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Animal Pain Awareness Month

by Heather Carter September 16, 2022

Animal Pain Awareness Month

Animals, just like us, can sometimes experience immense pain, but unlike us, they are unable to describe their pain or ask for help. While some pets may experience acute pain from time to time, others may be dealing with long-term, chronic pain that you may not even be aware of.

Research has shown that uncontrolled pain can lead to other health concerns such as impaired immune function, delayed wound healing, increased risk of sepsis, and cardiovascular stress. While acute pain can mask chronic problems that are undiagnosed.

To help people understand their pet’s pain better, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management has labeled September Animal Pain Awareness Month. Their goal is to educate pet parents about their pet’s health when it comes to pain management treatments, whether they are experiencing acute or chronic pain.

The more you know, the more you can help your pets live a happy, healthy, and pain free life!

Why Do Animals Suffer in Silence?

Not only can animals not tell us when they are in pain, but they also actively hide their pain from us as well. This is due to their evolutionary developed behavior designed to protect them from predators. Even the best pet parents sometimes cannot notice the subtle, gradual changes in their pet’s behavior, mood, or activity level that can be indications of pain or other health concerns.

It is important to keep a close eye on our pet’s activities, eating habits, and personality changes so that you can seek veterinary assistance for potential health problems as early as possible. Our pets need us to be their voice and seek out help for them when needed!

Symptoms of Pain in Pets

  • Less interaction with family
  • Sleeping more
  • Lameness/ limping
  • Disinterest in favorite activities and play
  • “Grimacing” with ears back and eyes partially closed
  • Hiding
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Trouble going to the bathroom
  • Vocalization when handled or touched (whimpering)
  • Not going up or downstairs
  • Anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty standing after lying down
  • Over-grooming or licking a specific area

One day of these symptoms may not be much to worry about, but if it persists, your pet may be experiencing some level of pain that needs to be treated. If you believe something is off with your pet call your local veterinarian immediately to see if your concerns warrant a visit to the vet.

Pain Management

Whether the pain is associated with an acute injury or a more chronic condition, there are several different approaches to pain management in animals. First the direct reason for the pain should be addressed, if possible, then the pain management approach should factor in: the type of pain, the length of pain (chronicity), and any other health issues that could be affecting them.

Lots of simple changes can help ease your pet’s discomfort such as pacing levels of activity or making minor changes to their home environment.

Once the cause of pain has been identified, the proper form of treatment can begin. Depending on the animal’s reaction, other health concerns, daily life activities, and what outcome can best be hoped for, all will determine which treatment, or combination of treatments, will be most effective at managing their pain.

Some forms of treatment can include:

  • Pain Medications
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Therapeutic Rehabilitation
  • Hydropathy
  • Laser Therapy
  • PMFT Pulsed Magnetic Treatment Therapy

*What will work best for your pets will be determined by your trusted veterinarian*

Paying attention to the signs of pain could mean the difference between a lifetime of discomfort and suffering from a lifetime of comfort and health for your furry best friends. Share this information with all your fellow pet parents and help them all to be more watchful regarding pet pain awareness!

Heather Carter