Veterinary medicine has made great progress in understanding how animals feel pain and the best ways to manage that pain. Many animals will instinctively hide their pain as a survival mechanism which in the past led to incorrect assumptions about the ability of dogs and cats to feel pain. Because we now understand more about how pets feel pain, we know how to recognize it and manage it.
Effective pain management reduces patient stress and helps the recovery process from injury, surgery, illness or other diseases processes. Understanding pain is an important part of pain management. There are two different types of pain in pets - acute pain and chronic pain.
Acute pain comes on suddenly as a result of an injury, surgery, inflammation or infection. It can be extremely uncomfortable for your pet and it may limit her mobility. The good news is that it's usually temporary and goes away when the condition that causes it is treated. We offer pain management with every surgical procedure for both the comfort of the patient, and to speed the recovery process.
Chronic pain lasts longer and can develop more slowly than acute pain. Common sources of chronic pain are Osteoarthritis or dental disease. Animals that suffer from chronic pain often have subtle clinical signs that collectively make them appear older than they really are. The longer the pain goes on, the harder it is to control so we always want to treat this pain early.
Signs that your pet might be in pain can be specific like walking with a stiff gait, rising slowly, sitting in unusual positions or constantly changing positions to find the most comfortable position. However, sometimes the signs are subtle like a change in activity level or developing new and inappropriate behavior. Unusual vocalizations like whining, whimpering, howling, or constantly meowing could be another indicator. If you notice any new or strange behaviors in your pet it could be an indicator of discomfort.
When pain is correctly assessed and treated, patients respond with increased vigor and a sense of well being that owners recognize and appreciate.