Pain and pain management in pets has changed dramatically in the last decade. We used to think that it was good to have an animal in pain, as this would decrease their activity and increase the healing process. Now we know that this is not true. Pain management helps reduce stress and speed recovery; in fact, it may help your pet live longer.
Types of pain:
- Acute pain: A broken leg or surgery are good examples of acute pain. It comes on suddenly and is usually only temporary.
- Chronic pain: Arthritis is a good example of chronic pain and is the most common reason for pain management in pets. Chronic pain has a slow onset and typically lasts for the rest of the pet’s life. Chronic pain can be difficult to detect because the animal becomes accustomed to the pain.
Symptoms of pain:
- Excessive vocalization
- Licking or chewing at an area
- Behavioral changes
- Inability to get comfortable
Treatment of pain needs to begin when you notice these symptoms. The medical condition that is causing pain needs to be diagnosed by your veterinarian so that proper treatment and appropriate pain medication can begin.
Pain management in pets:
- Medication: The most common medication that we use in veterinary medicine is NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These drugs are like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Tylenol. It’s important to stay away from the human products in pets as they have many bad side effects, and some can even cause death. In chronic pain we often use a combination of pain medications (gabapentin and amantadine) that work at different sites to help stop the pain.
- Assisi Loop: The Assisi loop is an electronic device that uses pulsed electromagnetic fields to aid in healing
- Laser therapy: This technology uses different light frequencies to increase blood flow, speed up healing, and reduce inflammation and pain.
- Physical therapy: This is becoming a common mode of pain management in pets, especially after surgery to help speed recovery.
- Dietary changes: If your pet is overweight, getting your pet to a healthy weight will help decrease the strain on their joints and help them to live a longer life. Prescription diets, like Hill’s j/d, are formulated to help lubricate the joints and reduce pain.
- Underwater treadmill
If your pet is exhibiting signs of pain or you are interested in pain management for your pet contact Guthrie Pet Hospital today.
Canine cognitive dysfunction is a behavioral condition that occurs in older patients and is like Alzheimer’s in people. A recent study done at the University of California showed that this syndrome affected 32% of 11-year-old dogs and 100% of dogs over 16 years of age. The disease has a gradual onset, and most people fail to recognize early signs and chalk it up to the normal aging process.
Canine cognitive dysfunction symptoms:
- excessive vocalization
- accidents in the house
- decreased interaction with family members
- wake-sleep cycle disturbances
Like Alzheimer’s patients, canine cognitive dysfunction occurs due to a buildup of a specific type of protein called amyloid in the brain.
Several treatment options are available. Since we are unable to reverse the amyloid deposits already present it is important to start treatment early to prevent further deposition of this protein. We can’t make the amyloid deposits go away, but we can help prevent more buildup which will help decrease the symptoms.
- Purina Bright Minds is a diet that helps promote alertness and mental sharpness in dogs over 7 years old. I recommend this as the first line of defense, especially when symptoms are mild.
- Purina Neurocare is a prescription diet that was developed to support cognitive support in dogs.
- A drug by the name of Anipryl (selegiline) is FDA approved for the treatment of this disease.
- There are a variety of dietary supplements such as antioxidants and fatty acids that can help.
- You can teach your old dog new tricks! If he can’t hear then teach him hand signals and if he can’t see, then teach him by touch or smell.
A two-year study showed the combined effect of a special diet and enriched environment provided the greatest improvement in learning ability when compared to the dogs that did not have either dietary or environmental enrichment.
If your pet is showing symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction contact Guthrie Pet Hospital for a full physical and diagnostic testing to determine the cause.
I think Benjamin Franklin put it best when he said, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ He was saying that it’s better to try and avoid problems in the first place, rather than trying to fix them once they arise. What exactly does this have to do with veterinary medicine? Everything! Preventative medicine is the foundation of staying healthy for you and your furry friends. Pet immunization is just the tip of the iceberg.
Pet immunization is an important aspect of preventative medicine. All puppies and kittens should have three series of vaccines typically at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. The mother’s milk provides antibodies to protect puppies and kittens from contagious disease. These antibodies start to decrease between 8 to 12 weeks of age, and that’s why we start to vaccinate during this time frame. We are trying to stimulate the animal’s immune system to develop protection on their own before the mother’s protection is completely gone and most importantly, before they get exposed to the real disease. After this initial series of pet immunization, adult animals need yearly vaccinations.
But it’s not just all about the “shots.” The physical exam is the most important aspect of the visit. A comprehensive physical exam involves checking every aspect of the animal from head to tail. During puppy/kitten exams, your veterinarian is primarily looking for congenital birth defects and parasites. Animals age faster than we do, so an annual exam to them is like you going to the doctor every seven years. Annual examinations help us to detect and treat diseases early before your pet starts showing symptoms.
