Pain can be categorized in many ways, depending on where and why it is occurring. As a general rule, think of how you would feel. Although our dogs and cats cannot complain the same way that we do, they feel discomfort too. Our specialists and veterinarians design pain management plans based upon each patient’s individual needs. Personalized pain management is critical in facilitating a successful recovery.
Symptoms: Pain can be difficult to assess and/or very subtle. Signs may include biting at a wound or surgical site, growling, a deep moan/cry/whine, anxiousness/restlessness, not wanting to sleep/lie down, continual pacing, and/or quiet/reclusive behavior.
Management: A variety of pain medications are available and have different indications. Different patients may respond in unique ways to the same medication. Furthermore, there are big differences between species in how they handle pain and specific pain medications.
A patient may receive a constant rate infusion (CRI). A CRI is a slow ongoing drip of pain relieving medication which allows an even level of relief and can be treated to the patient and situation. Regional blocks may also be utilized target specific nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals to a region of the body. Injectable pain medication may be used for immediate pain relief or scheduled to be administered at timed intervals.
While in our intensive care unit, our medical teams will ensure each patient is as comfortable as possible. As a patient’s condition changes, the pain management plan is modified to address individual needs. After a patient goes home, a pain management plan is designed for continued recovery. Our veterinarians will reply on input of the owner and primary care veterinarian to assess and adjust pain medications as indicated.
As a disease or chronic condition progresses, a personalized pain management plan should be regularly reassessed and/or altered as a patient’s condition changes.