Pet pain management – an integral part of pet surgery and recovery.
Two of the most common questions we get are, “What is pain management” and “Why does my pet need it?” Two questions that were not often asked ten years ago but are commonplace today because of advancements in veterinary medicine. Today pain management is an integral part of any surgical procedure at Willamette Valley Animal Hospital. Research shows that our pets feel pain just like we do, they are just better at hiding it (remember that law of the jungle thing – if you show pain or weakness you become someones next meal).
What is Pain Management? It is the art of assessing pain, either existing or anticipated and formulating a comprehensive plan to keep our patient comfortable and pain free. It usually involves the use of multiple classes of analgesics or pain medicine to work together for effective pain control depending on the circumstances.
Why is Pain Management Important? In recent years there have been huge gains even in human medicine in improving pain control. As a human you understand that people feel and express pain in a variety of different ways. Similarly, in veterinary medicine, we have come a very long way over the last 10-15 years in understanding the fact that animals feel pain. Animals have very similar nerve pathways to humans, so we need to address the anticipated pain in disease and surgery and try to preemptively treat it. Why? It has been shown that pets with good pain control go back to normal activity sooner, eat sooner, heal more quickly, damage the surgery site less, have less stress, etc. It is also our goal to alleviate suffering by effectively controlling pain. Therefore, all patients, will be assessed with a “Pain Score” to try to quantify pain, and use one or multiple types of medicine, physical therapy and treatment to minimize discomfort.