Chronic pain is one of the most common problems affecting our four-legged family members. Often this pain is caused by changes that occur to the bones and joints as our pets age. Advances in pain management have allowed us to keep our pets comfortable into their golden years as well as relieve discomfort from injuries and surgeries.

Running the appropriate diagnostics is the first step in implementing a pain management program. Blood work to evaluate major organ function is required prior to treatment with oral medications and sedation for radiographs. Radiographs are needed to evaluate the bones and joints to diagnose congenital defects, arthritic changes, traumatic injuries or other reasons for discomfort.

Neutroceuticals, or supplements, are available to help replace lubricating fluids that are found naturally in the joint. There are three stages of Glyco-Flex available for dogs and cats, so your pet’s needs can be met on an individual basis. Adequan injections are also available for dogs.

There are a variety of pharmaceuticals, or medications, that can be used for pain control. Rimadyl, Metacam and Previcox can be used both for short and long term relief. Pets on long term pain medication need to have bloodwork run twice yearly to evaluate major organ function.

Occasionally, the cause of a pet’s pain is severe enough that additional treatment is required to keep them comfortable . Surgical procedures exist for pets with several orthopedic disorders, including joint disease and ligament tears. Shock wave therapy is a new tool available which uses sound waves to alleviate pain and to treat its causes.

If you feel that your pet may be experiencing pain, please inquire with a doctor. There may be options available to ease their discomfort.