Pain Management In Pets

pain management in pets

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:

  • Restlessness
  • 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
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Massage

If your pet is exhibiting signs of pain or you are interested in pain management for your pet contact Guthrie Pet Hospital today.

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