Dog Pain | Chronic Pain & Adaptive Pain | Full Information


Our knowledge about pain in animals has grown substantially over the years in the case of veterinary medicine. We know that our dog’s nervous systems are wired the same way as our own.


Dog Pain

So you can assume that if a medical procedure or condition is painful for you than your dog is experiencing the same degree of dog pain. The difficulty is identifying what the dog is experiencing since they cannot communicate with us. But now that we know how the nervous system works we can make some assumptions about treating and preventing pain in our pets.


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Pain should be treated early and adequately whenever possible. We need the pain to survive. Pain protects us from hurting ourselves further. Burning our hands hurts – so we learn not to stick our hands in the fire. This is called adaptive pain and our pets experience it just like we do. Adaptive pain includes all inflammatory pain which is a major factor following surgery or trauma.

Adaptive Dog Pain

Problems can occur when we don’t properly treat adaptive pain.  Left untreated, physical changes can begin to occur in the brain and spinal cord. Eventually, unrelenting pain, misery, and suffering can set in.

The most common Dog pain that dogs will face is related to surgery. Fortunately, veterinarians will take steps to take care of your pet’s pain management. It may begin before the surgery, will continue throughout the surgery, often followed by an anti-inflammatory prescription and pain medication for the healing process.

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Traumatic injuries such as lacerations, sprains, and fractures can be very stressful to an animal. Veterinarians will make your pet as comfortable as possible and will prescribe pain medications as they see fit. They realize that pain will interfere with any healing process.

As with any medication, you should follow the instructions explicitly and complete the full script. Even if your pet is displaying no signs of obvious pain. Sometimes they don’t make it easy for us to read signs that they’re uncomfortable.

Chronic Dog Pain

Chronic pain is dog pain in which dog serves no useful purpose. It usually involves due to changes in the nervous system of the animal. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in our pets.

The good news is that we now have effective strategies to address the issue. We now treat the problem by targeting multiple aspects and origins of the pain.

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If your dog’s behavior has changed in small ways recently you may want to have him evaluated by your veterinarian for the possibility that he has some kind of pain issue going on. Your veterinarian may have to use radiographs, CT scans, or MRIs to find the source of the pain. Before prescribing any drugs the doctor would analyze your dog’s blood and urine to evaluate metabolic function.

If the doctor determines that chronic pain is evident he will discuss important steps that should be used to treat the initial stages of chronic pain. Weight management is one of the first things he may talk about. Weight loss often helps any pain due to joints issues.

Weight reduction also allows the pet to be more active which may help with the pain and contribute to keeping the weight off and to a healthy level. A change in diet may be recommended.

Certain nutritional dog food is beneficial for certain conditions. Your veterinarian will discuss all these options with you. Other pain control techniques that may be recommended include acupuncture, therapeutic laser, medical massage, and therapeutic ultrasound.

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Once the Dog pain cycle is somewhat under control other techniques can be introduced such as therapeutic exercise. Once your dog starts showing signs that he is more comfortable and more free of pain your doctor may begin to reduce medications to the lowest doses required to keep the animal comfortable.

It is up to us to intervene on our animal’s behalf. They cannot explain to us what is going on with them physically so we have to look for signs that something has changed with them. It is up to you to observe and act on any changes you notice.


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