When we have pa in, we complain But many animals, especially cats, instinctively hide pain to protect themselves from predators. The lack of obvious signs does not mean they aren’t experiencing pain. So how do you know when your pet’s in pain? First and foremost, if you suspect your pet is in pain, consult your veterinarian immediately to help diagnose the problem and discuss the available options. A physical exam by your veterinarian is essential, which may include lab and blood tests, X-rays, etc.
Veterinarians will recommend a treatment protocol. A variety of pain medications are available for pets, and many drugs come in easily administered forms such as liquids, skin patches or gels. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are often used to treat orthopedic-related pain with fewer side effects than steroids. Do not give your pet any medication without consulting your veterinarian.
Certain painkillers, including acetaminophen (found in Tylenol) or combinations of medications can be toxic to pets, even in very small doses. Complementary (or alternative) therapies are becoming more available.
Acupuncture is increasingly popular as a treatment for chronic pain. Homeopathy and holistic medicine are being practiced on animals.
Simple things you can do at home to help keep your pet comfortable:
- Massaging your pet will help relax and soothe him, and help you notice any unusual bumps or bruises that may need attention.
- Place extra padding wherever your pet sleeps to cushion his joints. • Use non-skid runners to make slippery surfaces safer.
- Grooming, especially when they no longer can do it themselves, will help your pet feel more comfortable.
- Put food and fresh water bowls at a comfortable height.
- Diet and exercise become more important with age, but especially when coping with disease or injury.
As you spend time caring for your pet and helping ease his pain, you’ll feel the bond with your pet actually increasing. Your energetic, playful friendship may eventually be replaced with the joy of a gentle, caring life together. Your veterinarian will work with you to customize a pain management regimen for your pet, making his life – and yours – as pain free as possible.