Pain can be very debilitating to most patients and we try everything we can to prevent it. Acute or surgical pain can be prevented with a preemptive plan starting before the surgery begins. After receiving a complete physical examination the morning of their surgery our patients are provided with a individual pain prevention plan. This can include a combination of pain injections before anesthesia begins, a local block at the site of the surgery, analgesic medications in a constant rate infusion drip during surgery, extended injections after surgery and a safe combination of oral medications for the family to give at home. We also have cryotherapy and laser therapy that can aid in controlling post-operative pain while your pet is recovering in the hospital. We make specific recommendations about home care including icing, limiting activity and preventing self trauma. In combination all of these steps help our patients to recover quickly and with the least amount of pain.
Chronic pain can be prevented, delayed or minimized by planning in advance. For example, the single most important thing that can be done to limit your pet from developing pain secondary to osteoarthritis is to maintain your pet at an ideal body weight. Because not all 50 pound dogs or 13 pound cats are created equal, we use a Body Condition Score to know if that weight is the correct one for your pet. A score of 5/ 9 using the Purina Body Condition Score Canine BCS or Feline BCS demonstrates what your pet should look and feel like. The next step is to be sure you recognize the early signs of discomfort and investigate them. If we find a tendon or ligament injury early it can be treated and your pet’s pain may be very limited. If we detect osteoarthritis or myofascial pain early we can reduce discomfort and limit the development of compensatory pain in other parts of the body (Pain Handout). Some interventions may even slow down the damage or progress of disease and maintain mobility and a longer quality of life. Our team can talk with you about supplements and exercises that can support your pet in an active, comfortable lifestyle. As your pet ages and may begin to show a decline in mobility, we can offer suggestions for assistance devises and environmental modifications that can limit the development of new pain.