Managing Your Dog's Pain
Treatment choices and considerations
The standard form of pain treatment is medication. Today's medications come in pill form as well as liquids, skin patches or gels. There are new analgesic products to help treat your dog after an injurious trauma or to help control chronic pain.
Steroids are the traditional treatment for anti-inflammatory purposes and for pain relief, but prolonged use can have adverse side effects and it is crucial that you follow your veterinarian's dispensing instructions to the letter. Newer, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are now often used to treat orthopedic-related pain with fewer side effects.
Do not try to medicate your dog yourself. Some human-safe painkillers or combinations of medications can be toxic to dogs even in very small doses. Never give your dog any medication without consulting your veterinarian.
Besides standard pharmaceutical treatment, complementary (or alternative) options are now available. You can now get acupuncture, homeopathy, holistic medicine, and even aromatherapy for your dog. Consult your veterinarian to help you decide whether complementary medicine would be helpful for your dog and to find the right practitioner. Make sure that the alternative practitioner and your regular veterinarian stay in contact regarding your dog's treatment.
Whether you choose complementary or traditional medical practices, you should take into account the possible side effects and the amount of time necessary for each treatment option to show results. Your veterinarian will be able discuss costs, benefits, and risks of the various treatment options. The best treatment is the one that's personalized for your dog and you.
Pain management after surgery is particularly important. When recovering from invasive procedures, your dog is not only in pain, but weak and disoriented. When you bring her home after a procedure, you need to follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully and consistently. If your vet prescribes an analgesic for your dog, give it to her as directed. If any problems develop, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Have a soft, warm bed ready for her, near enough that you can keep an eye on her, but out of the hustle and bustle of daily life so she can rest, stay quiet, and feel safe and secure. Don't let her pick at her sutures. If necessary, ask for an Elizabethan or e-collar so she can't reach her sutures. Be attentive and loving. Your love and attention are some of the best medicine she can receive.
As with any medical condition, your veterinarian is your best ally in identifying and managing your pet's pain. Pain management requires a team effort, but the end result, a happier and healthier dog, is well worth it.
Source: Adapted from the American Animal Hospital Association
Image: Meneer Zjeroen / via Flickr
The article originally appeared on DogTime.com.
Any substance that is used to make an animal or person healthier
Not with much energy; lethargic
A medical condition in which the joints become inflamed and causes a great deal of pain.
Any medication that is designed to aid in relieving pain without being a sedative.
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