The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) has proclaimed September as Animal Pain Awareness Month. While humans have the advantage of being able to communicate when they’re in pain, animals are wired to conceal it. As pet owners, we must learn to recognize the subtle cues that indicate our beloved companions are hurting.

Signs of pain in pets

Through education and advocacy, the IVAPM is dedicated to raising awareness about pain management for animals. But first, to manage your pet’s pain, you must be able to pick up on signs of discomfort, such as:

  • Decreased activity
  • Avoiding stairs
  • Reluctance to jump onto surfaces or furniture
  • Difficulty standing after lying down
  • Decreased appetite
  • Over-grooming or excessive licking of a certain area

While there are many causes of pain in pets, most discomfort appears in a similar fashion. If you notice your pet avoiding her normal activities, call us.

Causes of pain in pets

Animals not only feel pain like humans, but the causes of discomfort are often also the same, such as:

  • Periodontal disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cancer
  • Surgery
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Injury

Pain is categorized as acute or chronic. While acute pain is often clearly visible, such as a broken bone, chronic pain is more difficult to recognize because the pain is subtle and often attributed to aging and slowing down. We can alleviate both kinds of pain, but we must first determine the cause before we can formulate an effective pain-management plan.

How to manage pain in your pet

Pain medication you have on hand may seem like a quick solution to your pet’s discomfort, but many human products are toxic to pets. Instead, schedule an appointment so we can determine which protocol will be most effective in treating your pet’s pain. Pain-management options include:

  • Medications — Pain relievers, steroids, joint injections, muscle relaxers, and joint supplements
  • Alternative treatments — Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, laser therapy
  • Rehabilitation therapy — Massage, underwater treadmill, electrical stimulation, and physical therapy
  • Lifestyle and environmental changes — Weight loss, low-impact exercise, ramps, and non-slip surfaces

Concerned that your furry companion may be experiencing pain? We’re here to help. Contact us to schedule an appointment.