Posted on Jan.05, 2012, under Tutorial
Animals, just like people, feel pain when they are injured or sick. However recognizing pain in animals can be difficult because animals do not act the same way that people do when they are in pain. You can play an important role in helping your pet’s pain by learning to recognize some common indicators of pain and discomfort. Physical Signs (change in heart rate, enlarged pupils, heavy breathing, slowed reflexes) and Behavioral Signs (reduced appetite, withdrawn behavior, anxiety, mood or personality changes, irritability etc.)
Because signs of pain can be subtle and difficult to recognize, animals suspected of being in pain are usually treated and watched for improvement. Many animals benefit from treatment with combinations of different types of analgesic drugs, rather than just one type. When analgesic drugs are prescribed in combination, a smaller than usual dose of each can usually provide adequate pain relief. Animals in pain can also have anxiety, so a veterinarian might prescribe an anxiety drug for use after analgesic drugs have been given. If pain relief medication is given consistently for several days, the dose should be decreased gradually rather than stopped abruptly.
For many animals, nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are useful as part of pain management after surgery or to relief chronic pain. NSAIDs work by reducing inflammation, one cause of pain. NSAIDs intended for use in humans should never be given to your pet unless specifically prescribed by your veterinarian.
As in acute pain, both drug and nondrug methods can be used to treat chronic pain. Some drugs that relieve acute pain are also used to treat chronic pain, such as opioids and NSAIDs. Nondrug treatment of chronic pain depends on both the cause of the pain and the species of animal. For example, in a dog suffering from osteoarthritis pain, the goals of treatment are to increase the dog’s ability to move around, to limit the progression of the disease, and even to help repair the tissue within the affected joints. Some or all of these goals might be achieved by weight control, moderate exercise etc. Treatment with certain protective agents such as chondroitin sulfate or glucosamine may help heal the cartilage, prevent further breakdown of the cartilage and stimulate cartilage regrowth.
photo by allie