At some point in their lives, most animals feels pain. Pain is highly subjective, and what one person or animal feels as pain may not be the same as another. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as "an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage". They also, more succinctly, define it as:
"Pain is whatever the patient says it is"
Pain is, initially, a protective mechanism, a way of changing the animals behaviour to reduce further damage. However, as well as affecting behaviour, it also impairs healing and can cause longterm changes in the spinal cord and brain, especially if it is not resolved and an acute pain progresses to a chronic pain.
Given that our patients are non-verbal, it is important to look for the subtle signs of pain - these can be changes in gait, demeanour, or vague responses to examination. This is especially true for chronic pain.
There is no one single magic treatment for any painful patient - we have to tailor make an analgesia package for each individual, and it most cases this requires a multimodal approach. At PinPoint Veterinary Care, we can utilise a number of approaches and modalities to alleviate the discomfort your pet may be in, and allow them to return to their previous function in some cases, or improve their quality of life in others. These can include LASER, acupuncture or electroacupuncture, massage, joint mobilisations, pharmacological products and supplements, as well as some exercises later in the treatments. Our ultimate aim is to prevent suffering and improve wellbeing.