Animal Pain Awareness

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month. Recognizing signs of pain and understanding therapeutic options for your pet will allow you to take the proper steps to improve their quality of life.

Cats and dogs both experience pain for various reasons. However, unlike us, they are unable to verbalize how they are feeling. Pain can be both chronic and acute. Acute pain is often more noticeable since it appears rather suddenly. This could be the result of an injury, such as a bite, wound, or sprained/torn ligament. Acute pain may also be related to a recent surgical procedure. Chronic pain appears over a longer period of time, often caused by arthritis, dental infection, or certain cancers/diseases.

It is important to be able to identify signs of pain in your pet. In cats, you may notice hiding, decreased activity, decreased appetite, weight loss, changes in urination/defecation behaviors, excessive grooming, no grooming, and/or increased hissing or vocalizing. In dogs, signs of pain include whimpering, increased aggression/growling, decreased socialization, decreased appetite, changes in posture, and/or chewing legs/paws/skin.

Friendship Animal Hospital offers a variety of therapeutic options for pain management. K-Laser therapy is one of the best options available for treating soft tissue injuries, musculo-skeletal problems, wounds/traumas, and various forms of inflammation. K-Laser therapy uses specific wavelengths of laser light to increase circulation, facilitate tissue healing, and reduce inflammation. We also have supplements and diets available for both cats and dogs to improve joint health/mobility. If your pet’s pain is more advanced and chronic, they may require stronger medications such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, steroids (injectable or oral), or other analgesics including Tramadol or Gabapentin. Finally, there are pain management options available at specialized rehabilitation centers including physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture.

If you suspect your cat or dog is in any pain or discomfort, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. Dr. Panuska will be able to assess your pet’s condition and determine the best course of action to alleviate their pain and give them a better quality of life.