We all have “off” days and so does your pet. How can you really tell if something serious is bothering him or her? Besides the obvious effects of some injuries, there are many less pronounced issues that could cause pain in your pet. To make matters worse, your pet is hardwired to hide symptoms as a method of self-preservation.
Therefore, it’s vitally important to keep us in the loop if your pet is in pain or if you suspect he or she is feeling more than just a bit “off.”
Understanding Pet Pain
Pain affects more than just a single area. In fact, a pet in pain has lowered immunity and a longer healing time, which makes recovery after an injury or surgery more difficult.
Identifying pain can be a challenge if you’re unsure about what’s wrong. If you notice certain behavioral shifts but your pet isn’t crying or if he or she continues eating daily meals, you may decide your pet is fine. Unfortunately, every animal handles pain differently, so this approach may land your pet in serious trouble.
When You Know Your Pet is in Pain
Pain can manifest in numerous ways. Please contact us if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Increased vocalization (whining, meowing, or crying)
- Hiding from you
- Lack of appetite
- Cowering, snapping, biting, or growling when you approach
- Over-grooming a certain spot
- Changes in the eyes (dilated or constricted pupils, squinting, or bloodshot)
- Swelling anywhere on the body
- Increased sleeping
- Limping or mobility issues
When you bring your pet in to us, we’ll look for other indications that he or she is in pain, such as high blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. We may run certain diagnostics to learn more. Once we have gathered all the pertinent information, we can develop an effective treatment plan.
Many symptoms go unnoticed (and therefore untreated). These symptoms could be related to any of the following commonly diagnosed medical conditions:
- Ear infections
- Eye problems (e.g., corneal ulcers or glaucoma)
- Dental disease or broken, missing teeth
- Kidney or bladder stones
- Bladder infections
Treating your pet’s pain will depend on the source and severity. His or her pain management profile could include a combination of acupuncture, laser therapy, or medication. Likewise, the use of a warm compress, physical therapy, and access to a soft, supportive bed can make a world of a difference to a pet in pain.
Empathy and Compassion
Remember, obvious indicators may be absent, even if an animal is in extreme pain. If your pet ever seems “off” to you, please contact us immediately.
When your pet is in pain, you feel it too. Billings Animal Family Hospital understands this feeling, and we will do everything possible to help you identify and effectively treat pain in your pet.