Aches and pains – they are a part of life. Almost every pet owner can relate to “waking up on the wrong side of the bed.” A pulled muscle, aching joint, a bump on the leg, a pinched nerve…..these issues can ruin your day or make it much less enjoyable. As we age, these problems generally become more frequent and, unfortunately, more significant when they happen.
It should come as no surprise that our four legged companions have very similar problems that they may face in their daily lives. It’s important to look for specific signs that your dog or cat may exhibit. You can use this information to determine whether or not it’s time to see us at Ebenezer Animal Hospital.
Signs of pain and discomfort in dogs and cats include:
- Vocalization: Whining, hissing, spitting, or moaning. All of these signs indicate discomfort.
- Tenderness when the affected limb or joint is palpated. This may or may not involve visible aggression from your pet.
- Lack of activity. This includes wagging the tail and moving from room to room in the house.
- Cats that purr less or purr more than normal may actually be in pain.
- Decreased appetite and water consumption.
- Reluctance to use the bathroom.
- Dragging the front or hind limbs, knuckling of the limbs, or lack of response when the limb is touched.
- Limping on one or multiple legs
- Frequent posture changes and stretching of the front or back limbs.
- Hiding under furniture or escaping to high places (cats).
With some dogs or cats, determining the source of pain or discomfort is easy. Excessive play the day before may manifest itself as a visible limp. Other signs, especially in cats, may be more difficult to spot. If you suspect that your pet has been in pain or is uncomfortable for more than 24 hours, a visit to us is always recommended. Using various techniques in our physical examination and other diagnostics such as x-ray, we can pinpoint the areas of discomfort and suggest relevant treatment. Most of the time this will involve some sort of medication. Based on your pet’s age and activity level, we can recommend an appropriate combination that will best serve your pet.
Drugs are not the answer to all sources of pain and discomfort in pets. Many factors including specific diseases may limit our ability to use commonly prescribed medications for pain and discomfort. Thankfully we have multiple therapies that we can recommend at our hospital that exert little to no stress on the internal organs in pets. These include, but are not limited to, laser therapy, supplements, and diet change. In the coming months we will be one of the only hospitals in the region who will offer acupuncture, a therapy that involves no drugs whatsoever. Stay tuned!
If you have a pet that has ANY kind of pain that persists, please avoid common over the counter medications for humans. These drugs can be HIGHLY toxic to your pet. These medications include Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Acetaminophen. ALWAYS consult with us before using an over the counter medication!
Chronic pain is never fun whether you’re a human or their furry companion. Call us today if you think your pet could benefit from some pain management!