The venerable International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) designated September as Animal Pain Awareness month. Along with animal hospitals around the world, Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital is proud to be part of the initiative.
Unlike us, the pets we know and love cannot tell us where they hurt. Symptoms of pet pain are often so subtle they can get overlooked and even become dangerously out of hand. When we band together to help them, companion animals experience the comfort and relief they deserve.
Part of the Solution
Pet pain is very real. While symptoms can definitely go unnoticed, affected animals benefit from intervention and management. Left alone, pet pain can diminish quality of life and possibly reduce longevity.
Us Versus Them
If we hurt, we complain about pain and then promptly look for solutions. We may pop pain relieving medicine, get a massage, or soak in the hot tub. Pets, on the other hand, cannot express the way they feel in words. However, they generally respond to pain with slight changes in mood or behavior patterns. Even closely involved pet owners have no idea that their pets are hurting.
Being Aware of Pet Pain
Pet pain can be divided into three types:
- Postoperative – Following a surgical procedure, a pet is likely to suffer sharp pain at the incision site for some time.
- Chronic – Brought on by age-related illness, such as osteoarthritis, cancer, or stemming from a previous traumatic injury, chronic pain can deplete a pet’s day to day energy levels and personality.
- Acute – Probably the most noticeable type of pet pain, acute pain is usually severe enough to be noticed. A pet may howl or whine to cope with sensations connected to sudden illness or injury.
Pet owners can be more aware of pet pain by taking note of their pet’s appearance and behaviors. Are they walking normally? Are they responding to things, like walks or treats, as they would ordinarily? Are they hiding or isolating themselves? Are they shying away from being touched or gently handled?
The Signs of Pet Pain
When pet owners are aware of pet pain symptoms we can all do our part to treat and manage them. Amazingly, pet pain medications, physical rehabilitation, massage, laser therapy, acupuncture and more can all go a long way toward mitigating painful sensations.
Raising the Bar
By raising awareness of pet pain and advocating for the myriad ways to support a pet’s comfort and wellbeing, we’re helping to change the tide. Along with other veterinary hospitals and IVAPM, we hope to positively impact the animals we know and love.