When pets are in pain it’s very hard to detect, especially dogs. Their ancestors – wolfs, will never show signs of pain or weakness because it will show that he or she is vulnerable, and being vulnerable in the wild can be very dangerous. That’s why dogs don’t show us when they are sick or injured.
In recent years, veterinary medicine made progress in understanding how our pets feel pain and what is the best way to manage that pain. There are two different types of pain in pets – acute pain and chronic pain.
Acute Pain: It comes on suddenly as a result of an injury, surgery, inflammation or infection, and It can be extremely uncomfortable for your pet. The good news is that it’s usually temporary and goes away when the condition that causes this pain is treated. We offer pain management with every surgical procedure for both the comfort of the patient and to speed the recovery process. This may involve a preoperative injection which lasts a minimum of 24 hours so that the patient is comfortable upon waking, as well as ensuring a restful night’s sleep at home.
Chronic Pain: It’s pain that lasts longer than two weeks. It can result from acute pain that goes untreated or it can develop more slowly. Common sources of chronic pain are osteoarthritis, dental disease, and cancer. Animals that suffer from chronic pain often have subtle clinical signs that collectively make them appear older than they really are. And the longer the pain goes on, the harder it is to control so we always want to treat this pain early.
Most dogs experiencing pain alter their behavior in some way. A dog may be reluctant to climb stairs, show decreased activity, or resist being handled or picked up. Subtle signs may be our only clue that the dog is hurting.
Arthritis pain is common in older dogs. Anyone who has witnessed an older dog struggle to rise or be unable to stand after lying down can imagine the discomfort these dogs must endure.
Some signs of pain may include:
- Crying in pain
- Becoming quiet
- Increased licking
- Appetite reduction
- Reluctance to walk
- Go behind on walks
- Tail is tucked
- Doesn’t want to play
- Difficulty getting up
If your pet is undergoing a surgical or dental procedure, please ask your veterinarian what pain management will be provided. Most of these procedures require some postoperative pain management, though the duration of treatment will vary with the procedure. Generally, your pet will receive pain-relief medications before and after surgery or dentistry. Untreated pain is something that no pet should experience. By closely observing your pet for subtle signs of pain and working with your veterinarian, you can help your dog enjoy a pain-free life!
Please note: Do not treat your pet’s pain yourself. Most of the human pain relief can be extremely dangerous. Ask your veterinarian to diagnose and recommend appropriate treatment, so your pet can be comfortable as possible.