Chronic Pain Management
Our approach to chronic pain has now been taught to veterinarians from many countries and typifies the 'long view' taken of our patients' problems.
Chronic pain problems cause distress to many owners, who understandably worry about their pet’s quality of life and are also frustrated by an apparent inability to explain why it has happened or why it is so difficult to treat.
A chronic pain clinic consultation aims to assess how much your pet is suffering. Obviously animals cannot talk about their pain, but they still tell us a story about it. Usually (although there are exceptions) they do this through changes in their behaviour; through the physical actions they have difficulty performing or have stopped doing; the way they hold themselves (posture) and move; and through their response to a clinical examination.
Each of these aspects on their own is not conclusive of pain and suffering: e.g. a dog may not readily jump in the car anymore because they have had many trips to the veterinary clinic and now associate a car journey with this experience; any cat tends to resent its joints being extended and any pet may have become more “clingy” to the owner because of changes in the household that has made them feel less secure.
Our expertise lies in being able to interpret all these aspects in the light of the patient’s temperament and previous experiences so that an assessment of the relevance of all these changes can be made.
Once we know how much suffering there is, we can discuss the sources of the pain; i.e, from which parts of the body it may be coming, because that will determine how we treat it.
Once we have decided on these then treatment can be decided. This will take into account concerns about medication; likely acceptance of the treatment; and any potential side effects. We will also discuss other aspects of management, including how to help your pet cope with both its pain and any frustration or limits that have been placed on its life by the condition; bodyweight; disease modification; and the possible benefits of other treatments such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
An initial chronic pain consultation takes 90 minutes and is followed by a full and thorough report, copied to your veterinary surgeon.
Clinics at: Glasgow Vet School; Edinburgh Vet School.
We are happy to discuss any case with your veterinary surgeon prior to referral.