We have already established that pain is, well, a pain! Webster’s defines pain as: localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder and a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus received by naked nerve endings…  That’s painful to even read!

If you read our last blog you know how important it is to control pain.  Left untreated, pain negatively affects the wellbeing, health and longevity of our pets. The question is how can we help once we know our pets are suffering .

  • Drugs:  Drugs are generally the first line of defense in pain management.  We use anesthetics, analgesics, muscle relaxants, steroids and even antidepressants to treat pain. Local anesthetics are also used to treat site specific pain or as nerve blocks in dental and surgical procedures.


  • Nutraceuticals:  Cosequin/Dasuquin:  The ingredients in these drugs work together to maintain the structure of joint cartilage while slowing the enzymes that break it down. They work well. Just make sure you use products that have verified ingredients and molecular weight.  There are many on the market and they are not all equal in ingredients or effectiveness.


  • Chiropractic: Chiropractic can help increase an animal’s range of motion, help alleviate back and joint pain, optimize neurologic function and help reduce the need for long term drug treatments. Improved function and decreased pain will all help to provide an overall higher quality of life. Improved neurological function may also lead to improved function of other organs and systems.


  • Acupuncture:  Acupuncture is used for many reasons but pain management is one it’s moist important applications.  It is believed to have a healing affect through the stimulation of specific points on the body. By inserting a needle in these points acupuncture stimulate nerves, increases circulation, relieves muscle spasms and causes the release of endorphins that ease pain. It has been used in people for over 4,000 years but is relatively new to veterinary medicine.


  • Massage:  The CVMA defines Medical massage as a practice “that targets conditions based on a veterinarian’s diagnosis; it involves specific techniques with the goal of producing measurable responses from the patient. Medical Massage for Animals brings a scientific perspective to massage therapy for dogs, inspired by the core connections of structure and function. It takes into consideration underlying medical conditions, with the goal of optimizing patient wellness, safety, and comfort by incorporating insights from osteopathic manipulative therapy and acupuncture.”


  • Cold Laser:  Cold laser is a non-cutting laser which works by stimulating cells and increasing blood circulation. At the correct wavelength, pain signals are reduced, nerve sensitivity decreases and endorphins released. Cold Laser is used in wound healing, ulcers, burns, wounds, cruciate ligament injury, sprain, strain, shoulder lameness, arthritis, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, lick granuloma, head shaking, back pain, back injury, disc disease.


  • Heat/Cold Therapy:  Heat and cold therapy has been around forever.  Cold is effective in reducing swelling and inflammation and heat improves circulation. Both are readily or available, free and they work. 


  • Lifestyle Changes:  Sometimes it’s the little things that help.  Changes as simple as changing to a therapeutic bed, decreasing food intake for weight loss, ramps, non-slip flooring and other modifications can increase quality of life for older, painful pets.