At Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital, a healthy pet is a
pet. If your dog or cat is experiencing acute or chronic pain, this can harm their quality of life and cause other health problems. Here in Port Hadlock, WA, we can provide tailored cat and dog pain relief options to meet your pet’s needs safely and effectively.
Multimodal Pain Management
Pain occurs differently in all pets, and they respond to it differently as well. At Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital, we address these differences by providing multimodal pain relief options to our patients. With this approach, we can consider varying pain pathways and causes and administer more effective pain control solutions.
There is a wide variety of prescription pain medications available for dogs and cats. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, or NSAIDs, which can reduce inflammation resulting from arthritis or an acute injury. In addition, there are medications which affect the central nervous system and alter pain signals to the brain. Some medications can be safely used in conjunction if necessary for greater effect. Our goal is to increase the patient’s quality of life as much as possible – that means more comfort, increased mobility, better sleep, and a better mood.
Side effects from medication are certainly possible, though we do everything we can to prevent them and ensure our patients’ safety. This includes performing basic lab testing on a routine basis while your pet is taking a medication to make sure their blood and organ values remain within a normal range. It’s important that your pet is able to metabolize their medication without any issues. If we do notice any abnormal changes that could be due to the medication, we will explore safer treatment options.
Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital offers drug-free pet pain relief modalities as well:
- Weight loss planning
- Nutraceuticals (supplements/treatments such as Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplementation, herbal formulas, etc.)
- Acupuncture (offered by some of our veterinarians)
- Class 4 Laser Therapy
- Rehabilitation for improved mobility and range of motion
Acute pain is pain that occurs suddenly from surgery, an injury, or an infection. This type of pain can be quite severe and debilitating, but fortunately, it is also often short lived, and will dissipate with proper treatment.
Chronic pain lasts longer than acute pain and also takes its time developing. Arthritis is a prime example of a condition that causes chronic pain in dogs and cats, but bone disease and cancer can also cause it. Since chronic pain can develop over the course of months or even years, it is often harder to treat, and the signs are harder to catch. This is because pets may grow accustomed to their discomfort and simply learn how to live with it.
Dogs and cats hide pain out of instinct. How can you tell if your pet is experiencing pain? Look for these changes in behavior:
- Acting listless, restless, or unresponsive
- Vocalizing for seemingly no reason (whining, whimpering, meowing, howling)
- Biting or baring teeth when touched
- Licking or chewing at a certain area of the body
- Acting aggressive or unusually submissive
- Sleeping more often, moving less
- Eating and sleeping less
- Shifting position over and over after laying down
Your pet can’t tell you when they hurt, but their changes in behavior and habits could be indicative of acute or chronic pain.
Laser therapy is a non-invasive and drug-free modality that uses light energy to relieve pain, decrease inflammation, and speed up the healing process. A member of our laser-certified nursing team can safely perform the procedure, which your pet might find relaxing due to the gentle warmth generated by our laser equipment.
Pet laser therapy can be used to relieve pain and inflammation for many different conditions, including arthritis, ear infections, gingivitis, surgical incision sites, and skin infections.
Acupuncture is an extremely old medical practice that originated in ancient China. 3,000 years later, this treatment continues to be used in human patients, but it is also seeing growing popularity for pet patients. Acupuncture involves stimulating the nerve centers of the body with extremely thin needles to increase circulation and release hormones to relieve pain. Acupuncture can also help to relax tense muscles and accelerate healing.
Conditions that may benefit from pet acupuncture include:
- Neurologic and soft tissue pain
- Musculoskeletal systemic problems
- Hind limb weakness
- Intervertebral disc disease and back pain
- Cancer pain
Acupuncture can be used together with traditional and alternative treatments and is generally pain-free for our patients. If you’re not sure whether acupuncture is right for your pet, our team would be happy to examine your pet and discuss their options.
If you think traditional acupuncture is not the best option for your pet due to the use of needles, we can offer a needle-free alternative, laser acupuncture. Instead of needles, the treatment uses focused light therapy to stimulate nerve centers and induce healing. It is just as effective as regular acupuncture but gives our more apprehensive patients a non-invasive alternative.
All acupuncture treatments, whether they use needles or laser light, are performed by an acupuncture-certified veterinarian.
We also offer aquapuncture and electroacupuncture at our hospital, additional alternatives to traditional dry needle acupuncture. These treatments use water pressure and electric impulses, respectively, administered at safe doses to stimulate nerve centers and generate the same pain relieving, healing results.
Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital also offers Chinese herbs and minerals to help improve disease-causing imbalances in the body. We have been able to use herbal medicine to treat conditions such as allergies, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease.
Herbal medicine generally causes fewer harmful side effects than traditional prescription drugs and can produce better health outcomes for our patients.