Multi-Modal Pain Management for Your Pet

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At Pawsitive Steps Rehabilitation & Therapy for Pets, we understand that your dog or cat’s natural state is to be in motion. If your pet is reluctant to move or moves less often, that may be a signal that something is not right. In animals, as in humans, there are two kinds of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain is the type that is experienced quickly after an injury or a surgical procedure. Chronic pain is usually brought about by degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis or neuromuscular diseases. Whether acute or chronic, pain can greatly affect your pet’s quality of life.

A multi-modal approach to pain relief

The term “multi-modal” refers to a focused approach for managing or eliminating pain by employing multiple therapies and modalities including:

Dogs and cats do not show pain the same way that humans do. Dogs are very good at hiding their discomfort and cats are masters of disguise. As a result, we must be aware of subtle changes in our pet's behavior that might indicate they could be experiencing discomfort or pain and be in need of veterinary treatment.

Signs of canine pain:

  • Decrease in activity level
  • Changes in behavior (less alert than usual, restless, abnormal aggression or apprehension when handled, difference in how dog responds to people)
  • Shivering
  • Increased panting
  • Biting, scratching, or guarding a particular area of the body
  • Abnormal body position (not lying down naturally or favoring a part of the body)
  • Unusual posture
  • Decrease or lack of appetite
  • Changes in vocalization (unusual whimpering or howling, unprovoked growling, quieter than normal)

Signs of feline pain:

  • Ungroomed appearance
  • Changes in facial expression
  • Irritability when approached or handled
  • Hiding more than usual
  • Decrease or lack of appetite
  • Incessant licking
  • Aversion to being petted or brushed
  • Unusually quiet
  • Limping or favoring a limb
  • Stiff or abnormal body posture
  • Avoids jumping onto things or has difficulty doing so