Posted on: 22 July 2015
You love your pet and make every effort to provide him or her with a happy, healthy life. But what if your pet is in pain and shows no outward signs? Most likely, with keen observation, you can detect something is amiss with your pet, and you can work with your veterinarian to provide the relief it deserves.
When your dog or cat is trying to hide its pain, it's not simply trying to put on a brave front. There's a good reason behind it, although with domestication, that reason is rarely relevant. If a wild animal shows any weakness, it is more likely to become a victim of a roaming predator searching for a meal. Therefore, it makes every effort not to show it is hurt or sick.
Not So Subtle
Obviously, if your dog or cat is limping or flinches when you touch a tender spot, he or she is in pain and needs attention. Likewise, if they paw at their face or chew on a particular spot on their skin, they need to see a veterinarian to determine the possible causes and treatment options.
Other clues to pet pain are less obvious, and this is where keen observation skills come in. It's even a good idea to keep a behavior diary that will alert you to changes that might indicate your pet is in pain. The following signs or changes are important to note:
- Loss of appetite
- Unwillingness to play or go up and down stairs
- Aggression or grouchiness toward people or other animals
- Depression or hiding
- Not wanting to lower head to eat or drink
- Changes in bathroom behaviors such as not wanting to go outside or use a litter box
Pain is almost always a sign of something going on in your pet. It can be digestive obstruction or disturbance, organ disease, internal or external parasites, trauma, a metabolic condition, cancer or simply age. But even if the cause is simply the result of old age, it does not mean your pet has to live in pain.
Your vet has an arsenal of tools to help diagnose the reason behind your pet's discomfort. Your observations are key to a quick diagnosis. Other tools include palpation, blood and urine tests, skin tests and radiology. The quicker you find the root cause, the quicker you can begin treatment and perhaps avoid a more serious problem.
Often, by relieving the underlying cause, the pain will disappear. Your vet can prescribe medications for temporary relief. If the cause of the pain is a condition of aging, such as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, there are many ways to provide relief for your older friend. Never give pain relievers without first checking with your vet, as many can be toxic to animals. You can also make your dog or cat more comfortable by providing a comfortable, warm bed, eliminating the need to go up or down stairs, using ramps, raising their food and water bowls, applying hot and cold compresses and learning gentle massage techniques. For more information, you can go to websites like the one linked here to find local veterinarians.Share