Dog and Cat Pain

We live in a world where we share many things in common with our animal friends.

One of the most common things is the feeling of pain. Dogs, cats and humans share in this feeling of pain in varying degrees.

Have you ever thought about how hard it is for us, the speaking species, to explain to someone how much we hurt?

Sometimes, we don’t even know why we hurt or what caused it.

Pain tells us that something is wrong, it is a warning system, a little like the “check engine” light in our cars.

We respond to the pain and make an asserted effort to find the cause and end the misery.

Our intelligence leads us to the many ways and means of eliminating the pain, but what about our pets?

Our dogs and cats cannot talk to us.

Yes, they can limp or cry, but what does that really tell us?

Not much, as limping on one leg maybe caused by a pain somewhere else.

As guardians of our pets we must learn to recognize the symptoms that can alert us to the warning signs that our dog or cat is in pain.

What should we be looking for?

Dogs are probably more of an open book than cats, when it comes to reacting to their pain.

Here are a few things to be aware of. Behavioral changes such as: Licking, yawning, acting restless or nervous. Not wanting to be petted or picked up. Pacing, not being able to sleep, or hiding. They may become grouchy, try biting, whine continually or want to be held all the time

Body or posture changes: Limping caused by pain in the feet, leg, joints, muscles, tendons or spinal column. Dogs are experts in compensating for their pain and you may not notice an unusual gait. Favoring a side or leg, looking as if they are “off center,” watch how they carry their tail or head. Notice how they sit, is the position unusual for them.

Are they talking to you; Is your dog whining, moaning, growling, howling or yipping at you. Notice your dog’s eyes, are they clouded, look vacant or without any expression. Some dogs have a fearful look when they are in pain.

Other signs are; Not willing to move may be caused by stomach pain. Not eating. Biting or pawing at their stomach is another sign. Vomiting or diarrhea are other signs of stomach problems. Shortness of breath, increased heart beat, not wanting to walk or run.

Any of these signs are an indication that you should call your vet at once or take your pet to the clinic as soon as possible.

Cats on the other hand are rather unique when it comes to reacting to pain. Cats are extremely good at hiding their pain, for whatever reason most cats will keep their misery to themselves until it gets too unbearable.

This is where really “knowing” your cat is important in order to detect any changes in its behavior.

Here are a few things to be aware of. Behavior patterns: Lack of interest in grooming. Lack of interest in eating or eating very little. Not following its daily activity schedule. Sleeping more than usual. Sudden litterbox problems. Aggressive behavior. Hiding/trying to keep out of sight. No interest in being petted, actually runs from you.

Body Language: Laying or sitting in an unusual position for the cat. Hunched up back. Walking with its head lowered. Stiff movement. Restless, trembling or shaking. Very slow moving. Having difficulty getting up.

Vocalizing: Growling or hissing if you attempt to touch him/her. Constant mewing or no normal sounds for wanting food or pets.

Any of these signs is worthy of a trip or at least a call to your vet.

If you have a cat take time to really get to know it. By becoming familiar with all of its habits you will be better prepared to determine if your cat is having a problem or not.

What causes pain in our dogs and cats?

As in humans, many things, some that can be seen and some that cannot be seen by the human eye.

Obvious things like wounds, boils, swollen limbs, eye problems, outer ear problems and broken bones are fairly easy to detect.

Inside problems like sprains, pulled muscles and ligaments, joint pain, toothaches, earaches, any inner organ problems or arthritis cannot be easily detected.

Usually, our poor pet has to suffer for a while, until we figure out that something is really wrong and take them to the vet.

What should you do besides calling the vet? If the problem is a cut or scratch that you can take care of at home, do it, but do not use a petroleum based product on the wound. For anything else call your vet.

One ounce of prevention is worth many dollars. We, as pet guardians, do not have veterinary medical degrees and one mistake on our part can cost many more dollars at the vet.

I know, as I used a petroleum based antibiotic ointment on my cat Smokey, which he licked off and became very sick. What I considered a small cat scratch ended up costing $300.00.

There are many “over the counter” products that can be used for our pets and your vet or vet tech can recommend them.

Be very careful using products that contain acetaminophen, asprin, or ibuprofen especially with cats, as those ingredients are toxic to most cats.

In the previous paragraphs I have been talking about “acute” pain, pain that comes from a trauma or a new medical condition. However, there is also “chronic” pain that comes from such things as arthritis.

Chronic pain is usually on going and needs to be treated on a continual basis. As our pets get older, some develop arthritis and other conditions that cause pain in varying degrees most of the time.

Pills to stop the pain can be given. But, the best alternatives are natural remedies, which actually may enhance the healing of the problem and cause the pain to either go away or subside somewhat.

What type of natural remedies am I speaking of?

Things like acupuncture, which helps the immune system respond to healing, chiropractic, which helps the joints move more naturally and returns healing circulation and fluids to the joints and herbal remedies, which often contain healing antioxidents and other supplements that help to regenerate joints.

If your pet is suffering from chronic pain such as arthritis or stiff joints, you will appreciate a great article I have just read. In the May 2006 issue of The Whole Dog Journal Jan Skadberg discusses a great herbal arthritis pain-relief product called Dog Gone Pain (DGP) that can be used for dogs and cats with great results. Jan is a registered nurse and offers acupressure and massage for dogs at her “4 Paws” business in Charles Town, WV.

Having tried it on her own dog, with great results, she contacted the American BioScience Company for permission to conduct a small study on a group of dogs. The results were equally as good with one exception (a dog developed an allergic reaction to the herbs.)

This is an all natural product and has produced amazing results in helping dogs regain mobility and a zest for life.

From the numerous testimonials I have read, this product sounds like a great aide for helping dogs/cats regain a zest for life.

As with all things do not give this to your dog or cat without first discussing it with your vet, especially if your pet is taking other medication.

In searching the Internet I have found one of the best prices for this product. If DGP is something your pet can use to obtain a better quality of life please click here.