Don’t let pain stop your pet from living a full and happy life. Many of us have dogs and cats who suffer from arthritis pain, post surgical pain and even pain associated with old injuries. Most of them don’t complain, so all we see is slightly slowed activity, and then more activity and happiness once we have relieved the pain.
Now we no longer have to sit on the sidelines while our beloved pets exist in constant discomfort, and pain management is not limited to daily pills with potential side effects and ongoing monitoring requirements. There are many options available for pain management including acupuncture, laser therapy, and nutraceuticals.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice that uses fine needles to stimulate the body to use its own pain relieving and anti-inflammatory processes such as endorphins and serotonin. As a veterinarian and certified veterinary acupuncturist for over 12 years, I have seen patients with chronic and debilitating pain return to normal daily activities. From the paralyzed dachshunds and bassets who are able to walk again, to the cat who had “finally learned the owner didn’t want him on the counters” but who was able to jump again after treatment, I enjoy helping animals play again.
Most patients tolerate the treatments very well, and often find it very relaxing. Another development in pain therapy is the Class IV therapeutic laser. Using different wavelengths of light, the body’s natural healing mechanisms are stimulated to provide pain relief, resolve inflammation, improve function of damaged neurological tissue, and shorten healing time. Laser therapy can be used for a wide variety of conditions – basically, any condition with inflammation or pain, including:
- Acute or chronic pain from illness or injury
- Musculoskeletal and neurological problems
- Intervertebral disk disease
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Edema/swelling due to surgery or trauma
- Improves response to physical therapy
- Dermatologic conditions
- Pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots)
- Lick granulomas
- Lacerations/wounds/cat bite abscess
- Nerve injury/paralysis
- Tendon/ligament injury
- Post operative orthopedic surgeries
Nutraceuticals are next in our arsenal of pain management options. They are natural supplements that slow the progression of joint degeneration, or inflammation, and provide building blocks to promote cartilage regeneration. Some examples include Adequan, an injection given in our office twice per week for four weeks, and then about once per month for maintenance. Oral supplements come in many forms that dogs and cats will enjoy as tasty treats.
Not all over the counter supplements are created equal, and some are not appropriate for pets. The brands we stock have been scientifically shown to do what they say they will, and some were proven to be almost as effective as the most popular prescription medications, without the side effects. Dasuquin and Duralactin are the latest additions to our nutraceutical pharmacy. We also have the full battery of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications available from our online pharmacy, or from the hospital. If purchased from a veterinarian, some of these products have manufacturer rebates to help offset the cost of chronic medication.
If you have a dog or a cat suffering with discomfort, or one who seems to have just been slowing down lately, make an appointment today to discuss the best options for pain management that fit your budget and schedule, and will improve quality of life.