We ™ve been taking an anatomical tour of the body this year, and have pretty well run out of organs to learn about. However, I feel we still need to look at both pain and behavior issues. Pain control has been a relatively ignored aspect of animal medicine until the last decade or so. All animals feel pain – using the same physiology that humans use. Therefore, we must conclude that animals experience pain the same way we do. This means that we must make every effort to control this pain. Pain can be acute (sudden onset as seen with surgery or trauma) or chronic (longer and usually slower in onset like arthritis pain or a toothache.) Animals express pain differently than people do. We tend to whine and complain, telling others about our woes. Animals tend to hide their pain. This may be instinctive – animals who are limping or moving slowly tend to get eaten by lions – or it may just be that animals aren ™t as likely to complain as people are. Whatever the reason, we need to make the effort to look for pain. If an animal has a condition that would cause us pain, we must assume that they are in pain and therefore must treat it. I have seen many animals walk on fractured legs, eat with broken teeth and acting like nothing is wrong after a surgery. I have seen these same animals eat better, relax a bit and move more freely once their pain is treated.
We take a very aggressive approach towards pain control at Animal Care Clinic. All receive pain control before and after surgery, inc luding spays and neuters. Every pet is assessed for its level of pain and we discuss this with you. If you feel your pet may be in pain, call us.
by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP