Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pain Behaviors - What To Look Out For

As time goes by our pets settle into a routine of their own. New and somewhat odd behaviors need to be not only noticed, but for the benefit of your pet, addressed in a timely manner. Some new behaviors are harmless and developed out of preference while others are developed from pain. Take a look below at the examples the American College of Veterinary Surgery gives for possible causes of pain and signals of distress

Causes for pain may be:

  • Physical trauma, such as falling down or being hit by something.
  • Internal organ problems, such as intestinal upset or kidney blockage.
  • Surgical procedures, such as abdominal surgery or bone surgery.
  • Brain or spine problems, such as a slipped disc, pinched nerve or headache.
  • Degenerative changes, such as arthritis and cartilage damage.

Our reaction to pain is seen as “pain behavior”. A child cries when he breaks his arm. A woman holds her head and squints her eyes when having a migraine headache. A man winces when he stands up on his bad knee. To an observer, these behaviors display pain in action. In the veterinary medical setting, we use these pain behaviors, common to each different species but unique in each different patient, to grade the pain experience.

Many owners are surprised to learn that their pet may be experiencing pain, since some pain behaviors are not seen in people. Common pain behaviors are:

  • Crying and/or whining (dogs)
  • Growling and/or purring (cats)
  • Hiding (cats and dogs)
  • Not grooming (cats)
  • Squinting (cats)
  • Glassy-eyed, vacant look (dogs)
  • Hunched up body (cats and dogs)
  • Restlessness and changing positions a lot (dogs)
  • Not moving from one spot (cats)
  • Irritable or aggressive (cats and dogs)
  • No appetite (cats and dogs)
  • Shaking and trembling (dogs)
  • Protecting the hurting body part (cats and dogs)
For more information on pain and the management of pain, visit the American College of Veterinary Surgery. This excellent resource will lend you great information on many pet owner concerns.

1 comment:

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