Animal Pain Awareness Month
This episode of Vet Chat, Dr. Ryan Llera discusses pain in pets, knowing and understanding the signs when our pets are in pain, what we can do to help our pets, and why we shouldn’t wait to help pets that are in pain.
Picture this: you’ve tripped over something and hurt your leg and now you’re limping. Maybe you don’t feel like eating, maybe you get snappy with friends and family. What can you do? Call for help, take pain meds, go to your doctor. Now what if you were a cat or dog or other pet?
Animals can feel just as much pain as people do, maybe even more, the difference is our pets need help getting taken care of and that’s why you’re there! When it comes to an injury, nothing bothers me more than hearing a pet owner say “I don’t think it’s painful.” The truth is, your pet hurts and it doesn’t always manifest the typical or expected way.
Many people think an animal will cry out in pain. Sure, whimpering or yowling may be involved but just because they’re absent doesn’t mean our pets are not hurting. Animals will express pain in many ways, including loss of appetite, antisocial or aggressive behaviour, fever, shaking, lethargy, and not moving, just to name a few. Yes, if they seem fine but are holding a leg up, that leg hurts.
In a few instances, pets may recover in their own over some time, but why wait? Why should our pets be uncomfortable? And don’t give me any excuses about “nature taking its course” or “they’re tough.” Pain meds are not an option — they’re a necessity! That being said, please don’t self-prescribe medications for your pets from your own medicine cabinet as it might do more harm than good.
Veterinary medicine has advanced so that your pets can live a happy, comfortable, and long life. There’s even the International Academy of Veterinary Pain Management to help make sure your family veterinarian has all the tools and updated info to keep giving your pet the best care possible. Face it, animal health care is at the same level, if not better, in some regards than human medical care. So let’s do what’s best for our animal friends and give them the comfort they deserve.