Margaret C. Saiki, D.V.M.,
Over 20 Years of Experience!
Former Medical Director
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Chronic Pain In Dogs

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   Series: Pain Management in the older dog with Arthritis

Margaret Saiki

Approximately 20% of dogs and cats across all ages have Arthritis.  So the odds are good that the older pet will have arthritis as part their medical profile. Relieving the pain associated with arthritis will certainly improve their quality of life. Not only will they feel less pain, but will be more willing to participate in activity to keep them healthy such as a long daily walk.

The first part of this series will cover the signs of chronic pain. This will be followed up by a series of the different types of pain medication currently being utilized for these patients.

CSU (Colorado State University) Canine Chronic Pain Scale

There are 3 major categories used to help owners and professionals assess the level of pain in their pets and patients.

1.       Psychological and Behavioral. In this categories one assess the general attitude of the pet.  How is the pet behaving? Are they active, responsive alert to their surrounds or subdued anxious, fearful, aggressive and not eager to interact with people.

2.       Postural. In this category one needs to observe the pet’s movement and mobility. Note any limping, differences in the way they sit, how quickly they are able to rise, jump or get up stairs.

3.       Response to palpation. This is a task left to your veterinarian. They are trained to find areas of pain through a physical exam.

Be mindful that signs of chronic pain are not specific and can be caused by other diseases. It is important to have your pet assessed thoroughly by a mobile veterinarian at least on a yearly basis to ensure that they do not have other problems which would show the same types of signs.


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