Animals suffer from pain just like people do. Pain comes in many forms: surgical pain, arthritis and cancer-related pain, just to name a few. Animal pain awareness begins with understanding that not all pain is obvious, and it certainly isn’t “just getting old” or “starting to slow down”. Our pets can’t describe what or how much it hurts, so we need to know how to observe signs of discomfort. Many animals are better at getting on with their days when something hurts than we are. This isn’t really a good thing, though, considering it can mask a condition. If a pet is showing visible pain, particularly with regard to something chronic or slow to develop, like arthritis or cancer, they might have been hurting for quite a while before they began limping or stopped playing as much. It’s up to us, their caregivers, to keep an eye out for possible problems so we can seek early intervention.
Here are some common signs to look for:
* Decreased socialization
* Anxious expression
* Howling or growling in dogs
* Guarding behavior
* Decreased appetite
* Changes in posture or gait
* Reduced activity
* Quiet/loss of curiosity
* Changes in urinary/defecation habits
* Hissing or spitting in cats
* Lack of agility
* Excessive licking/grooming/chewing
Once your veterinarian is able to diagnose the cause of your pets pain they can then determine the best course of action to manage it safely and effectively. There are several options that range from non-invasive cold laser therapy to prescription pain relievers, supplements, or even physical therapy. Do not give your pet over-the-counter medication or other pain relievers without consulting your veterinarian first.
If your pet exhibits one or more of these signs, they may be experiencing pain. Schedule an appointment today to address any health issues right away so your pet can lead a pain-free life.