It can be very difficult to recognize pain in our pets. They are often very resilient and hide pain well. A thorough history and physical exam can help determine if your pet may be painful. Causes of pain include dental infections, ear infections, urinary tract disease, arthritis, cancer, and many others. The symptoms of these types of pain can be specific to the painful area (dropping food from the mouth due to a tooth ache) or be more general such as a decreased appetite, lethargy, or a change in normal behavior (won’t jump on the bed anymore due to joint pain). More obvious pain often occurs from injury or surgical procedures and the pet may limp, vocalize, or be reluctant to move at all.
There are many ways to manage pain in our patients. Medications, acupuncture, physical therapy, supplements, and laser therapy are a few of the most common management techniques. Medications can often be combined in different ways to provide the most pain relief. We know that pain causes more stress on the body and decreased ability to heal or fight other disease processes, so be sure to discuss any concerns about pain in your pet with your vet.