September is animal pain awareness month. Animals are incredible when it comes to managing pain. Unlike most of us, they keep on moving with little or no complaint until the pain becomes too much to handle. There are a variety of indicators that can alert you something is not right.
Signs that may indicate your pet is in pain.
Your pet may show a decrease in activity, suddenly reluctant to jump up on furniture, use the stairs, or engage in behaviors or activities that they normally enjoy. They may show a sudden avoidance or reluctance to be touched in a certain area of the body. Pets slow down as they age, but sometimes a sudden slow down or change in behavior could mean something more. As your pet ages their joints begin to ache, just like people. Luckily, this type of pain is easily managed with light exercise, joint supplements, and pain pills (if you are interested in a pain management supplement, we recommend NuJoint). If you notice a sudden change in behavior it’s recommended that you talk with your vet.
Loss of appetite could be an indicator that your animal has mouth pain. This could also be a symptom of another more serious health complication. If your pet will let you examine their mouth, regularly check for broken teeth, foul odors, or gum inflammation. If the condition doesn’t improve within 48 hours, it would be a good idea to check with your vet about treatment.
Over grooming or licking one area of the body can also be an indication of pain. It’s normal for animals to lick and groom themselves, but it’s not normal for this to become an obsessive behavior. Pets will often groom places that are sources of pain in hopes to clean and care for a wound. Even if there is no open wound present. If you notice this behavior, gently examine the area.
What can you do to help your pet live a long and comfortable life?
Regular wellness checkups can help you stay on top of your pet’s health. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have collaborated on the publication of health guidelines for dogs and cats. These guidelines will help you educate yourself on what preventative care should mean for your pet. Another good resource is PetMD. Much like WebMD for humans, PetMD offers a symptom checker so you can get an idea of possible medical conditions and when to seek veterinary care. There’s a vast variety of resources out there. Be proactive and educate yourself about your pets health.
If your pet could benefit from a pain management treatment plan, Dr. Kathy Topham of Pawsitive Results Animal Rehab Center located in Auburn Twp is a International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) member.