Pain Management Principles
Pain management is not an option. If your pet is undergoing a potentially painful procedure or surgery, pain management is considered just as basic as oxygen and sterility. Pain management is included in our estimates, fees, and services. We will not perform surgery without pain management.
All patients receive an individualized pain management plan based upon their needs, patient safety, and metabolic status. Our general anesthetic protocols are based upon recommendation by experts in veterinary anesthesiology. Several of our veterinarians are members of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.
Pain management is proactive. We don’t wait until the pain is present to treat, but we recognize procedures that cause pain and take pre-emptive steps to block or control the pain. A simple analogy is when you go to the dentist for a cavity filling: They give the numbing pain injection BEFORE they start drilling, not after! We also use local anesthesia, or nerve blocks, at surgical sites or before dental extractions to prevent pain wind up.
Our pain management is multi-modal, meaning we balance pain control drugs from different categories to work together to control pain. Many drugs work synergistically, thus lowering your pet’s need for each product and minimizing side effects, such as sedation or lack of appetite.
We use advanced pain management techniques including epidurals, local nerve blocks, constant rate infusions, and pain patches. We also consider adjunctive therapies such as acupuncture, physical therapy, MediVet’s cell therapy, cold laser therapy, and Itherm.
Not all pain is the same and different types of pain must be treated appropriately. Acute pain refers to sudden pain resulting from an injury, surgery, inflammation, or infection; this type of pain is usually temporary and relief is achieved with treatment. Chronic pain is long-lasting and usually slow to develop. Chronic pain often results from age-related disorders, such as arthritis, or can be caused by illnesses such as cancer or bone disease. Treatment for chronic pain requires a plan that may include medications, therapeutic techniques, and even surgical procedures.
Any type of pain in pets is difficult for owners too, suffering along with their companions and desperate to provide comfort and relief. Our veterinarians use every resource to detect and treat all types of pain in companion animals with an approach that is aggressive and humane.