Animals suffer from pain like we do, however, they cannot express it verbally as we do. Pain comes in many forms from surgical pain to arthritis and cancer pain. Pain can either be acute or chronic.
So what is Chronic vs Acute Pain?
Acute Pain: Usually this type of pain comes on suddenly and is caused by something specific. This type of pain should not last more than 6 months and goes away when there is no longer an underlying cause for the pain. Some examples of causes of acute pain include Surgery, Broken Bones, Dental Work, Burn, Cuts and Bites. Acute pain fades once the underlying condition is treated. Pets and their parents can resume life as usual.
Chronic Pain : This type of pain is ongoing and often last a lifetime. Meaning, that this pain can continue even after the injury or illness that caused it has healed or gone away. Such as, Arthritis, Cancer and Nerve Pain.
Now that you know the differences between acute and chronic pain, lets discuss some of the common signs of pain.
Common Signs of Pain in Canines:
Common Signs of Pain in Felines:
You are the first line of detection for pain in your pets. Any abnormal and inexplicable changes in behavior can be a sign of pain. Ultimately, if you suspect your pet is in pain, making an appointment with a vet is the next step. Your vet can find the underlying issue causing the discomfort. Sometimes injuries can be apparent such as a wound or broken bone, however, the cause will not always be so obvious.
You're probably wondering what your vet will prescribe you to manage your dogs pain. The treatment or treatments will depend strongly on what the underlying cause is. The most common medications your vet might recommend for you are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). PetMD suggests these medications can help reduce pain, swelling, stiffness, and any joint discomfort the pet may be feeling. Some of these drugs created specifically for animals include carprofen, deracoxib, firocoxib, and meloxicam. WARNING: HUMAN NSAIDs MAY BE TOXIC TO YOUR DOG, ALWAYS CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL BEFORE ADMINISTERING ANY HUMAN MEDICATIONS TO YOUR PET.
Managing Long Term Pain and Prevention of Pain
Although pain medicines work as a temporary fix, the ultimate goal is pain relief and prevention. A change in food may work towards this goal, because food and other products that are high in omega-3s can helop alleviate joint inflammation.
Depending on the condition, certain supplements may also be recommend. For example, dogs with arthiritis can be given turmeric, glucosamine and chondrotin to help relieve bane and strengthen joints.
Weight management is a great preventative measure and eliminating measure for pain. Extra pounds can cause painful issues like pancreatitis, hip dysplasia, and it can make chronic conditions like arthritis worse. Feeding your pet the proper portion sizes based on their activity levels and keeping them on an exercise regime will keep your pets weight under control.
Other options such as physical therapy and acupuncture may also help relieve pain and discomfort when dealing with recovery from injury or with arthritis.
Overall, You know your pet the best. If you feel like something is wrong with them, trust your instinct and remember signs of pain can be subtle.