The Most Common Chronic Pain Issues Our Pets Face

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month! And for most pet parents, this doesn’t mean much. Their dog, cat, rabbit, or other pet seems to get along just fine. But we want to take the time to pay special attention to the hidden pains some pets face.

When we think of pain, we often think about broken bones, cuts, scrapes, and bruises. These are all forms of acute pain. But when it comes to our pets, it’s helpful to be aware of chronic pain. Chronic pain is sharp or dull pain that recurs or persists over a longer period of time.

Chronic pain is ultimately more complex because it can increase gradually and it doesn’t always have physical, apparent evidence like bruises, bumps, and cuts. Chronic pain also ebbs in severity. Often pet parents think their pet feels better just to find the same pet limping, again, a week later.

Our Pets and Pain

Our pets can mask chronic pain. And from time to time, owners aren’t aware that their sweet pet isn’t sleeping well, has trouble getting up from their bed. Sometimes chronic pain looks more like reluctance or old age. For example, a pet may want to participate and play, but they hold back due to pain. Why? Their pain slows them down or makes them withdrawal more despite the desire to engage.

What Causes Pets Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain can come in many forms and the causes can be just as varied. The most common forms of chronic pain include:

  • Joint pain
  • Cancer
  • Dental pain
  • Digestive pain
  • Skin irritation and rash
  • Urinary infection and issues
  • Skeletal issues like spinal disk slips
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Virus related disease

Many causes of chronic pain are invisible to the untrained eye. Dental disease and discomfort can go unnoticed for weeks, months, and even years, but the throbbing discomfort often comes to light when a pet stops eating or loses a tooth. And the gradual onset of arthritis, cancer, and nerve pain hides within its slow progression. In other words, dogs don't wake up one day suffering from arthritis.

This is why we dedicated this time to chronic pain. We want you to participate in a meaningful way. How can you do that?

How You Can Participate In Animal Pain Awareness Month

Take a moment and evaluate your pet for signs of chronic pain. You see your pet every day. But how often do you take a moment to check for skin irritation or inflamed gums? Here are some basic checks you can knock out in a matter of thirty minutes or less or a few minutes daily for the next week or so.

1. Pay attention to how your pet walks. 
  • Does your pet limp? 
  • Does she seem to walk more slowly than she used to?
2. Notice how your pet lifts herself up after lying down or how she climbs stairs. 
  • Does she seem to hesitate before or while standing up?
  • Do her muscles shake or does she seem weak? 
  • Has she slowed down significantly over the past year?
3. Check for hesitation. 
  • Does your pet pause before jumping? 
  • Does she lag behind on walks?
  • Does she jump or get excited then seem to change her mind?
4. Do a quick dental check. This can be a little tougher with cats (we are happy to help). 
  • Does your pet have any broken teeth? 
  • Does your pet have swollen or red gums? 
  • How much plaque or buildup is clinging to her teeth?
  • Are her teeth discolored?
5. Assess how well your pet rests. 
  • Does your pet seem to have trouble getting comfy? 
  • Does she get up and pace or reposition herself? 
  • Does she wake frequently?
6. Check your pet’s urinary and digestive health. 
  • Does your pet strain to urinate? 
  • Is her urine dark, discolored, or show a presence of blood? 
  • Does your pet throw up or experience diarrhea often?
  • Does your cat cry out while urinating or seem to avoid her litter box?
7. Notice changes in mood or disposition. 
  • Does your pet seem more reclusive or aggressive? 
  • Did her temper seem to shorter? 
  • Does your pet seem to spend too much time sleeping?

Pain Management for Pets

Don’t let chronic pain rain on your pet’s joy. We can help your pet cope with and even overcome chronic pain to restore a better quality of life. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it’s a good idea to bring your pet by for an exam.

We can look in those ears to see if she’s scratching herself raw from allergies, mites, or yeast infection. We are also happy to peer deep into your dog’s mouth to assess those chompers that might make eating a painful experience.

Joint discomfort and arthritis can often be treated with NSAIDs and a diet. A quality bed can also help your pet sleep better.

But the most beneficial thing you can do for your beloved pet is to identify the source of her pain.

Let’s work together to say “Good-bye!” to chronic pain for pets. Give us a call today to give your pet the opportunity for less pain.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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