Boxer PuppyOur pets are arguably one of the best parts of life. We naturally want to do what is best for them. They deserve it, after all.

We are better than ever at recognizing when pets are hurting and have more options for managing pain in pets now that we have a better understanding of how our pets experience pain. Learn how Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is working everyday to keep your special furry friends as comfortable as possible.

Understanding the Physiology of Pain

Our pet patients experience pain for many reasons. It may be related to an injury, a surgery, an orthopedic problem, or even a disease process such as pancreatitis or cancer.

No matter why our pets are painful, studies show that it is important to actively provide relief. There are a few reasons pain control is so important in our animals:

  • Pain (at any level) in pets can increase stress and anxiety.
  • Pain relief can speed healing.
  • Good pain control can increase longevity and quality of life.

Pain in pets is a serious thing, and it is our job to recognize and treat it whenever possible.

Recognizing Pain in Pets

Pets are not always good at complaining. Instinctively, animals hide their pain, as it is often perceived as weakness in the wild. This means that it is important to be familiar with your pet’s norms and the way your pets communicate with you, as variations from the norms are often a sign that something is amiss.

Some pain may also develop slowly over time, making it difficult to pinpoint. It is important for us to examine your pet if you feel he or she may be experiencing discomfort, as many times by the time it is detected, things are pretty serious.

Signs of pain in pets may be vague and can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Restlessness
  • Unusual vocalization such as whining or sighing
  • Out of character biting or growling
  • Neediness
  • Hiding
  • Sleeping more

At Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, we are also on the lookout for pets in pain. Each pet we see is observed for signs of pain and a scientifically derived pain assessment score is recorded in his or her medical record. It is our mission to decrease that score to a much lower number.

Fighting Pain at Its Source

Once we have established that pain is or is likely to be present, we are on a mission to get rid of it. We battle pet pain by:

Pre-empting pain when possible – The earlier we can address or even prevent pain, the better success we have. Using pain management strategies prior to a painful event such as surgery can be key in our success.

Fighting multiple pathways – We know that we are most successful when we target multiple pain pathways. This strategy, called multi-modal pain management, is the foundation of how we battle pain in pets.

Using multiple methods – While pharmacologic drugs are often key in pet pain management, other complementary and alternative strategies such as acupuncture, physical rehabilitation techniques, and therapeutic laser can be valuable parts of a pain management strategy.

Pain is a serious detriment to our pets and their overall quality of life. It is extremely important that we combat it wherever possible. Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is your ally in fighting pain in pets. Please let us, or your primary veterinarian, know if you think that your four-legged friend may need our help. We are always here for you and your pet.