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Pet Pain Management: Signs and Treatment

September is Pain Awareness Month, which is why our team has created this guide to help you notice the signs of pain in your pets and manage it in the best way possible.

Signs Your Pet is in Pain

Your pet’s instinct is to hide that they’re in pain in order to not look weak as a survival instinct. However, there are a few signs that you can be on the lookout for and if they’re doing anything on this list, they could be in pain:

  • Sensitive to touch
  • Acting grumpy
  • Increased heart-rate
  • Changes in eating
  • Crying or yelping
  • Licking their paws
  • Trembling
  • Panting
  • Changes in sleeping pattern

Pain Treatment for Pets

If your pet is showing signs of pain, there are a multitude of ways that it can be treated. Here are the top three:

1. Weight Reduction and Nutrition

Ensuring that your pet is receiving proper nutrition will lower joint inflammation and in turn will help manage joint pain. Also, working with your vet to understand the proper weight for your pet and then making strides to reach that goal weight will greatly help with pain management.

2. Physical Rehabilitation

There are many types of physical rehabilitation that can help manage your pet’s pain. These include:

  • Massage / trigger point therapy: manipulating the soft tissues of the body which includes body mobilization techniques, passive range of motion for joints, and stretching of the tissues.
  • E-stim: electrical stimulation to help muscle loss for dogs with neurological problems. 
  • Laser therapy: a laser emits photons deep into the tissue and the light energy increases ATP production within the cell. ATP is the fuel that cells use to repair and rejuvenate themselves.
  • Acupuncture: stimulating the neuro-endocrine system to release serotonin and endorphins.
  • Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy increases resistance to help build muscle, hydrostatic effect puts pressure on the body providing pain relief, and buoyancy relieves joint pain.

3. Prescription Medications

Prescription pain medications increase a pet’s comfort so they are able to exercise. This allows them to maintain muscle mass and helps with weight control. Three types are:

  1. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): These drugs are designed to relieve pain and inflammation in the joints of dogs with arthritis. Drugs in this category include, Rimadyl, Carprofen, Meloxicam, and Deramaxx.  Galliprant is a newer NSAID that does not have as many side effects on the liver and the kidneys. 
  2. Gabapentin: Useful for treating chronic pain in dogs and cats. It is especially useful for treating pain related to back injuries or chronic disc disease. 
  3. Tramadol: Helpful for some patients with chronic pain, but in general it is less effective in dogs than it is in humans.  Dogs do not break Tramadol down into its active form, which is the form that relieves pain.

Caring for your Animal in Pain

If you have noticed a sign that your animal is in pain, work with your vet to create a treatment plan that is personalized to them. It is important to consider every pain management strategy to make sure your animal is being treated in the best way possible.

Contact Us

This month is pain management month, and our team is experienced in every service to make sure your animal is comfortable no matter the age. If you have a question about pain management or think your animal might be showing pain symptoms, reach out to us today! 

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