Whatever their age, we all know that pets can suffer from pain just like people do. Pain can be acute (short-term) and obvious, or it can be chronic (long-term) and less obvious – sometimes masked as getting old or slowing down. Pain can be caused by many different things, and the good news is that to treat pain in animals, we have lots of different treatment options available including medications, acupuncture and physical rehabilitation techniques.
During September we’re highlighting Animal Pain Awareness Month, to remind everyone that regardless of whether the pain is acute, chronic, obvious or less obvious, as vets we can provide a range of pain management options for your pet, and together with you as the pet owner, we can ensure that our furry friends stay happy, healthy and importantly – pain free, into their elderly years.
There are some common signs of pain in your pet which I thought to explain. You might notice your pet is not playing as much as normal, or showing decreased activity. Your dog may not want to go up and down the stairs, or it may be be reluctant to jump into or out of the car. Cats may be reluctant to jump up onto surfaces. Especially during the colder mornings, dogs may have difficulty standing up after they’ve been lying down. Many of these examples may be related to the pets suffering from osteoarthritis.
Pets who display a reduced appetite may be suffering from mouth pain, such as dental problems or conditions affecting the tongue or throat. Pets can also lick and over-groom particular areas of their body if they feel pain, irritation or discomfort. Cats are normally very good at keeping their coat in good condition through regular grooming, so if you notice that their coat is becoming matted or the pet is not grooming themselves as much, it can imply that they might be in pain – such as from osteoarthritis which can reduce their ability to easily twist around to groom their body.
Sometimes our pets may exhibit unusual or changed behaviour, such as being aggressive, biting or demonstrating guarding behaviour if they are in pain.
If you notice any of these signs and are concerned that your pet may be in pain, I’d strongly suggest you book in for a consultation at our vet hospital or arrange for a mobile vet visit to your home. We can then perform a full physical examination of your pet and assess their level of pain, determine what might be causing it, and implement a pain management plan.
There’s nothing worse than seeing an animal in pain, and as the team here at the Animal Happiness Vet is all about keeping our animals happy, if you have any queries or concerns about your special canine or feline friend, then please contact us as we’ll be only too happy to help you and your pet.
IVAPM Animal Pain Awareness Month https://ivapm.org/animal-pain-awareness-month/
Palliative care: http://animalhappinessvet.com.au/palliative-care/