Most pets will have to endure a surgery or two in their lifetime, whether it be to be spayed or neutered, to have dental work done, or to have a growth removed. It is our goal to make this process as easy and pain-free as possible for both you and your pet. Learn what Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center is doing to combat post-surgical pain in pets.
Starting from the Beginning
Good pain management starts well before the pain even exists. In a surgical setting, we have the advantage of knowing when the pain will occur and how severe the expected discomfort will be.
We are best able to control pain if we prevent it rather than trying to treat it after the fact. Once the pain cascade begins, so called wind-up pain can quickly spiral out of control.
Pets undergoing surgery at our hospital are administered pre-emptive pain medication, often as part of a pre-surgical injection meant to lessen the amount of anesthetic needed, calm the pet, and prevent pain.
Managing Post-Surgical Pain in Pets
Managing post-surgical pain in pets is also important after the fact. In hospital we are able to help manage pain with injectable drugs as needed for the individual animal. Most surgical patients will be discharged with one or more types of pain medication. The length of time these are prescribed for depends largely on the patient and the procedure performed.
The most common mistake pet owners make is stopping the pain medication prescribed because they feel that their pet does not need it. Pets can appear normal and the only thing you may see is a slight limp or your pet laying around a little more. They can be in pain and not whine in pain or discomfort. Animals are not always good at telling us when they hurt, however, and it is important to finish the medication. Uncontrolled pain can decrease your pet’s quality of life and adversely impact healing.
Post-surgical pain medications usually fall into one of a few categories:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) – These medications such as Rimadyl and Deramaxx combat pain by decreasing inflammation. They are closely related to human medications like ibuprofen, but are safer for our pet patients. They provide potent pain control for many situations.
Opioids – These drugs are in the same family as morphine. Pets who cannot tolerate NSAIDs or need additional pain control, such as those patients undergoing orthopedic procedures.
Miscellaneous medications – Occasionally other medications such as those to help with neuropathic pain will also be prescribed. These are often used in conjunction with one or more other pain medications.
Pain hurts our pets, just as it does us, and it is our goal to keep our furry patients as comfortable as possible. By using the most up to date methods, we do our best to ensure good post-surgical pain control in pets. Please let us know if you feel that your pet might be in pain, or if you have any questions about managing pain in pets.