Pain is defined as a perception that the brain creates from any one of a variety of stimuli including physical, temperature, chemical, or inflammatory damage to tissues.

During and right after a painful stimulus, the body responds in several ways, including physiologic (increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital parameters) as well as physical. It is the physical response to pain that we, as owners, look for, in order to determine whether our canine or feline family members are in pain.

Signs Of Pain

Familiarize yourself with these common behaviors that may indicate your pet is experiencing discomfort and requires veterinary assistance:

Cats:

  • Growling
  • Not grooming
  • Not moving from one spot
  • Squinting
  • Hiding
  • Irritability or aggressiveness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Protecting the hurting body part
  • Limping, holding up limbs or walking on 3 legs

Dogs:

  • Crying and/or whining
  • Glassy-eyed vacant look
  • Hunched body
  • Restlessness and changing positions frequently
  • Shaking and trembling
  • Hiding
  • Irritability or aggressiveness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Protecting the hurting body part
  • Limping, holding up limbs or walking on 3 legs

Take Action

If your pet seems to be exhibiting any of these signs, you should contact your family veterinarian for evaluation or us at CARE if it appears to be an emergency or is after-hours. CARE’s Emergency Service is available 24/7/365. Call us at 704-457-2300 to let us know you’re bringing your pet in.

Treatment For Pain

Once evaluated by a veterinary professional and the cause of your pet’s pain is identified, your veterinarian can help you decide the best treatment and on-going pain management plans. Depending on the cause, pain management options may consist of oral pain medication, physical rehabilitation or potentially surgical intervention.

Long-term health risks

Do not wait to seek veterinary assistance or expect that pain will subside on its own. When pain persists for a prolonged period of time (weeks to months), it becomes a chronic form of disease that can impact other bodily systems. Chronic pain has varying effects depending on the cause, but can result in systemic (body-wide) inflammation, immune system impairment, degenerative joint disease (a manifestation of progressive arthritis) and other more long-standing complications.

Prevention

Some forms of pain, particularly orthopedic, can be lessened or even prevented by ensuring an appropriate body weight and adequate nutrition. Your family veterinarian can assist in weight loss plans, understanding the ideal body weight for your pet and coming up with a nutrition protocol to maintain the overall health of your pet.

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