We get this question a lot. Some of you aren’t sure what to look for, some are right on track and then there are the folks in between. Since we are all about education and animal well-being, this blog is meant to help you so your pet can benefit. It’s a win-win!
Signs my dog is in pain
Dogs. They show signs if you know where to look. Sometimes these can be tricky. Like panting for instance. Your dog will pant if they are uncomfortable, but then again also if it is hot or they are stressed. Ugh. Are they doing less of what they love? Walking, running, going up or down the stairs differently or not at all? Licking and chewing can be a sign. It can also show allergies as well, which is why it is a good idea to make note of these signs and discuss them with your Veterinarian.
Credit for image to cgvet.com
By nature’s design our dogs are made to mask any pain if they can. For the reason that they should not appear weak to other animals and many of them also do not want to appear weak to us humans either. Even with us, their caretakers. That’s why we have to pay attention to their body language.
This is going to be a quick overview and not an extremely in depth look at pain detection in your pet.
Signs my cat is in pain.
Cats are unique creatures. They told all of us in this profession during school that, “Cats are not small dogs.” That is extremely true. They are even better at hiding pain and weakness than dogs and can be extremely difficult to read. Looking for pain in a cat can be a little like looking at one of those hidden object puzzles.
Are their pupils dilated? This can be stress or pain driven. Are they eating less than normal? Watch them walk up and down the stairs if you can. Do they hop-step, or have more difficulty going one direction more than the other? Are they vomiting more hair balls? This could be an indication of stress (which could be from pain), uncomfortable joints that they are trying to soothe by licking, or of course allergies. These are all important things to tell your Veterinarian during an exam so that they are able to narrow down the location of the discomfort and if you are dealing with something like arthritis.
Credit for photo PetMD
When to contact your Veterinarian
If your cat or dog is exhibiting any of the sings/symptoms mentioned above contact your veterinarian to set up an exam. They will ask further questions, check your pet from nose to tail and help you answer any of these questions.
Cats. It seems that you either are a cat person or you aren’t. The more you don’t enjoy their company the more they enjoy being next to you. That is what I personally think is great about them. They get what they want one way or another.
Cain is a 12 ½ year old Domestic Short Hair cat that I adopted from a rescue in Fargo as a 5 month old kitten. It was love at first meeting. He was chill, friendly and arrogant – just the way I like my cats. He has always been independent with a sprinkling of needy. Through our life together there have been moves, other pets (dogs, cats, and rats) added to the family, pets that have passed away, foster dogs and cats, pet sitting and a child added to his life. He has taken everything in stride. The last one he still does not particularly care for a whole lot.
Signs & Symptoms
Due to some changes in routine with our child recently, I attributed that to Cain acting differently. He wasn’t pestering me in the middle of the night (he certainly wouldn’t want any of the other humans in the house see him seek affection too frequently) and it’s not that I minded the extra sleep. I am a mom after all.
He was keeping to himself more (he doesn’t like the littlest human in the house). He also seemed thinner and hungry more often (if we don’t shut his room door when he eats the other cat pushes him out. Also, he’s old). My husband does the a.m. feeding and doesn’t, AHEM, listen to me to close the pet doors all the time so I thought it was no big deal. He also was vomiting hairballs more frequently. I don’t brush him much because I am not going to follow him all around the house with the brush – a requirement of his.
I had been keeping an eye on him, but all of the changes certainly seemed to have reasons that made sense to me as both a pet owner and a technician. He has had bloodwork periodically throughout his life and it’s always been normal – Yeah! When petting him I had noticed there was less to him (muscle atrophy? It happens to every creature as they age).
Light Bulb Moment – It’s a medical problem!
Finally all of the signs aligned. He was too thin to attribute to anything other than a medical problem. I brought him in and the cat that had always been a consistent 14.7 lbs. his whole life was down to 11.3lbs! Completely unacceptable in my mind that my own cat had lost that much weight and I didn’t realize it. That amount of weight loss without me noticing made me so mad at myself! Clearly all of these signs meant something more than what I had attributed them to.
What kind of bloodwork should I run for my aging cat?
We performed an exam and then were able to run his bloodwork. We covered what is recommended for Sr. Pets: Chemistry Panel, Thyroid and SDMA. All of his organ function was fine. It indeed was Hyperthyroidism.
There is medication available to cats to manage this condition. We tried it and the weight loss stopped, he was acting more like himself. Pestering me again in the middle of the night, cuddling a little more – not too much, he has a reputation to uphold after all.
So if you have any concerns it is always best to contact your Veterinarian to discuss your pet’s well-being. They may want to perform an exam at the very least. Also I urge you to have their annual exams done even when they are healthy. It’s always best to catch something before it becomes a major problem. We can’t have the partnership to keep your pet healthy without you.