Nowadays it sounds strange to us, but even in the late 1980s it was assumed that animals do not have a sense of pain comparable to that of humans. That was not so long ago and is hardly comprehensible. In the meantime, this has fortunately been refuted. Even in a direct comparison of the central (spinal cord and brain) and peripheral nervous systems (the nervous system outside the spinal cord and brain), the similarities between humans and animals are obvious. Research also shows that measurable responses to pain stimuli are very similar.
But what exactly is pain anyway?
Strange as it may sound, pain is an ingenious function of the body. It is a protective function of the body on everything that is harmful. This includes external factors, such as injury, pressure or exposure to heat and cold, but also internal factors, such as tumors, degenerative processes, inflammation or circulatory disorders.
At the same time, it functions as an alarm signal that shows that something in the body is not as it should be. But there are also situations in which the body regulates pain itself and dampens it or even switches it off. This may be situations of great stress or escape.
How does the dog perceive pain?
Like us humans, the dog perceives pain individually. How intensively they are perceived and what the pain tolerance is even depends on the form of the day.
When a dog in pain suffers, it should be treated as well and as quickly as possible. Otherwise, there is a danger that an acute pain will turn into a chronic pain. The pain itself becomes a disease and the dog finds itself in a vicious circle of pain, tension, restricted movement, etc.. For the targeted treatment of a pain, an appropriate diagnosis to define the location and cause of the pain and also to assess the intensity of the pain is indispensable. Subsequently, it is important to derive measures for the dog to eliminate the pain or at least provide relief.
Primary goals of pain therapy
- Eliminating the cause of pain – ending the pain condition by eliminating the factors that cause pain.
- In chronic diseases, the focus should be on the best possible relief of pain.
- Increase of the quality of life and reduction of the suffering pressure
- Avoidance of pain memory
Ways out of pain – possibilities of pain therapy in dogs
I may have to disappoint you at this point. Even if it hurts me to see and know that a living being suffers pain: I cannot give you a patent remedy for pain in dogs. There is no universal formula or all-around pill that will stop and eliminate pain.
What I will tell you, though, is that veterinary medicine is continually evolving by leaps and bounds. This also includes the treatment of pain. Medication with painkillers should only be administered by a veterinarian. I do not advise you to choose medications yourself according to your feelings. still has in the house. Since both the type of pain and the intensity are completely different depending on the disease and injury, it also requires appropriate expert selection of medication. For this reason, I will not go into detail about the different types of painkillers and their effects. However, there is a wide range of measures that can also be used in pain management to complement/replace conservative pain management.
In my experience, it is very useful to combine different measures in a sensible way to achieve a good result. For example, acupuncture and also various nutritional supplements can be used to relieve pain. Also, many forms of physiotherapy treatment are primarily aimed at relieving the dog of pain.
These include, for example:
- Passive movement
- Active movement therapy
- Laser therapy
- Sound wave therapy
Many measures can also be carried out by you at home after expert guidance. You can actively accompany your dog’s pain therapy by performing massages, providing relief with heat or cold, applying wraps, performing active movement exercises, etc.. It is important to me to say that you should not “wildly” treat yourself, but rather be guided here by a dog physiotherapist and discuss with him suitable measures for your dog.
Taking pain means taking action
What is of great concern to me is that it is indispensable to take away pain from your dog in the best possible way. Again and again I am in contact with dog owners who are very afraid of the side effects of medication and therefore refuse medication. Of course, one should not arbitrarily and lightly resort to painkillers. But if a dog suffers pain, it should be taken away. In many cases, with good pain management, it is possible to reduce or eliminate the use of conservative analgesics. But even if not, the quality of life of the dog should basically be in the foreground. And pain has a big impact on how good it is. In addition, pain therapy can counteract the development of a pain memory.
An individual pain concept
It is important to develop a pain management program tailored to the individual dog. The different measures do not contradict each other, but can work together excellently and complement each other. So there is nothing against treating a dog conservatively with painkillers, but additionally supporting it with nutritional supplements and physiotherapeutic measures or even acupuncture, for example.
I even recommend a combination of different ways to relieve and take away pain, as they support each other and thus offer the dog a better quality of life. Successful pain management is therefore always, at best, a complementary combination of different measures that are individually tailored to the patient.
All the love, your Tina