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Due to better veterinary care, vaccinations and improved dietary habits, pets are living longer than ever before. One consequence of a longer life is that pets – and their owners and veterinarians – now face an entirely new range of challenges associated with age-related veterinary conditions. Comprehensive senior pet care now always includes a pet pain management plan when appropriate.
Veterinarians consider a cat or small dog as geriatric at the age of seven. The American Veterinary Medical Association Larger breeds of dogs tend to have shorter life spans, so veterinarians consider a dog to be a senior at the age of six years.
Like humans, pets can develop painful age-related conditions, such as arthritis and cancer. Many years ago, people thought that pets did not feel pain the same as humans. Now veterinarians understand that pets display signs of pain differently. Signs that your pet may be in pain include:
Squinting of the eyes
A hunched position
Obsessive grooming, especially over a particular site
Difficulty sitting or rising from a seated position
A change in demeanor, usually going from calm and friendly to irritable or even aggressive
If you notice any of these signs in your older pet, contact our veterinarian in Winnipeg. Controlling your senior pet’s pain is essential to his overall well-being.
If your pet is experiencing pain, our veterinarian in Winnipeg can create a pain management plan that helps your dog or cat feel better. We may recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are a class of drugs that control pain and reduce inflammation. NSAIDs work by blocking the production of certain chemicals, known as prostaglandins, which cause inflammation. NSAIDs are helpful in controlling the signs of arthritis, such as inflammation, swelling, joint stiffness and pain. These anti-inflammatory drugs are also helpful for controlling pain after a surgical procedure.
Veterinarians typically do not prescribe narcotics, which are a stronger class of medicine, but narcotics can help with very serious pain. Narcotics, also known as opioids, are very powerful and can cause serious side effects so veterinarians reserve this class of drugs for very special cases.
For the health, well-being and safety of your older pet, our veterinarians will prescribe the lowest dose necessary to relieve your pet’s pain and recommend that your pet receive the medication for the shortest time possible. This is because the body of an older pet processes medications differently than a younger cat or dog, and these differences can change how the medications work for your pet.
Our veterinarian in Winnipeg may also recommend a special diet or activity plan for your older pet. These lifestyle changes can help your pet lose weight, decrease stiffness in joints and reduce pain.
If you have an older pet and have questions about pet pain management or senior pet care, make an appointment with our veterinarian in Winnipeg.