dog pain

SUFFERING IN SILENCE?

IS YOUR PET IN PAIN?

OBVIOUS SIGNS OF PAIN

Most pet owners can notice obvious signs that their pet is in pain. These include limping, difficulty getting up after rest, and stiffness. Some animals may moan or yelp too.

LESS OBVIOUS SIGNS OF PAIN

Many pets hide their pain really well. Less obvious signs of pain include withdrawing from the family, changes in appetite and drinking, licking at joints, reluctance to jump, sleeping in different places, an anxious facial expression, behaviour changes including aggression, house soiling, and the vet’s favourite…just slowing down.

DIAGNOSING PAIN IN PETS

Your vet should do a very careful physical examination. This may start with watching your pet walk in straight lines, in circles, and maybe over obstacles. It can be very useful if you are able to video your pet at home to show how they jump (or don’t!) and move. This is especially useful for cats who often won’t move at the vet clinic!

Next your vet will feel all over your pet’s body and move all the joints. They may ask for dogs to be muzzled as the examination can be painful.

In some cases imaging of joints may be recommended, but in other cases a presumptive diagnosis will be made and treatment started.

TREATING PAIN IN PETS

MEDICATIONS

Don’t be afraid of medications! Modern non-steroidal drugs have minimal side-effects and can be used safely for long periods of time. They may be required for a short period of time if your pet has an injury, or longer with chronic conditions like arthritis. Regular blood tests are recommended with most medications to monitor your pet’s health. Do not use human medications as many are toxic to pets.

FOOD SUPPLEMENTS

Joint supplements are very popular. Few have shown any significant benefit in clinical trials, but most are unlikely to do any harm. Green lipped mussel is better supported by studies than other ingredients. Although most supplements are very safe it is advisable to speak to your vet before starting one to be sure it is suitable for your pet.

HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS

Everyone talks about turmeric, and it is a useful and powerful herb. But other herbs may be more suitable for your pet. Herbs can interact with conventional drugs so always speak to your vet before starting a herbal treatment (or ask for referral to a holistic vet!).

ACUPUNCTURE

Acupuncture can be very useful for muscular pain and is tolerated well by most pets. Pets with chronic pain may need regular treatments to keep them moving comfortably.

LASER

Class 4 laser therapy (also called photobiomodulation) can aid wound healing, improve blood flow to injured areas, and seems useful for painful joint and muscle conditions. Many veterinary practices now offer laser therapy. Red light machines sold for home use are less effective as they don’t penetrate deep into tissues.

PHYSICAL THERAPIES

Hydrotherapy, osteopathy, massage, and physiotherapy can all help your pet build muscle and improve their range of motion. They can also be really useful for pets who need to lose weight.

WEIGHT AND EXERCISE CONTROL

These two are free and are maybe the most important things we can do! Your veterinary practice will be able to advise on safe weight loss and exercise programmes.

WORRIED THAT YOUR PET IS IN PAIN?

Don’t worry any more! Call your vet and find out. Then, if you want to include some evidence based complementary therapy, get in touch with us!

Email health@holisticvetsussex.co.uk