Chronic Pain in Dogs

Chronic pain can affect the quality of life for dogs because the pain can be debilitating. In this post, our Sharpsburg vet explains the causes of chronic pain in dogs and the treatments to help your dog live more comfortably.

What is Chronic Pain in Dogs?

Chronic pain in dogs is any pain that lasts in the same area for weeks, months, or years. One always hopes to love and care for canine companions as if they were one of the human family members. While a pretty good job can be done at it, there may be conditions that can't be prevented. Chronic pain is one such condition that not only causes pain for the dog but can also drastically reduce their quality of life.

How can I help my dog with chronic pain?

The best way to help your dog with chronic pain is to take them to visit the vet. Your pet's veterinarian will diagnose the issue and find out exactly what treatment to offer your pet to help relieve their pain. The next best thing you can do to help your pet with chronic pain is to follow the vet's instructions and make sure your pet is getting the right medication and rest necessary. Although some pets like to hide when they are uncomfortable, another way to help your dog with chronic pain is to comfort them and spend time with them.

How to Know if Your Dog Suffers From Chronic Pain

If you identify any signs of chronic pain in dogs, schedule a full examination with us.

Your vet may utilize the following assessment methods to diagnose your dog's condition:

  • Veterinary examination
  • X-ray
  • Bloodwork

The Causes of Chronic Pain in Dogs

When dogs suffer from chronic pain, the most frequent cause is osteoarthritis, which affects approximately 40% of dogs. One contributing factor to osteoarthritis includes hereditary issues that can impact dogs of all ages and breeds.

Other causes of chronic pain in dogs include:

  • Intervertebral disc disease or IVDD
  • Cancer
  • Dental health problems

Treatments for Chronic Pain in Dogs

Never administer medications intended for humans to your dog. Medications that are effective for us can be toxic to pets. If a dog is diagnosed with a condition causing chronic pain, the recommended treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the pain.

In most cases, surgery is generally the best treatment for a pet with dental pain. This is because when teeth become infected they become painful for dogs to chew with, so getting them removed will eliminate this pain.

Chronic pain related to cancer can be treated in many ways, including narcotics such as Tramadol, NSAIDs such as Metacam, Previcox, Deramaxx, and Rimadyl. Topical medications including lidocaine, benzocaine, cortisone, or dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) can also be used to treat cancer. Other drug-free therapies such as acupuncture or laser therapy are also effective in treating cancer.

For chronic pain caused by joint conditions, such as osteoarthritis, your vet may prescribe a change in diet plus dietary supplements to help fight inflammation. Your vet will also prescribe non-drug therapies to help reduce inflammation. To soothe joints, your vet will recommend things such as cold laser therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, or acupuncture. Other things your vet may prescribe for chronic pain include anti-inflammatory medications such as Galliprant, Rimadyl, Previcox, or Metacam, and painkillers such as Gabapentin or Tramadol.

Laser Therapy to Treat Chronic Pain in Dogs

Veterinary laser therapy is a fairly new treatment method for chronic pain. It is commonly used to help manage pain, inflammation, and wound healing for your pet.

Cold laser therapy works when the light emitted by these lasers during treatment helps stimulate the cells within the tissues, promoting faster cellular regeneration.

The wavelength of the laser used will determine the tissue that can be affected. Low-wavelength lasers are used to treat areas near and involving the skin while the higher-wavelength lasers can focus on deep tissue repair.

Speak to your vet if you would like to learn more about how your dog may benefit from veterinary laser therapy.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog suffering from chronic pain? Contact East Coweta Veterinary Hospital today to book an examination for your pup. Our Sharpsburg vets can prescribe medications and treatments for your pet to help relieve pain and improve quality of life.