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September is Animal Pain Awareness Month

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month

Some of our readers may know that September is Pain Awareness Month in the medical field in the United States. What you may not know is that the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) has also designated it as Animal Pain Awareness month.

Its important to be aware that there are numerous treatments available to help your pets with both acute and chronic pain. It's incredibly important that you consult your veterinarian if you believe that your pet is in pain so that they can provide treatment and relief for your pet.

Pain in pets can be difficult to diagnose. Many pets mask pain as a part of their survival mechanisms, so, unless it is severe, signs can go unnoticed. Obvious signs of pain may be limping, vocalizing excessively or unusually, licking or chewing the body obsessively or other dramatic changes in behavior.

More subtle cues to look for are changes in behavior, particularly an unwillingness to do activities the pet usually did with ease such as jumping in and out of a car for dogs or up and down from high furniture for cats. An unwillingness to use the stairs or extra cautiousness with the stairs may be another sign that your pet is uncomfortable.

There are also illnesses such as urinary tract problems which may cause pain in your pets. Watch for changes in elimination habits such as unusual accidents in the house, straining when going to the bathroom or an increased frequency of elimination in your pets. Vocalization while eliminating is also a sign.

Seeking the advice of a veterinarian is always the right move if you think that your pet might be in pain. A vet can prescribe medication or treatments for illnesses and injuries. For chronic pain there are also additional treatments they may recommend such as physical therapy, laser treatments, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care and hydrotherapy. Your veterinarian can work with you to determine the best course of action for your individual pet’s needs.

When in doubt about a change in your pet’s behavior, the best course of action is always to seek the advice of a veterinary professional.

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