Acute and chronic pain in dogs are both debilitating but many dogs rarely show the signs of being in pain. This is usually due to an evolutionary instinct to not show weaknesses. It’s up to us as dog owners in the end to pick up on the subtle signs of pain in our dogs.
What’s the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain in Dogs?
Knowing the difference between acute and chronic pain in dogs is the first step in helping your dog. Dr. Lindsey, Fry, veterinarian and owner of Red Sage Vets in Colorado explains that acute pain is usually very obvious. This may be crying and other types of vocalizations, obvious limping, changes in mobility, or known events such as surgery or an accident. It is believed to have protective properties, but is often accompanied by redness, swelling, or fever. She’s explained “sometimes the pain is no longer protective. It has become the disease itself, and the symptoms look very different.”Chronic pain is often insidious, and your dog may have to endure it for a long time if the owner doesn’t notice the first signs.
How Can You Tell a Dog is Suffering From Chronic Pain?
“It is difficult to diagnose chronic pain because dogs usually do not have obvious signs associated with acute pain. “It’s very individual, so we try to peel back the layers that have developed and find the primary sources. It’s rarely the same between two patients.”, according to Dr. Fry. Changes in behavior are often the most important indicator of a pain problem. Sometimes these changes are noticeable and become big warning signs. Perhaps your normally voracious dog has stopped eating. Or, in general, affectionate dogs may growl, curl up, or hide when they try to touch.
Older dogs are more likely to have signs of chronic pain, usually from a condition like osteoarthritis so as dogs get older, it’s imperative to keep an eye out.
Severe chronic pain can cause depression and anxiety in dogs just like humans. Your dog may become noticeably more withdrawn and less likely to communicate or make contact. Older dogs are more likely to suffer from chronic pain. However, owners often associate subtle changes in behavior with natural age-related deceleration.
How Do You Diagnose Chronic Pain in Dogs?
How Do You Treat Chronic Pain in Dogs?
She also recommends making simple adjustments at home, like “ensuring your dog isn’t injuring themselves further on slippery floors, blind steps, steep staircases, or elevated sofas.” Introducing additions such as ramps, orthopedic beds, and rugs around the home are all small changes that can make a big difference.
Why is Weight Important for Dogs?
When Should You Visit a Vet?
For dogs with persistent chronic pain problems, it may be beneficial to seek help from a pain management or rehabilitation specialist. “General Practitioners are wonderful and essential, but they often have very limited time,” he says. fry. “Managing something like chronic pain is challenging and time-intensive. Having access to so many pain management options really lets us fine-tune the treatment for the dog.”
Adapted from “The “Subtleties and Seriousness of Chronic Pain in Dogs” written by Gemma Johnstone for AKC.com