Chronic Pain in Pets

Image of a dog in a wheelchair.

It's hard to see your pet in pain day after day, particularly if your formerly energetic friend has now become lethargic and withdrawn due to a health condition or disease. Unfortunately, pets suffer from chronic pain just like people do. Learning about types of chronic pain and treatments can help you keep your pet more comfortable.

Causes of Chronic Pain

Although chronic pain most often affects older pets, it can occur at any age. A variety of conditions and diseases can cause chronic pain, including:

  • Arthritis, particularly if your pet has entered its senior years
  • Cancer
  • Degenerative spinal diseases
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Inflammatory joint disease, such as Lyme disease and rheumatoid arthritis

How Your Pet's Veterinarian Can Help

If you notice a change in your pet's behavior or condition, a visit to the veterinarian is a good idea. Your pet's doctor will perform a complete examination and may recommend one or more tests, such as X-rays or blood tests, to determine the source of your furry friend's pain. Based on the results of the examination and tests, the veterinarian will recommend a course of treatment, which may include prescription medications, physical therapy or surgery. Several types of prescription medications can be helpful if your pet suffers from chronic pain, including:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Steroids
  • Opioids, including fentanyl and morphine
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Antidepressants (These drugs not only treat depression, but can also reduce pain)
  • Lidocaine and other local anesthetics
  • Gabapentin, a seizure medication that is also helpful in treating nerve pain

Although many of the same drugs that help you feel better can also help animals, do not give your pet any medication without checking with a veterinarian first. Some medications that are safe for humans are toxic when taken by animals.

How You Can Help

After diagnosing your pet, his or her veterinarian will recommend things you can do to make your pet more comfortable. These may include:

  • Helping your pet lose weight. Extra pounds can stress the joints and make the symptoms of arthritis, hip dysplasia or other joint conditions worse. Your pet's veterinarian can provide suggestions about feeding amounts and special foods that can make losing weight easier.
  • Making exercise a priority. Exercise will not only help your pet lose weight but can also reduce pain caused by arthritis. Low-impact exercises, such as walking and swimming, are best. Exercise strengthens the joints and the muscles that help support the joints.
  • Adding a massage to your pet's daily schedule. Massage is very effective in easing joint stiffness and improving range of motion.
  • Focusing on comfort. It can be difficult for pets suffering from joint problems, cancer or other painful conditions to jump or walk. Make their lives easier by accommodating their disabilities. If your pet normally sleeps with you but can longer jump on the bed, buy or build steps or a ramp to allow him or her to continue to spend time with you. Pet beds provide a comfortable resting place during the day or night and help your pet avoid cold floors, which can make joint pain worse. If your cat has a joint disease, it may be difficult to reach the litter box in time. Place a litter box on every level of your home to avoid accidents.

Are you worried that your pet may be in pain? Call us today to schedule an appointment for your furry friend.

Your First Visit is FREE

Sign up now

Office Hours

Monday:

7:30am

5:30pm

Tuesday:

7:30am

5:30pm

Wednesday:

7:30am

7:00pm

Thursday:

7:30am

5:30pm

Friday:

7:30am

5:30pm

Saturday:

7:30am

12:00pm

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonial

  • "Very caring people. I live in Clinton and it is worth the drive to them. I have been there a handful of times and the customer service has been above and beyond. Nothing but great things to say about every experience!"
    Chandra H
  • "Excellent caring staff. If I could give them a trillion stars I would. Your fur babies are in the best hands. The most caring compassionate staff you will ever meet!"
    Lori H
  • "SCAH has some of the most caring, compassionate and professional staff anywhere! They have treated our puppy dogs for the past 31 years and have treated each one with such kindness, knowledge and special care that we can't imagine going anywhere else. We have had some special issues with a few of our dogs and I feel like they not only did their utmost to give the best care, but also make sure that we as pet owners are part of the process. And when sadly, one of our fur babies has passed, they have given us such kindness and understanding that it makes a hard time much easier. Bless you all for your wonderful care to us and our doggies."
    Nancy N.
  • "Every single person at Scott County Animal Hospital, whether it is one of the doctors, one of the techs or groomer or a front desk worker...EVERYONE treats us like family every time we have a contact with them."
    Debi E.
  • "A huge thank you to Colene for always making Lola’s visits relaxing 💜 Lola did great with Dr. Knutson. I’m happy that I’ve finally found a place that truly cares about the well being of my fur-baby 🐶 Their whole staff is welcoming and I never have to worry about Lola’s appointments."
    Amber K
  • "The absolute best in the QC. Have always taken great care of our puppies and dogs throughout the years. Feels like family and always a warm welcome. Treat your pets with the best care like they are their own."
    VeronicaV.
  • "i wish all the vets offices would do this!I think it is wonderful to advertise all our fur babies and how they are doing!"
    Penny G.

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles