What If Your Dog is Hurting?
It has been a while since Gram and I have had a conversation, many things have been happening at home and we have not taken the time to think about writing.
First of all my Pop-Pop got laid off from work as there is little or no construction going on in our area of Florida, he has joined the thousands of unemployed. However, he may have a new job come the beginning of next week.
Then I got into a fight with Walter, the new dog that lives with us now and he really hurt me and I had to go to the vet. It was a stupid fight over one of my toys. I guess I have not learned sharing, but anyway mom took away all my toys and now we have to find other stuff to torment each other with.
In case you have forgotten, Walter is an Otterhound mix and is really a nutty dog, all he does is run and play and then run some more. I think he runs in his sleep as he is never still. My parents think he is cute and I will not say what I think, I am too much of a lady.
Anyway Gram and I decided to write about dogs and hurting since I have been hurting and had a swollen face. I am fine now, but I really was miserable for awhile. I hope you enjoy this article,
When people are in pain we manage to let the world know, well, at least the family and maybe a close neighbor or two. A bump or fall will generally make our vocal cords respond either with a few choice words or a yell.
Our dogs do not have the benefit of talking about the pain or even telling us where it is they hurt. The dog may yelp for a moment or limp if need be, but that is about the extent of our knowledge. So how do we know when our pet is hurting?
The truth is we truly cannot know. There have been a lot of studies using all types of measures to test a dog to see if pain can be recognized by such things as blood pressure readings, heart rate or stress hormones in the blood. None of these tests have given any researcher positive information. So how are we supposed to know?
The best way is by knowing your dog and its behavior patterns. Granted if the dog was in an accident or in a fight you would generally know something is wrong, but under normal conditions the dog’s behavioral changes will be a strong clue that something is a miss.
How does your dog know it is in pain? Sounds like a silly question, but there is an interesting procedure that goes on in a dog’s body. A dog has a unique system that alerts the brain that something is wrong. There is a protective mechanism that is enabled by sensitive receptors throughout the dog’s body. The skin, the bones, the joints, artery walls and just about everywhere else have these cells. When these cells are stimulated by harmful forces or substances such as pressure on a limb or an internal organ they transmit electrical impulses along the nerves to the spinal cord and then to the brain. That is when the hurting begins.
Dogs in many ways are like humans in that they can have acute pain (intense, but short term) or chronic pain (long term like arthritis). Pain for dogs is classified in three ways; visceral which is pain in the chest or stomach, neuropathic resulting from damage to the nerves or spinal cord and musculoskeletal a disease or trauma to the bones, joints or surrounding tissues.
Dogs do suffer pain from spaying or neutering, short term, if the surgery is done correctly, but could be significant pain if done incorrectly.
Some dogs due to their genetic breed patterns suffer more than others, Dobermans often have painful necks and Dachshunds are noted for having painful backs caused by herniated disks. Itchy skin can from fleas or allergies can cause a dog a great deal of pain. Arthritis and cancer can be very painful for a dog.
Researchers and studies by people involved in veterinary medicine have shown that yelping or crying is not the most important indication that a dog is suffering from pain. Dogs with broken legs have been known to go to the vet happily wagging their tails. Behavior patterns and knowing your dog seems to be the best answer to whether or not you dog is feeling up to par.
It is important to take note of several things, first of all if the dog is whimpering or groaning, is the dog licking a particular area of its body, is the dog moving normally, take note if you dog is having a hard time getting up or down. Consider all these things along with normal behavior and you may see that your dog is in pain and needs to see a vet.
In days gone by there was very little pain medication for dogs, however with over 60 million dogs living in homes the drug companies have been working on medications that are now approved by the FDA for dogs. Dogs are now being treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opiods. Even some human NSAIDs are used for treating inflammation in dogs (not without your vet’s advice and never for cats) while the opiods are used for times when surgery is done or for some acute pain.
In some cases of osteoarthritis and some spinal cord injuries acupuncture has worked very well.
If you suspect your dog is in pain, do not give the dog any human pain medication or over the counter drugs without first consulting your dog’s healthcare giver. Some drugs can be fatal or cause more pain or illnesses. Always consult your vet, the phone call you make may save your dog’s life and you a world of expense.
I hope this information has been of some use to you. Gram and I thought it was interesting. Well, until next time, and I promise I won't be away for so long, know I remain