Dog in Pain

The professionals at Billings Animal Family Hospital are dedicated to the compassionate and humane treatment of every patient, pledging that all animals in our care are as comfortable and pain-free as possible. We are acutely aware that animals free of pain heal faster—both physically and emotionally—from trauma, surgery, or illness. It is our goal to promote the rapid and complete healing of every patient in our care.

Pain management in pets is often associated with surgeries, such as spays and neuters. Of course, controlling pain during and after surgery is always a priority, but animals develop other problems that may require relief. Development of an acute illness such as pancreatitis, chronic conditions such as arthritis, or even dental disease may be the cause of intense pain and would require immediate and ongoing care.

Pet owners are a primary source for identifying the development of painful diseases or conditions, and knowing what to look for can facilitate the prompt treatment of these concerns.

Symptoms of Pain in Pets

To protect themselves from predators, animals naturally hide their pain. Subtle changes in your pet’s behavior may be indicators of pain, and the only clues that your pet is suffering. Some signs of discomfort in animals include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Abnormal chewing or face rubbing
  • Excessive head shaking
  • Lagging on walks
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Lethargy or restlessness
  • Excessive licking of joints/legs
  • Reluctance to be touched
  • Hunched appearance
  • Reluctance to lift or move head

Changes in attitude are also strong indicators of a painful condition: aggression, irritability, or even depression in pets may signal the onset of a painful physical issue that needs to be addressed. Certainly the inability or unwillingness to perform regular activities is a red flag for any pet owner.

If you notice these or other changes in your pet, contact your Billings Animal Family Hospital for guidance.

Billings Animal Family Hospital embraces the goals of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM): to improve our understanding of pain in animals and incorporate new-found knowledge of the treatment of pain in our practice. Visit the IVAPM website for more about their efforts.

For easy-to-read articles about pain management in pets, visit the Pet Owner section on AAHA.