By: Nazli Mohideen
Like humans, pets are bound to experience more health-related issues with age. Common signs of a pet in pain include unexplained restlessness or whimpering, being antisocial from other pets, limping or slow movement, irritability, aggressiveness, and loss of appetite to name a few. However, treatment differs depending on whether the pain is acute or chronic.
Acute pain is sudden and usually a result of an infection, injury, or surgery. Examples of this are cuts and bruises. While this pain is minor, when left untreated, it can become chronic pain. Chronic pain occurs over time but is far harder to detect and treat. Frequent examples of chronic pain are cancer and arthritis.
Change is most effective in the environment pets know best: home. Adding ramps to assist with easier movement and covering slippery surfaces with rugs are just some of the easy ways to better protect your pet. Having easy accessibility to food and a bed to relax is also ideal.
Maintaining a healthy weight for pets is crucial in lessening bone and joint pain, leading to larger issues like arthritis. Veterinarians recommend a healthy diet and specific supplements like fish oil if necessary.
NSAIDs, otherwise known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, block pain pathways and reduce inflammation. These medications are prescribed by a veterinarian and aren’t as addictive as other medications. When used on an appropriate schedule, it has been shown that NSAIDs work wonders for pain management.
This type of therapy is when pets are somewhat submerged underwater and swim or walk on a treadmill to relieve stress and pressure on their joints. Also known as aquatic therapy, it is generally associated in helping pets with diabetes, paralysis, ACL injuries, osteoarthritis, among other conditions.
In addition to treating certain conditions and preventing further injury, there are other benefits such as strengthening of muscles, healing of tissue, less swelling and muscle spasms, and more blood circulation. Session costs vary, but the same can be done at-home using floaties and a swimming pool.
Canine rehabilitation or physical therapy is known to target certain areas of the body to promote better muscle and skeletal health. Besides hydrotherapy, cold therapy, heat therapy, and massages are advised. This all increases blood circulation as well as lessens pain, blood pressure, swelling, and inflammation.
Particularly with pets suffering from arthritis, seeking care from an animal chiropractor ideal. During these sessions, chiropractors are able to arrest spinal issues which may be contributing to inflammation and stress of the joints as well as potential injury to the vertebral discs. Similar to chiropracting, acupuncture focuses on certain points of the body and is commonly used for pets with arthritis, disc disease, anxiety, and cancer.