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Posted on 04-04-2016

  Managing Pain in Cats and Dogs

Pain can be acute (short lived) or chronic (long term). It can also be sharp or smoldering and of low or high intensity. Pain can also arise in the bones, muscles, nervous system or internal organs. All of these factors will determine the pain management modalities that will control or stop the pain .
All animals experience pain. Each species, as well as each individual, exhibits pain in unique ways. Cats may hide and become very quiet. Some dogs may become vocal and aggressive. Your veterinary health care team will help determine which type of pain your pet is experiencing and what is causing the pain, as well as develop a pain management plan for the individual.
There are basic categories of pain modalities that can be used or alone or in combination to design  a pain management package for an individual patient.  These categories consist of nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and physical modalities. 
Nutraceuticals are used prophylactically, as well as to treat pain that already exists. Some examples are: glucosamine and chondroitin, fish oil origin, omega fatty acids, MSM, Adequan injections, herbs (curcumin, tumeric, etc), antioxidents and more. 
Pharmaceuticals are used to treat pain that already exists as well as preemptively, like before a surgical procedure. Choosing the correct drug is determined by the source, intensity and duration of the pain. It is also determined by the species that is being treated. Every species is different  as far as the type of drug that can be used. Humans are not dogs are not cats. Meaning not all drugs are tolerated by all species. For example, Ibuprofen is tolerated by people, but causes kidney damage in dogs and worse in cats. Tylenol is also tolerated by people , but causes death in  cats.  Aspirin can be used in  cats and dogs, BUT specific  dosages and dosing regimens need to be prescribed by a veterinarian to avoid complications. There are specifically formulated animal pain meds that are approved by the FDA for use in animals.
Physical Medicine is a term used to categorize Laser, Acupuncture and Rehabilitation as part of a pain management program. Depending on the type and duration of the pain, short and long term programs can be developed for an individual patient.
1) Medical Laser is used to treat all types of pain- muscle, bone, skin and ear infections , urethral blockage, lacerations, inervertebral disk disease (spine), surgical traumatic, arthritic, etc.
2)  Acupuncture acts through neuromodulation, affecting nerves, the vasculature and the hormonal systems to control pain. Acupuncture  is a POTENT analgesic  (anti-pain) modality. It can be used to treat all types of pain, and it can affect areas of the body that no other modality can reach. Muscle pain, for example is more responsive to the Physical Medicine modalities than to the other categories (nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals).
3)  Rehabilitation is similar to human physical therapy, in that it focuses on stretching, massage, flexibility , strengthening  and range of motion.
Designing an individualized pain management program will be determined by the type of pain your pet is experiencing, as well as the amount of pain management expertise your veterinarian has obtained. Discuss your pets pain with your veterinarian. Tri State Veterinary has expertise i n Acupuncture,  Medical Laser, Pharmaceuticals, and Nutriceuticals. We look forward to allowing your pet to live a pain free life.

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