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Dogs are stoic. Some more than others! Pain can be difficult to appreciate, but broadly speaking there are two types:

  • Chronic Pain is gradual in onset. It is often associated with degenerative conditions affecting bones or joints, or internal organ changes.
  • Acute Pain is sudden. It may be an injury, sudden abdominal changes (gas distension, organ rupture/twist, urinary obstruction), or surgery.

Sometimes pain is only obvious when it is treated and the dog becomes much happier.

Treatment for pain is varied and depends on the nature of the pain. Often multi-modal pain relief is recommended, where medications along with other therapy types are used to alleviate pain in different ways.

Recognizing Pain

Take a good look at your furry best friend and be in tune to the following:

  • Vocalizing: whining, whimpering, howling, yipping or growling
  • Aggression: non characteristic growling, snapping or biting. Or, a normally aggressive dog being quiet and submissive
  • Self Mutilation: licking, biting, or scratching at a particular area of their body
  • Change in habits: decreased appetite, less social and interactive, more or less sleeping, reclusiveness, resting or hiding in unusual places, changes in drinking, changes in normal training (like urinary/fecal accidents in the house)
  • Activity: restlessness, reluctance to move, difficulty rising or setting down, unable to get/stay comfortable, trembling, limping, shaking, seeking attention/affection more than usual, excessive panting
  • Self protection: complaining about being touched or lifted, resting in very specific odd positions, reluctance to turn or lift head/neck, reluctance to eat/chew or dropping food
  • Facial Expressions: snarly grimace, ears pinned back, wide eyed (dilated pupils)
  • Posture: hunched back, tucked abdomen, praying stance (front end down, back end up), unusual limb position while resting, non weight bearing lameness

Managing Pain

This will vary depending on cause but can include:

  • Simple things like physical therapy, ice packs, warm compresses
  • Surgical correction if necessary
  • Integrative Medicine such as acupuncture, soft tissue “cold” laser, chiropractic, kenesiology
  • Comfortable bedding
  • Supportive braces, harnesses, lifting device, ramps
  • Pharmaceuticals including
    • Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatories
    • Sedatives
    • Antitussives (to control painful coughing)
    • Narcotics
    • Anti-itch medications
    • Gabapentin

It’s important to note dogs are not people and their medications should never be shared. Types and doses are different and can be fatal if used off-label. Never give a drug without consulting your veterinarian.

Less pain equals more quality of life for your dog.

Determining your dog’s source of pain is key. Deciding on the best single or multi-modal approach to curing or controlling it is the next step. The doctors and staff at City Dog Vet can help you achieve both.

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