We generally consider pain to be a bad thing; after all, it hurts and can cause our pets to resist participating in normal behaviors. However, pain can be beneficial. For example, if an animal hurts his leg, pain will make him stop using it. This protective mechanism allows the injury to heal without further damage. Noticing an animal’s pain allows us to identify an injury and treat it.
We use pain medications (analgesics) to treat pain as part of the therapeutic plan. In many patients, these medications are required for a limited amount of time, from a few days to a few weeks. Sometimes, though, the pain response can persist and become exaggerated, resulting in excessive pain. If not addressed appropriately, pain can lead to delayed healing and exaggerated stress in already sick or injured patients. Untreated pain potentially results in further injury, illness, and severe behavioral changes.
Pain can be classified in a number of different ways:
Acute Pain: occurs immediately after an injury or surgery and can be mild to severe. There are a number of ways this can be treated, and the pain generally goes away once the injury or surgical site has healed. The duration of acute pain is usually less than a few weeks.
Chronic Pain: can last a long time, persisting after the initial cause is eliminated. It can also be caused by diseases, like arthritis, that cannot be repaired. Chronic pain can be debilitating for a patient and affects quality of life. Management is an ongoing process, and may require long-term therapy.
Neuropathic Pain: this is the kind of pain Dr. Kube sees more than any other. It comes from a direct insult to the nervous system – either the peripheral nerves, the spinal cord or the brain. It can persist for long periods of time, and sometimes is even noted when there is no obvious cause for the pain. The nerves and organs involved in the pain response behave abnormally. This results in pain from stimuli-touch, pressure, and changes in temperature, actions normally not painful for the patient. Like chronic pain, neuropathic pain can require long-term therapy.
Pain management for humans is not a new concept. Pain is just as significant and common in pets as it is in people. Dogs and cats are very adept at hiding pain and diskovering the cause and how to help can be complicated. Dr. Kube and her staff are very skilled at interpreting the physical signs of pain, approaching your pet’s comfort with highest standard of care. Dr. Kube consults and lectures internationally on managing pain in animals, she is one of a only a few people (CVPP) qualified to treat pain specifically with neurological patients (or any patient)!
Once we discover the cause, we create a unique multi-modal pain management plan for your pet. Pain management improves the recovery process from illness, surgery, injury, and chronic pain conditions. We aggressively address your pet’s pain with pharmaceutical therapies, various modalities, and techniques in rehabilitation to offer your pet the best chance to regain his/her original mobility and function while having minimal, if any, pain.
Cases that may benefit from consultation and evaluation by a certified veterinary pain practitioner:
- Procedures associated with moderate to severe acute pain
- Patients with osteoarthritis that are no longer comfortable with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents) alone
- Neuropathic pain resulting in over-sensitivity to non-painful stimuli
- Pain no longer responding to routine analgesic therapy
- Back pain
- Pain associated with cancer
Dr. Kube also offers her expertise in pain management via consultations for you through your family veterinarian.