We all experience discomfort, to varying degrees: from a dull ache that is tolerable to more severe discomfort or even intolerable pain. Do our pets feel the same pain? Of course they do. Pets exhibit the same signs of pain as humans: slow movement or a reluctance to walk, reduced appetite, and so on. In some cases a pet may be painful enough to attempt biting when touched. Most humans don’t go so far as to bite another out of discomfort (well not all of us, anyway), but as good pet owners be watchful of the signs of pain.
Once observed, you may want to do whatever you can to relieve the pain–but if you are thinking of giving your pet one of your own pain medications, do not be tempted! Certain human pain relievers, such as Tylenol, Advil and Aleve can be extremely dangerous, possibly fatal, if given to a dog or cat. Always consult your veterinarian, first. At Ansley we can answer many questions by phone.
How do we prevent and recognize pain in our pets? The first step is to schedule regular physical exams for your furry friend and talk to your veterinarian about any observed abnormalities.
Trust your judgement. If you feel something is “just not right” have it checked out.
A few of the most commonly diagnosed medical conditions that can cause pain are: soft tissue injuries, arthritis, and even periodontal disease. That’s right, periodontal disease. Dental issues can cause serious pain. If your pet suddenly loses interest in his food, drools or starts to paw at his mouth, he or she could have tooth pain. If your pet is limping more than a few days, slow to rise, or stiff after exercise, he/she may have arthritis. Your veterinarian will consider the signs he elicits upon examination, take into account the pets’ medical history, and maybe run tests (such as blood work and/or x-rays) to make a diagnosis. If our pets could talk to us and tell us what’s wrong, this would be a lot easier.
Perhaps you are wondering how the veterinarian manages your pet’s during and after a surgical or dental procedure. If we anticipate a painful procedure, the pet is given an injection prior to the procedure to maintain comfort during and after. Sometimes, this is all your needs. But other times, you will be given pain medications to administer at home for a short period of time.
If your pet has had a procedure and you find that they are in discomfort the next day, you and the doctor can discuss adding/changing pain medications if needed. Remember to always administer the prescription according to directions and do not give any substitutes without your veterinarian’s permission.
Pain can be an isolated incident that is treated with strict rest, or could be a condition that leaves your pet relying on medication for comfort throughout their life. Our main goal is to keep your pet healthy and comfortable and whatever we need to do to achieve that is our first priority.