September is Animal Pain Awareness Month. Our companion animals can be pretty good at hiding their pain. It’s simply the nature of animals to try and hide outward signs of pain, as in the wild it can cause them to lose their place in the pack, or make it easier for predators to spot the “weak ones”. Most of the time it is easier for owners to spot incidences of pain in their pets than others, like with a yelp, or obvious limping. But, there are other, less conspicuous signs that our pets may be in pain.
Signs of Pain in Pets
- Licking or over grooming an area of their body. This can be a sign of pain in a certain area of the body
- Difficulty laying down, getting comfortable, or getting back up from laying down.
- Reluctance to jump up on things, or with going up or down stairs. This is especially notable in cats.
- Decreased activity, sleeping more, or limping after activity.
- Decreased appetite can signal pain originating in the mouth.
- Change in personality and increased aggression.
What Should You Do if You Think Your Pet is Painful?
A pet owner’s first instinct, if they feel their pet is painful is to give something to stop the pain. Sometimes, that means reaching for an over-the-counter human product, which may or may not be safe for the animal. Many human pain medications can be toxic to dogs and even more so to cats. Please do not give any human medications without consulting a veterinarian, preferably one that knows your pet and their health history. So, first thing to do is call your vet. They may want you to bring your pet in to assess what is going on and to give your pet a thorough examination before making any recommendations for treatment..
Options for Pain in Pets
The most important thing is to figure out what is causing the pain, so the veterinarian can properly address and treat the pain. If there is an infection, antibiotics will be necessary. A painful tooth may require a dental cleaning with extractions. An orthopedic injury may require a cast, surgery, or cage rest.. Arthritis will need long term pain control. Once the cause of the pain is diagnosed, we can move on to supporting them through recovery and maintenance. Below are some of the options we have available for treating pain at Swartz Creek Veterinary Hospital.
- NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), steroids, and opiates to help control pain and in some types decrease inflammation (Previcox, Metacam, Rimadyl, Prednisone, Tramadol, Onsior, Buprenorphine, Gabapentin)
- Laser Therapy can be safely used on many different conditions to help decrease pain and inflammation and decrease healing time.
- Joint Supplements like Dasuquin and Cosequin can be very helpful for pets recovering from joint/ligament/tendon injuries, or those suffering from arthritis
- Local Anesthesia is used in pets during orthopedic surgeries and during dental procedures that include tooth extraction, giving our patients hours of pain control after surgery.
- Injectable Arthritis medications like Adequan.
Isn’t it Just Old Age?
When dealing with an older pet, we can’t always assume it’s just “old age” and there is nothing that can be done. We have many options available so that our senior pets can enjoy their Golden Years with good quality of life. There are also things we can introduce, as your pet approaches middle age, to help intervene before they get painful.
No one likes to think about their pet being in pain, but when you know the signs to look for, you can seek treatment for your pet faster, and get them feeling better. Call our office if you have questions or concerns about your pet’s comfort 810-635-4015