#Pain #Medication and #PainManagement for #Dogs

Pain medication and pain management for dogs

Pain medication for dogs

No dog deserves to live with chronic pain. Unfortunately, many of them do, and that is why proper pain management for dogs is an important way to ensure a high quality of life. Some dogs will present with limping or lameness, while other dogs' symptoms can be harder to read. Your dog may appear more tired than usual, lethargic or become aggressive when touched in certain areas. Or maybe “he’s just not himself lately.” That is why a pain assessment by your veterinarian is a great start to crafting the best pain management plan for your pet.

There are many reasons why your dog may be in pain. A dog may feel pain after an accident or illness. Often times disease in dogs is associated with pain; pets with cancer, obesity and arthritis may suffer daily from pain caused by their affliction. There may be pain after surgery that will need treatment. Old age and nerve damage can also cause chronic pain. Pain is also associated with inflammation. Inflammation causes chemicals from the dog's white blood cells to be released into the affected area, which will increase blood flow to the injury or illness, therefore causing pain.

Hazel receiving laser therapy for pain.

A veterinarian will usually prescribe one of two types of pain medications; a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or a narcotic drug. NSAIDs are the most common drug used to treat long-term pain in dogs. NSAIDs are safe and effective and are not just most commonly prescribed for treating chronic pain, but they are the drug of choice after routine surgeries like spays, neuters and dental cleanings. If NSAIDs are not effective enough and the dog is still showing signs of pain a narcotic may be prescribed. Narcotics can be used to accompany NSAIDs or on their own, but are not usually the first drug of choice to treat chronic, long-term pain in dogs.

NSAIDs can be taken in many forms; chew, tablet, capsule or as a liquid oral suspension. Depending on your dog’s weight and preference the doctor may recommend one of these over the other. NSAIDs can reduce high temperature, fever, inflammation and the pain itself. Although there are many human NSAIDs reported online to be good pain medications for dogs, most veterinarians strongly advise against using them. Toxicity caused by human NSAIDs is common in dogs and can result in illness and thinning of the blood, so using a canine specific NSAID is safer and often more effective, as well as easier to dose. Before using any human medication for your dog you should consult your veterinarian. When using an NSAID long-term a profile blood workup to check liver function is often recommended every six months, especially for senior dogs whose organ function is declining due to age.

Narcotics commonly prescribed to dogs are opioid analgesics and are used to treat moderate to severe pain, or after a non-routine surgery like an amputation or cruciate repair. Many narcotics can be paired safely with NSAIDs. Generally, narcotics are not for long-term use and they may cause drowsiness.

If you are looking for an alternative to medication or something that can be used in conjunction with your dog’s current medication there are many safe alternatives available. Laser therapy, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, glucosamine supplements and medicated food are some of the other things you can do for a dog in pain. Talk to your veterinarian about the best pain management plan for your dog and ensure the quality of life and a big, slobbery dog smile to greet you every day!

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