Can you tell when your cat or dog is in pain? The fact that animals don’t always vocalise their pain leads many people to think they don’t feel pain like humans do, or at least that they don’t feel it as much. Unfortunately, cats and dogs do indeed suffer from pain in nearly exactly the same way as we do, even though they may not show it in obvious ways.
So just because they’re not crying, it doesn’t mean they’re not in pain.
One example is limping: animals can limp for a variety of reasons, nearly all of them related to pain. As they get older, many will suffer from arthritis. A dog experiencing pain from arthritis might refuse to go up stairs or be slow to get up in the mornings, while cats may struggle to jump up as they used to. Stiffness is another sign of arthritis pain. You may think ‘it’s just old age,’ which may be true, but they’re also in pain and the signs should not be ignored or brushed away.
Treating pain in animals can significantly speed their healing and recovery following illness, injury or surgery. Although pets might not seem distressed, pain can have both immediate and long-term detrimental effects on their health. Unmitigated or uncontrolled pain is a major cause of stress, affecting numerous aspects of physical health, including wound healing and resistance to infectious disease.
Dogs and cats metabolise drugs differently from most other species, so human painkillers can be toxic to them. This is especially true for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, which can be deadly.
Your vet can provide medications, from pills to patches, to safely make your pet more comfortable. In some extreme cases, additional treatment options can be employed to alleviate pain and improve quality of life, such as acupuncture, laser therapy, physical rehabilitation and massage therapy.
Our vets will always do everything they can to ensure that your pet lives a happy, healthy life for as long as possible. For more advice, call us on 01453 752555.