Dogs that suffer from chronic pain experience a serious decline in quality of life, yet the signs of chronic pain can be difficult for even the most attentive pet parents to spot. Here, our Rabun County vets discuss chronic pain in dogs, the signs and treatments that can help your dog live more comfortably.
What is Chronic Pain in Dogs?
While we can do a pretty good job of it, there may be conditions that we just can't prevent. We always hope to love and care for our canine companions as though they were one of our own human family members. One such condition that not only hurts your dog but also significantly lowers their quality of life is chronic pain.
How to Know if Your Dog Suffers From Chronic Pain
If you suspect your canine friend may be experiencing chronic pain, make note of any signs and symptoms you observe and bring them in for a thorough examination to rule out any other potential causes.
Your vet may utilize the following pain assessment methods in order to diagnose your dog's condition:
- Veterinary examination
- Physiologic biomarkers
- Objective measurements of gait (eg, force plate) and/or activity and movement (eg, accelerometer)
- Owner assessment of activities of daily living (ADL)
- Multifactorial clinical measurement instruments.
The Causes of Chronic Pain in Dogs
Osteoarthritis, which affects about 40% of dogs, is the most common cause of dogs experiencing chronic pain. Hereditary and other congenital factors, which can affect dogs of all ages and breeds, are some contributing factors for osteoarthritis.
Other causes of chronic pain in dogs include:
- Intervertebral disk disease IVDD
- Dental Health Problems
Treatments for Chronic Pain in Dogs
Never give your dog medications intended for humans. Many medications that we take are toxic to our pets. If your dog is diagnosed with a condition that causes chronic pain, the recommended treatment will be determined by the underlying cause of the pain.
Surgery is usually the best treatment option for painful dental health conditions.
Chronic pain related to cancer can be treated a number of ways including narcotics such as Tramadol, NSAIDs such as Metacam, Previcox, Deramaxx and Rimadyl, topical medications including lidocaine, benzocaine, cortisone, or dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), or drug-free therapies such as acupuncture or laser therapy.
Laser Therapy to Treat Chronic Pain in Dogs
Veterinary laser therapy is a fairly new method of treatment for symptoms related to various disorders and is most commonly used to help manage pain, inflammation, and wound healing for your pet.
Light waves of a specific wavelength are used in therapeutic lasers to alter the physiology of the affected tissues. Throughout treatment, the light emitted by these lasers will help to stimulate the cells within the tissues, allowing for faster cellular regeneration.
The tissue that can be affected is determined by the wavelength of the laser used. Near-infrared light is emitted by the majority of lasers, with the use of lower wavelength lasers becoming more common. Low-wavelength lasers are used to treat skin-related issues, whereas higher-wavelength lasers can focus on deep tissue repair.
Speak to your vet if you would like to learn more about how your dog may benefit from veterinary laser therapy.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.