Little Critters Veterinary Hospital - Gilbert, AZ
PAIN CONTROL IN COMPANION ANIMALS
Research underscores that pain is a self-reinforcing cycle, where each instance can intensify the next, making management increasingly challenging once an animal begins experiencing pain. This cycle not only causes stress but also releases steroids that can delay healing and recovery.
In veterinary medicine, recognizing pain in animals is complex due to the diversity in species and individual expressions of discomfort. For example, a budgie in pain may sit quietly and appear slightly fluffed, while a Husky might vocalize at minor pain stimuli. Animals, like humans, have varying pain sensitivities, with some being vocal about minimal discomfort and others showing no signs despite painful conditions.
Given these challenges, veterinarians proactively manage pain, understanding that preventing the onset of pain is easier than breaking a cycle once established. Recognizing potentially painful procedures, we administer analgesics beforehand to prevent both the experience of pain and the entry into a hard-to-control pain cycle.
The importance of multimodal pain management is paramount. The veterinary field is fortunate to have a wide range of analgesics. Combining different types, such as NSAIDs with morphine derivatives, can offer additive effects, where the drugs work better together than individually, addressing both inflammation and direct pain control.
Expanding on traditional pain management, the incorporation of nutraceuticals, alternative medicine, and laser therapy offers a holistic approach. Nutraceuticals, such as glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids, can support joint health and reduce inflammation. Alternative medicine, including acupuncture and chiropractic care, provides additional avenues for pain relief and healing. Laser therapy, using specific light wavelengths, can promote tissue repair and provide pain relief, enhancing traditional pain management strategies.
In conclusion, understanding and managing pain in animals is a nuanced and evolving aspect of veterinary care. By adopting a multifaceted approach that combines traditional analgesics with nutraceuticals, alternative medicine, and laser therapy, veterinarians today are better equipped to provide effective pain control, marking a significant evolution from past practices and ensuring a higher standard of care for pets.