain and chronic pain.
Acute pain comes on suddenly as a result of an injury, surgery, inflammation or infection and can be extremely uncomfortable for your pet The good news is that it's usually temporary and goes away when the condition that causes it is treated. We provide pain management with every surgical procedure for both the comfort of the patient, and to speed the recovery process. This may involve a preoperative injection so that the patient is comfortable upon waking, as well as ensuring a restful night's sleep at home. When deemed necessary by one of our doctors, medication for the next few days is also included.
Chronic pain is by definition pain that lasts longer than two weeks. It can result from acute pain that goes untreated or it can develop more slowly. Common sources of chronic pain are osteoarthritis, dental disease and cancer. Animals that suffer from chronic pain often have subtle clinical signs that collectively make them appear older than they really are. The longer the pain goes on, the harder it is to control so we always want to treat this pain early.
Signs that your pet might be in pain include:
- Depression and/or Inactivity
- Rising Slowly or "Collapsing" to Lie Down
- Walking with a Stiff Gait, Especially After Getting Up
- Standing or Sitting in Unusual Positions
- Inappropriate Elimination
- Whining, Whimpering, Howling, or Constantly Meowing
- Constantly Licking or Chewing at a Particular Part of the Body
- Acting out of Character, Either Aggressively or Submissively
- Constantly Changing Positions to Find the Most Comfortable Position
- Developing New and Inappropriate Behavior Like Chewing on Objects, Which May Indicate a Dental Issue
When their pain is correctly assessed and treated, our patients respond with increased vigor and a sense of well being that owners recognize and appreciate.