As animal lovers, the last thing we want to think about is our pet being hurt or uncomfortable and going unnoticed. It can be difficult to determine when your pet is in pain, but we are here to help!
Animal Pain Awareness Month
September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, and during this month we join thousands of veterinarians around the world to raise awareness about animal pain, signs to look for, and how to best manage your pet’s pain.
Unfortunately, animals can’t tell us when they are hurting, how badly they are hurting, or if they don’t feel well. Many animals have adapted through evolution to be masters of disguising pain to avoid the attention of predators. As pet parents, it is important when spending time with our pets to make note of any changes in their routines, behavior, or health that may indicate something awry. Early detection allows for early intervention and treatment which can help our beloved pets on the road to recovery.
Signs and Symptoms
Acute pain and trauma injuries can be easy to recognize in animals as vocalizations, limping, and visual open wounds will catch our attention. However, there are other ways of knowing if your pet is not feeling well. Here are some common signs that your pet may be in pain:
- Changes in bathroom habits
- Decreased appetite and hydration
- Decreased grooming as the area may be too painful to touch
- Difficulty standing after resting
- Excessive and focused licking, grooming, or chewing areas of the body
- Excessive sleeping
- Growling or increased aggression in dogs
- Heavy panting
- Hiding or refusing to come when called
- Hissing or spitting in cats
- Hunching in cats
- Lack of agility
- Loss of interest in playing and curiosity
- Reduced activity
- Reluctance to run or jump
- Shifts in routine, especially in favorite areas of rest
- Trembling or shaking
- Weight loss
Many times, pain can be dismissed as signs of age or becoming older; age is not an illness and should not be painful. If your pet is showing these signs, please contact our veterinarian. It is also important to note that these signs will have to be compared to your pet’s normal behavior and personality. For example, excessive sleeping can be harder to spot in cats than in some dogs.
Managing Your Pet’s Pain
If you notice your pet displaying one or more of these signs, we strongly recommend contacting your vet to schedule an appointment. Even if you consider the change to be minor, your vet will be able to determine through a comprehensive examination if any ailment or condition is affecting your pet’s health.
There are many treatment options available to help treat and relieve pain in animals including medication, physical therapy, supplements, acupuncture, laser therapy, and massage. During your pet’s diagnosis, we will discuss possible treatment options for your pet’s care and help you determine which is the right one for their overall health and wellbeing.
Important Fact – Anything that would cause you pain or discomfort will absolutely cause your pet pain and discomfort. Even if you don’t recognize the pain in your pet they are in pain and dealing with it in their own ways. The pain of any pet should never be ignored.