Pain in our pets

posted on January 02, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Since pets aren’t able to speak, it can be difficult to determine if they are in pain.  Pets tend to be extremely stoic, and may eat despite rotting teeth, may walk despite broken bones, and may wag their tail despite having just had surgery.  So how do you tell if something is amiss?

Some pets will vocalize when in pain, whether a whine, whimper, howl, or growl.  However, not all pets will, so this is not always a good indicator.  Sometimes there are physical signs of pain that are visible-limping, trembling, dilated pupils (unless the eye is what is painful, then may see squinting, and dilated or constricted pupils), increased heart rate and increased respiratory rate, changes in gait, posture, tail and/or ear position, mobility, or even changes in the way they sit or lay (leg cocked out, prayer position, curled up or stretched out differently).  Overgrooming an area or barbering the hair can indicate pain, as can a complete lack of grooming.  Changes in eating, drinking, urination, defecation, and sleep habits may all indicate pain also.

More often, pets will have subtle changes in their personality.  They may act more anxious-whining, pacing, licking, panting, seeming unable to get comfortable/or unable to relax.  They may also be agitated, and may even become aggressive.  Some pets may become less social, actively hiding or avoiding interactions with other pets and/or humans.

Since many of these signs can be a bit subjective, it is always best to seek veterinary advice to determine if your pet is in pain and what may be the cause so appropriate treatment can be pursued.  Always finish all pain medications prescribed unless otherwise directed by a veterinarian.  Lastly, many human pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and even aspirin can be toxic to our pets, so please do not administer these to your pet.  Veterinarians have pet safe medications they can dispense when appropriate.  If you think your pet is painful, please call today!

Travel, and Fireworks, and Storms, Oh My!

posted on June 04, 2012 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Summer may mean warmth, sunshine, and spending more time outdoors, but it can also bring more things that can cause anxiety in our pets. Things such as car rides or airplane flights for family vacations, fireworks, or thunderstorms may all cause our pet to become stressed.

Signs of anxiety can include:

  • Hiding
  • Drooling
  • Shaking
  • Barking, whining, howling or other vocalizations
  • Licking excessively
  • Urinating or defecating inappropriately
  • Scratching/digging, chewing, or other destructive behavior

Pets can pick up on our anxiety as well, so even if you aren’t currently traveling, if you are stressing over travel plans, your pet may be more anxious. Also, pets can sense things such as change in atmospheric pressure and may know a storm is coming long before you do!  Lastly, our pet’s sense of hearing is much better than ours, so they may notice fireworks or thunder that we just cannot hear.

If your pet has anxiety in any of these situations, we can help. There is a medication we are using in dogs to help with situational anxiety. Also, if your pet is an overall anxious animal, there are medications we can use on a daily basis to help alleviate their anxiety. Calls us today to set up an appointment to discuss if this is right for your pet and your situation. Lastly, we may refer you to meet with Linda Brodzik, our behavioralist, to discuss anxiety or destructive behaviors more in depth after a consult with us. Together we can come up with a treatment plan that works well for you and your pet.

Posted in: Behaviors