A Soft Touch: Recognizing and Handling Pet Pain
As wonderful as the journey of pet ownership can be, there are bound to be bumps in the road at some point. Pet pain is a common occurrence, and it can be surprisingly difficult to detect given the natural instinct most animals have to hide signs of pain or illness.
Managing pain is absolutely critical to the overall well being of any creature – but how do you know when your pet is in pain?
The Warning Signs of Pet Pain
Routine wellness exams and diagnostic testing are essential to the early detection and treatment of health issues. As a pet owner, you also play a pivotal role since you know your pet better than anyone else. Oftentimes, it’s your careful observation of changes in personality, habits, or appearance that first alert us to the fact that something is amiss.
Common signs of pet pain include:
- Breathing – Pets in pain may experience faster or more shallow breathing than normal, or they may pant excessively for no apparent reason.
- Personality – Just like with humans, pain can really transform a pet’s personality. Sudden aggression, hiding, cowering, or other behavioral changes should be reported to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Appetite – Loss of appetite and weight loss are very common symptoms of pet pain, especially in cases of dental disease when pain in the mouth can make eating difficult or impossible.
- Elimination – In some cases, pain can make it difficult for a pet to urinate or defecate. Bring your pet in to see us immediately if they’re experiencing any problems in this area.
- Mobility – An illness, injury, or chronic condition (such as arthritis) can make moving painful. A pet who’s limping, favoring one side, stumbling, or displaying a change in gait should be seen by a veterinarian.
- Restlessness – Restless behaviors, such as pacing, clinginess, difficulty getting comfortable, or inability to keep still, can indicate that your pet is in distress.
- Grooming – Most pets, especially cats, are fastidious groomers. However, if you notice your pet obsessively licking, scratching, or biting at a particular spot, pain may be the cause.
Pain Management Strategies
Treating and managing pain in pets is a top priority at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital. We offer a variety of pain management strategies tailored to meet the needs of each patient. Following an initial exam and diagnostic testing (if necessary), we may recommend one or more of the following options:
- Physical therapy
- Weight management
- Laser therapy
- Prescription diet
- Nutritional supplement
Please contact our team if you have additional questions about pet pain. We’re always here for you!