Our pets may not respond to questions like "Where does it hurt" but they do have other ways of letting us know when they are in pain.
Is My Pet In Pain? By Dr. Priddy
Signs that can indicate pain
• Has she begun to leave food in her bowl at meal time?
• Has she become less social with other family members (furry or non-furry)?
• Is he less active than usual? More reluctant to move at times, and difficult to rouse?
• Are naps becoming more frequent and longer in duration?
• Does your cat hiss when being touched in certain places?
• Has your cat taken to hiding and avoiding social occasions?
• Does your dog's daily walk take longer?
• Does your dog pant or whine more often—and not just for treats?
• Does your dog growl or snap when being touched in certain places?
• Does your dog limp during or after walks
• Has your cat stopped jumping up to the sunny window to bask in the sun?
Consult your veterinarian on 4 issues:
1. Activity level: Is your dog in pain after infrequent but very active play periods? Is she always limping on the same leg? Radiographs may be useful to isolate the specific location of pain.
2. Food supplement for aging joints: Studies on the effects of supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate on arthritis have shown promise. Clinical effects are usually seen after an initial 4 to 6 week period.
3. Weight control: It's important to keep your pet's weight down. Carrying around an extra pound or two mayn't seem like a big deal to us, but to our dogs and cats it could be a large percentage increase of what they're supposed to move around with. If you have questions about how much your pet should weigh, ask your vet.
4. Consistent exercise is important for your pet, especially as she ages. Taking an elderly dog for a gentle stroll around the block, or even longer, can increase strength and reduce joint pain. Laser pointer play lights can help exercise an inactive feline by giving her something to chase.
Many pet owners assume that old age is slowing their pet down, but it could be pain. Be sure, and check with your veterinarian.
Dr. Ashley W. Priddy (BVMS) is licensed by the North American Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, and is a Member of the United Kingdom Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Currently he is working at the Holt Veterinary Clinic at 5619 SMU Boulevard, Dallas TX 752062, www.holtvet.com.