Pain Management

Patient in hospital ward on IV fluids.

Veterinary patients feel pain and discomfort under the same circumstances as people; however, unlike people, most animals will instinctually hide their pain until it is unbearable. How many labradors have we seen come three-legged through our door dangling the forth obviously broken leg while wagging his tail? We understand that recognizing and alleviating pain in animals is the essence of good patient care. South County Animal Hospital offers pre-, intra- and post-operative as well as chronic pain management.

Pain management has become a hot topic in the veterinary field. The American Animal Hospital Association in conjunction with the American Association of Feline Practitioners has released the AAHA/AAFP Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats showing that management of pain encourages a patient to recover more quickly and return to function faster post surgery, illness or injury.

Pre-Emptive Pain Management:
Pain medication that is given BEFORE a surgery is performed will result in less pain for your pet AFTER the surgery, with less post-operative pain medicine needed to recover more quickly. Epidurals, Pre-anesthetics, local anesthetic blocks, nerve blocks are all some examples of pre-surgical pain management techniques used by the veterinary surgeons at South County Animal Hospital. We might also work with your pet on a weight loss regime if needed to increase muscle strength and tone and decrease the load on a particular limb prior to a surgical procedure.

One of our geriatric patients, Heidi.

Post-Operative Pain Management:
Pain management becomes particularly important after major surgery. When recovering from invasive procedures, animals may not only be painful but also weak and disoriented. Upon bringing your pet home from any procedure, it is extremely important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully and consistently. Should any problems develop, please do not hesitate to call us at South County Animal Hospital immediately.

It is extremely important that you never give your pet any medication at any level not prescribed for him/her without first consulting your veterinarian. Many over the counter medicines (such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen) can be extremely toxic if given to our furry friends even in small doses.

Chronic Pain:
This can be the most challenging to deal with on a number of levels. First of all, it can be difficult to recognize due to its insidious onset. Often an animal gradually learns to tolerate the pain making it difficult to detect. Some indicators:

Of course, the problem making chronic pain so difficult to manage is that it last so long. Some of the more common causes of chronic pain include arthritis, myopathies, neuropathies and cancer. Your veterinarian is your best ally in identifying and managing your pet’s pain. If you suspect your pet is in pain, your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam, possibly with some blood tests and x-rays. From there a treatment protocol will be discussed.

Pain management requires a team effort in order to have a happier and healthier companion. We strive at South County Animal Hospital to make your pet as comfortable as possible, healing as quickly as possible.