In animals, parasite prevention is as important as vaccinations. 34% of dogs in the United States are infected with intestinal parasites. 1-3 million people are infected with hookworms from their pets each year. The CDC recommends at least once a year deworming for intestinal parasites. It’s also important to keep the environment free from all fecal material to prevent infection from you and your pet. Heartworms, a blood parasite, are easily prevented with monthly medication that is only available through a veterinarian. There are 244,000 dogs diagnosed with heartworms every year in the United States. Heartworm prevention cost an average of $6.00/month. Heartworm treatment can cost $500-$1000 and left untreated heartworms can be fatal.
The jingling of tags on a collar. The low whistling whines. The inevitable sound of “lick, lick, lick” that brings you out of a dead sleep and is the pet owner equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. “STOP!” Silence. You lay back down, settle into your pillow, and then- “lick, lick, lick.” This is the song of an itchy pet.
Just reading that probably raised your anxiety level by a good four notches. Your dog is not doing that to drive you crazy, nor does he likely have a severe neurosis or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Odds are your dog is dealing with the same thing a considerable part of the human population is currently, which is seasonal allergies. Like humans, dogs and cats can have allergic reactions to pollens, mold, chemicals, and food.
Where we humans tend to go for the more dramatic reaction like sneezing and puffy red eyes, dogs and cats often present with skin issues and even gastrointestinal issues, which are not the first thing you generally associate with allergies. Pollens can settle on the pet’s skin and cause irritation, which creates an itchy pet, which can result in hair loss or skin scrapes or cuts. Open wounds can become infected, causing even more discomfort and irritation, which leads to increased scratching, and soon, you have a miserable dog or cat that needs serious medical attention.
Fleas are often blamed for itching and scratching, and rightfully so, but sometimes the pet has an allergic reaction to the flea saliva. In these cases, it is imperative that you stay ahead of the flea infestation.
How to relieve your itchy pet:
So, what can you do to make your dog or cat more comfortable so you both can get a good night’s sleep? First, make sure you don’t have a flea issue, and if you do, treat all the pets in the home and the environment. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best flea treatment for your pet, but you will also need to maintain efforts at home to keep them in check. Inside you will want to vacuum frequently around your pet’s bedding and areas they lay or sleep. Wash their bedding and blankets often. Treat outside areas with safe pet products to control fleas and ticks and keep the grass trimmed.
In the early spring and fall when pollen seems to hang in the air, try putting a light fabric shirt on your dog to keep the pollens off his skin. Bathing your itchy pet weekly in a cool bath with an oatmeal shampoo will remove the pollens and soothe the skin. Regular brushing will disperse natural oils throughout the coat to create a barrier for pollens and irritants. You might also consider paw socks or boots for extended outdoor time to keep allergens off their feet.
Letting your dog hang his head out of a car window is never a good idea, and doubly so when the air is full of things just waiting to make him sneeze. Roll those windows UP!
If despite your best efforts your pet is still scratching or chewing or sneezing or bumpy, don’t throw in the towel just yet. There are many pharmaceutical solutions your vet can prescribe, starting with simple antihistamines and progressing up to prescription medication in severe cases. Your itchy pet doesn’t have to suffer, and neither do you. The next time you are awakened by the “lick, lick, lick” take a moment to check your pet over. If you don’t see signs of fleas, it is probably time for a quick trip to the vet for a bit of allergy relief. You will both sleep better for it!
Anyone who spends any time outside is eventually bound to come across what looks like orphaned wildlife. Bunnies, birds, and kittens are the most frequently found and are responsible for the majority of calls for help from veterinarians. People are unsure if they should touch the animal, fearing the scent of a human will cause the mother to reject the baby. People sometimes fear that if the orphaned wildlife was abandoned, it must have been kicked out by the mother because it is diseased or injured.Continue…
Acquiring a new puppy is a huge responsibility. You are responsible for its health and well-being, so it’s important to understand what you need to provide. Food, love, and training are important but giving your puppy vaccinations may make the difference between life and death. The most important thing you can do for your puppy is vaccinating for Parvovirus.Continue…
Were you aware that until December 20, 2018, that hemp and its by-products were still considered illegal substances? The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 removed hemp also known as cannabis and its derivatives containing less than 3% THC from the Controlled Substance Act. Veterinarians discussing or selling CBD products before the passing of this bill were putting their license on the line. Due to the rising public interest in this topic, I am happy to be able to discuss CBD for pets. This will be the first of several posts to help you stay informed about CBC for pets. Continue…
Otitis externa which is inflammation of the inner ear canal is a very common problem of dogs. The most common primary cause is environmental allergies. Unlike people who develop watery eyes and sneeze, dogs tend to itch. Their ears itch turn red and are usually painful. A discharge usually develops, malodorous and either brownish or yellowish. Additionally, surface bacteria and yeast take advantage of the inflamed skin and cause a secondary infection. Continue…
Urination or defecation outside of the litter box is the most common behavior problem of cat owners. While occasionally these problems are related to health issues most of these problems are simple problems with the litter box that can be prevented. Continue…
Most people are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. During the Christmas and Easter holidays, Guthrie Pet Hospital sees an influx of calls and cases involving chocolate ingestion. Learn what you need to know about chocolate toxicity in pets. Continue…