Pain is easier to control before it starts. Here at Central Houston Animal Hospital we believe in going the extra mile to ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible. Pain management is top on our list of priorities. Pets too are painful when they are injured or sick but recognizing pain in them is difficult because animals do not express their pain in the same ways as humans do. We utilize different ways to recognize and assess the pain levels in our patients including vital signs, behavioral changes and pain scales.
Principles of Pain Management
1. Assess the animal for pain
using behavioral clues by watching whether normal behaviors are present and
whether any new behaviors have appeared.
2. Each patient should have a
customized pain management plan based on anticipating the type, severity, and
duration of pain expected (for example, post-surgical pain management).
3. Treatment for pain often
involves drugs but should also include other physical treatments, such as
compresses, massage, physical therapy, and other methods.
4. Signs of pain can be subtle
and difficult to recognize, so animals suspected of being in pain may be
treated with drugs and then watched for improvement.
5. Providing continuous
(round-the-clock) administration of pain medication is often more effective at
relieving pain than giving drugs on an “as-needed” schedule. As-needed dosing
is often less effective because it requires that the caregiver be able to
recognize pain behaviors that are often difficult to appreciate..
6. Sometimes treatment with
combinations of different pain-relieving drugs is more effective. In these
cases, smaller doses of each drug can usually provide pain relief.
7. Animals in pain can also
have anxiety, so a veterinarian might prescribe an antianxiety drug for use
after analgesic drugs have been given.
8. Adequate pain relief after
surgery or trauma allows the animal to rest. Dogs and cats often sleep more
than usual for a few days after surgery, but a caregiver should be able to wake
them up if the dosage of the analgesic drug is appropriate. If your pet cannot
rest or cannot be awakened, call your veterinarian for reassessment.
Excerpt from Merck Manual, February 2020
Our ultimate goal is to be able to provide pain relief through innovative medications as well as non-traditional therapies. We currently provide cold laser therapies, we have a renowned acupuncturist and chiropractor on staff and we are in the process of adding a rehab department. Pain can greatly impact both you and your pet’s life, it is important to have pain assessed and addressed as soon as possible.