What if you couldn’t tell your doctor that you were in pain? Animals suffer from pain just like we do. Pain comes in many forms: surgical pain, arthritis and cancer, just to name a few. Acute pain is obvious and distressing. Chronic pain can be subtle, and masked as “getting old” or “slowing down.” Age is not a disease, but pain is. There are many options to treat the various causes of pain in animals including pain medications, physical rehabilitation and acupuncture.
Decades ago, veterinarians believed that pain helped keep dogs quiet so they could heal faster. In addition, the prevailing thought was that there wasn’t any accurate way to know whether a dog was feeling pain or needed relief. Today’s veterinarians have ushered in a new way of looking at dog’s pain management for your four-legged friend. Many vets now claim that they administer pain medication until there is proof that a dog isn’t hurting.
Why dog’s pain management is important?
Veterinary medicine has made pain management a top priority. Organizations such as the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine Center for the Management of Animal Pain, the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Companion Animal Pain Management Consortium are devoting a lot of time and resources to study pain and pain management in animals. These studies have shown that pain relief may be able to speed the recovery process, whether from surgery or injury. Most importantly, pain relief may help your dog live longer because it reduces stress and increases her sense of well-being.
Acute pain is a sudden onslaught as a result of an injury, surgery, or infection and can make your dog extremely uncomfortable and possibly limit her mobility. This pain seldom lingers, usually disappearing when the condition that caused it is treated.
Chronic pain usually develops slowly and is long lasting. Common sources of chronic pain are age-related disorders such as arthritis, but it can also be caused by illnesses such as cancer or bone disease. This pain is the hardest to deal with because it can go on for years, sometimes even for the rest of the dog’s life. And because it develops slowly, some dogs learn to tolerate the pain and live with it, making detection difficult.
Common Signs of Pain in Dogs
- Decreased social interaction
- Anxious expression
- Submissive behavior
- Refusal to move
- Guarding behavior
- Aggression; biting
- Decreased appetite
- Self-mutilation (chewing)
- Changes in posture
Read more about dog’s pain management at dogtime.com