Treating pain in pets; how can you help them when they can’t tell you?

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Lincoln has been having some bad days

Treating pain in pets; how do you know if you’re helping them? If you’ve read some of my other posts, Pain! How can we help our rescue dog or Is hip dysplasia the end?, you may know that we rescued a dog that has numerous pain issues a while back. Lincoln has had several months during which he seemed to feel good. We thought we were making progress.

Lately, that does not seem to be the case. Something doesn’t seem right, although I can’t exactly put a finger on it. That’s the hard part; knowing something isn’t right but not knowing what it is.

Some of the cues we’re seeing indicate Lincoln is hurting again. He has become more and more irritable lately. Everything sets him off. He’s kind of mopey. He’s not as enthusiastic about meals. He chews at his hip and his flanks. It’s time to try to help sort it out for him.

We know he has hip dysplasia and the stomach issues. We have also suspected he has a problem with his spine, although getting that diagnosed has been pretty tough since he hates the vets so much. Unfortunately, going to the vet causes him more stress than the pain itself. Since that’s the case, we don’t want to take him to the vet unless it is an emergency, but that’s another story.

What we’re trying

Finding a winning formula is an experiment in a lot of ways. Pain treatments have various degrees of success depending on the animal and the problem they have. What works in one case may not work in another. Even when trying to help your pet with a previously recognized problem, what worked one day doesn’t work the next. It gets more challenging when they can’t tell you in words exactly what’s going on.

We’ve been trying several different approaches, hoping to help him get comfortable. Lincoln gets previcox every day, as well as CBD oil and joint supplements. On bad days, we give him tramadol, and gabapentin too. We’ve been using the cold laser on him. His diet is pretty limited to keep him from getting too much fat and getting his stomach upset. Since I’ve learned reiki, I’ve been trying that on him as well.

The other morning, Lincoln wasn’t wanting to eat and he was just moping around. I decided to give him a reiki session right then to see if I could help. It hurts me seeing him hurt, so I’ve been trying everything. He relaxed right into it. After the session, he actually got excited about breakfast and started to smile and wag his tail. He ate really well and wasn’t grumpy most of the day. Of course, he got his CBD, previcox, joint chew, and tramadol as well, but instead of just dulling the reaction (which I see as dulling the pain), he was actually happy!

Treating pain in pets

If you have a pet that isn’t acting right; you have to be a detective. If you watch and pay attention, you might be able to figure out what’s going on. Maybe they’re irritable, mopey, slower than normal, have a poor appetite, etc. They could be standing funny or favoring one limb or doing something else that doesn’t seem quite right. These are all signs that they may be having pain. And since pain is caused by something, giving pain medicine is usually only part of the problem.

Treating pain in pets that can’t tell us what they feel is difficult. You have to use your nonverbal skills to sort it out and try to come up with a plan. Pets will let us know, if we’re paying attention, how they’re feeling. If we’re successful, our pets will look and act better.

For more information, you can also search posts like this one from PetMD.

Do you have a pet with pain issues? How do they let you know what’s wrong? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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