Pain in our Pets

Pain in our Pets

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Ever had days where you just don’t feel right?  Of course, we all have.  How many of these days are due to:  fatigue, chronic pain, stress or anxiety?  Probably almost all of them.  Now imagine these same times, except you can’t tell anyone about them.  Imagine that you have an entire week or even month of them.  Imagine trying to get help, but you are unable to communicate your problem with those around you.  That would be extremely frustrating and disheartening to even the toughest of individuals.

Many pets suffer from chronic, low grade pain without owners ever being aware of the situation.  As veterinarians, we do our best to identify these in our patients, however we are at a disadvantage because we only examine these animals for a fraction of their lives, and they are unable to tell us where they may be hurting!  We have many diagnostic tools at our disposal to try to diagnose and treat chronic pain, however as a number of people have probably experienced in dealing with their own recurring medical problems, these tests don’t always paint the entire picture. 

  • How to Tell If My Pet is in Pain
  • Below is a list of subtle signs that you may notice in your pet at home that may or may not be on display when you bring them in to see your veterinarian:
  • Decrease in social interactions with owners and other pets.
  • Weight gain due to inactivity
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Weight loss due to decrease in feed consumption
  • Increase in vocalization when approached or touched
  • Consistently lowered head, ears and partial eye closure
  • Skin twitching or avoidance when petted
  • What Can I Do if My Pet is in Pain?

There are several resources listed below that we utilize as professionals to help give an objective pain score to our patients, however they can also be easily understood and used by pet owners.

http://www.vasg.org/pdfs/CSU_Acute_Pain_Scale_Canine.pdf

http://www.vasg.org/pdfs/CSU_Acute_Pain_Scale_Kitten.pdf

https://www.fourleg.com/media/Helsinki%20Chronic%20Pain%20Index.pdf  

While these lists are not exhaustive, they can provide a good reference to owners to know what may warrant a closer evaluation by your veterinarian.  We recommend that pets be evaluated regularly by our staff so that we might be able to help provide an objective measurement of pain.  Pets over the age of six should generally be seen every 6 months to not only assess pain, but other conditions that are much more easily handled early on, such as dental abnormalities, skin conditions and growths, and weight fluctuations.