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In the past, it was often assumed that because they do not show any signs of pain, there was little need for pet’s pain management. However, modern evidence suggests that dogs and cats feel pain similar to that of humans, although they are evolutionarily programmed not to show it. Pain management is thus an important part of maintaining health and quality of life for your pet.
There are many different ways to categorize pain in both humans and animals:
In most cases, the type of pain is less important than the cause and treatment. Treatment is more effective if the problem is understood, and in some cases, treating the underlying cause can provide long-lasting pain relief for the patient. In cases where the cause of the pain is not easy to determine or is untreatable, the focus shifts to management.
Most experts agree that the main indicators of pain that should be used in evaluating pets are behavioral:
You, as your pet's owner, are in the best position to notice if your pet is behaving abnormally. Sometimes, however, this can be difficult to assess when the changes come on slowly.
In order to treat pain, the first thing that must happen is that it must be acknowledged. Because pets are so good at concealing pain, it is considered a vital part of routine care to assess pets for pain at our veterinary hospital. This involves not only examining the pet but also talking to you about your pet.
If there is concern that your pet may be in pain, treatment may be initiated to see if there is any difference observed. When a pet who is being treated for possible pain displays a positive response such as moving around more or seeming to be happier, this can be taken as a good indicator that the pet is in some pain. Drugs are the most common method of treating pain, but not all pain management comes from the pet pharmacy.
Besides drugs, pets may find pain relief through the use of acupuncture, physical therapy, laser and ultrasound therapy, and even things like hydrotherapy. There are many drugs that are well-tolerated in animals, even when long-term use is required. While people may be concerned that using drugs for pain management will lead to their pet's premature death, evidence suggests that the opposite is true. Uncontrolled pain is detrimental to health and can lead to suffering.
Here at Radford Animal Hospital, we provide routine care and much more for the pets of Radford, Dublin, Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and surrounding areas. The staff at our veterinary hospital are dedicated to providing your pet with the best possible quality of life, which includes effective pain management through options found at the pet pharmacy and alternative treatment. To make an appointment, call us today at (540) 639-3891.