Signs and Symptoms of Pets in Pain

If you own a pet, you never want them to be in pain. But most cats and dogs try to hide their pain instinctively. This means you can’t tell what is hurting, so it is up to you to recognize the signs of a pet in pain. The sooner you can do this, the sooner you can get your furry friend's help. There are several physical changes and behaviors that can indicate your pet is in pain.

Signs of Pain

A pet can feel pain in the same way that a human can. But pets do not always show it the same way. A pet’s pain can be shown through behavioral changes, physical symptoms, and mobility problems. The changes can be subtle, so it is a good idea to get to know your pet well. You should be observant and not be afraid to discuss any concerning symptoms with your vet.

Physical Symptoms

When your pet is in pain, you may notice they carry their body differently. For example, the muscles may be tight or twitching. The pet may have an arched back or be trembling or shaking. The pet may hold their head below their shoulders. You might notice panting or heavy breathing.

Behavioral Changes

When your pet is in pain, they may behave differently. For example, they can be grumpier when in pain. Often, they will not want to be touched, especially if the pain is located in only one part of the body. The pet may lick an area excessively. Mood changes can also affect your pet, including aggression, restlessness, and excessive vocalization.

Mobility Problems

Many pets who have injuries or arthritis have problems with mobility. For example, they may seem to be limping or have trouble with stairs. The pet may also walk slowly or even refuse to walk. In more severe cases, these issues can even affect the pet’s ability to get up or to lie down.

What Causes Pain in Pets?

The two main types of pain are chronic and acute. If the problem just happened, such as an illness or an injury, the pet will have acute pain. However, if it has been going on for a long time, such as arthritis, it is chronic pain. There are several reasons why a pet may be feeling pain, including:

·        Damaged joints or bones.

·         Injuries to soft tissues.

·         Strains or sprains

·         Dental problems.

·         Back issues.

·         Urinary tract, skin, or ear infections.

·         Severe stomach problems.

·         Surgery.

·         Some types of cancer.

What to Do

Sometimes, these signs of pain can be a symptom of serious behavioral or medical problems. It is a good idea to talk about any changes in normal activity with your pet’s vet. Your vet can run some tests to see what is going on with your pet. This can include physical exams, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests.

If you think your pet may be in pain, don’t hesitate to contact Elizabeth Veterinary Clinic at (908) 245-7853 and make an appointment at our Roselle, NJ, office.