Pain Management

Pain management is a priority. As advocates for patients, our veterinary team has the
responsibility to recognize, assess, prevent, and treat pain. The research of the last decade has
brought much new information about the effects, assessment and control of pain. We have many
more options for controlling pain from surgery, injury or disease than we had in the past, ranging
from new drugs to herbal therapy to acupuncture and massage.

It is irresponsible to have pets endure needless pain. A partnership between you and the
Plymouth Heights team is crucial to developing pain management strategies for your companion
animal. Because you see your pet daily, you can usually tell when something is wrong.

Our staff can help you recognize the cues indicating pain or discomfort in an animal. If it is
determined your pet would benefit from pain management, a safe and effective therapy will be

Pain is very subjective and difficult to measure and it’s even harder to assess in cats than dogs.
Most animals experiencing pain will change their behavior patterns. They will be reluctant to
jump or climb stairs, become more withdrawn and inactive, or react negatively to being held or
picked up. Look for those subtle changes in behavior when the animal seems to be guarding
itself from movement or loses interest in interacting with its environment.

The changing of behavior may be the only way your pet communicates a need for pain

Below is from the AAHA / AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs & Cats:

Signs of Pain:

Loss of normal behavior

  • Decreased ambulation or activity, lethargic attitude, decreased appetite, decreased grooming (cats). Harder to assess in the hospital.

Expression of abnormal behaviors

  • Inappropriate elimination, vocalization, aggression or decreased interaction with other pets or family members, altered facial expression, altered posture, restlessness, hiding (especially in cats).

Reaction to touch

  • Increased body tension or flinching in response to gentle palpation of injured area and palpation of regions likely to be painful, e.g., neck, back, hips, elbows (cats).

Physiologic parameters

  • Elevations in heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, and blood pressure; pupil dilation.

Click here to view the entire AAHA / AAFP - Pain Management Guidelines


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