Pain in Animals
Just like people, animals do feel pain. But animals don’t tell us when they are in pain, in fact they try very hard to hide pain. Animals, no matter how long they have been domesticated, come from a prey-predator society where the predator eats the prey if the prey is ‘weak’. Like any other disease or debilitating condition, in this scenario, pain can be considered a weakness so animals hide pain. Also, animals want to make us happy or take care of us. So if we ask them to catch a ball or go along on a walk as our ‘guardian’ (maybe they really aren’t a guardian, but they think they are!), they will do it, no matter the ‘cost’ to them. Animals have the same neurologic pathway that causes pain in humans, so we are certain that animals feel pain. But we are also certain that pain in animals can be hard to detect.
Consequences of pain
Pain creates several problems for pets and people. Not only does pain decrease quality of life, it also often causes decreased appetite and sleep. Both food and sleep are necessary for healing. In addition, pain causes many physiologic effects that can impair healing and negative effects can occur just from the pain. For instance, pain can cause the pet stress, and stress can cause gastrointestinal ulcers (and many other side effects). So appropriate treatment of pain is very important, whether or not the pet ‘tells us’ that it is painful. The veterinarians at Riverview Animal Clinic are dedicated to identifying and treating pain and improving the quality of your pet’s life and making sure that pain does not cause negative effects for your pet.
Surgery and trauma (like being hit by a car or bitten by another pet) definitely cause pain in our pets. Because of the negative effects of pain mentioned above, it is important to treat that pain or the pet may not heal as quickly as it should, and untreated pain can cause long-lasting healthy problems for your pet. The veterinarians at Riverview Animal Clinic will assess your pet’s pain and provide pain relieving drugs in the hospital and will dispense pain relieving drugs for you to administer at home. EVEN IF YOUR PET DOES NOT SHOW PAIN, PLEASE ADMINISTER THE PAIN RELIEVING DRUGS. Not only will this make your pet more comfortable, since it probably is in pain but is just hiding the pain, it will also help your pet heal faster.
Like humans, animals experience chronic pain but chronic pain can be even harder to detect than acute pain because the pain occurs slowly and we may overlook the subtle signs of pain. Did your dog once like to play with balls but now just lies around the house with no energy? Was your cat able to jump up onto the counter to get treats or climb into a high-sided litterbox but now stays on the floor expecting treats to be delivered or gets to the litterbox but urinates (‘pees’) outside the box instead of climbing in? These can be signs of many diseases, including chronic pain, and it is important to have pets checked if abnormal behaviors like these develop. The most common sign of pain is change in behavior. And, yes, pets may slow down as they age, but they still should enjoy their favorite activity. Your dog may not be able to play ball as long as it used to, but the ball should still get that tail wagging! If it doesn’t, come to Riverview Animal Clinic for an examination that includes an assessment of chronic pain.
Because chronic pain can be very hard to treat, we offer a variety of drugs and treatment modalities for your pet. There are many treatment options for pain that are not backed by scientific research but the efficacy of acupuncture has been scientifically established and we are proud to offer it as one of our treatment modalities.
For more information about pain and the treatment of pain in your pet, please call us at Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022) or visit the pain website at Washington State University at http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/cliented/pain.aspx or the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society website at http://www.ivas.org/about-ivas/what-is-veterinary-acupuncture/
Cold Laser Therapy
Cold Laser is a painless, FDA-approved, scientifically sound modality that naturally decreases pain and inflammation. It increases the rate of healing at a cellular level in both acutely injured animals as well as in animals with chronic pain. It improves conditions such as arthritis, back or joint injuries, or debilitation associated with aging.
Neuro-muscular rehabilitation, massage, and gentle chiropractic care are often administered in conjunction with Cold Laser Therapy. All these modalities are administered by the experienced hands of Dr. Irene Lamberti, a chiropractor with extensive advanced training in veterinary orthopedic manipulation. Don’t be surprised if she gives you homework in the form of fun exercises to do with your animal to enhance the progress of healing.