September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, and it's particularly important for us to talk about on behalf of the pets we adore.
Animals go through the same pains as humans. They simply aren't able to inform us about it. Consider what you know about pain, whether from an injury, arthritis, or after a procedure, as a starting point for understanding an animal's experience.
Understanding that not all pain is visible and that it isn't "simply becoming old" or "beginning to slow down" is the first step toward animal pain awareness. Because our pets are unable to express what and how much it hurts, we must learn to recognize signals of discomfort in them. We must also evaluate the changes in their symptoms over time.
When something hurts, many animals are known to be better at just moving on with their lives than we are. However, because it can disguise a condition, this isn't necessarily a positive thing. If your pet is limping or not playing as much as usual, they may have been in pain for a long time. This is especially true if the discomfort is chronic or slow to develop, such as arthritis or cancer. It is our responsibility as their carers to keep an eye out for potential problems so that we can intervene early.
Here are some warning signs to watch out for:
- Social engagement has decreased.
- Tense disposition
- Behaviour that is submissive
- In dogs, howling or growling is a common
- Appetite decreases
- Modifications in posture or gait
- Reduced activity levels
- Quiet/loss of interest
- Changes in urination and bowl movements
- In cats, hissing or spitting
- Inability to move quickly
- Licking/grooming/chewing excessively
If your pet shows any of these indicators of pain, it's critical to find out what's causing it as soon as possible. Visit your vet as soon as possible.
Management of Pain
The best aspect about determining the cause of pain is that it allows your veterinarian to choose the best course of action for safely and effectively managing it. There are a variety of solutions available, including noninvasive cold laser therapy (one of our favorites), prescription pain medications, vitamins, and even physical therapy. Do not give your pet non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain relievers without first visiting your veterinarian. Some have a very little margin of safety or should not be given at all.
Share Your Knowledge
Sharing what you know with others can be one of the best things you can do for Animal Pain Awareness Month! Education is priceless. And it might just make a difference in an animal's ability to live a longer, more comfortable life!