It’s a good thing we love to learn because the veterinary profession is constantly publishing new findings and information to help our doctors and health care team take better care of your dogs and cats. Pets are living longer now and we have more treatment options to manage some of their health problems. At our February staff meeting, Dr. Johnson will be presenting new findings about how to identify and understand when cats are experiencing pain and suffering. Since our feline patients can’t speak, we need to rely on seeing and hearing clues to help us better understand how well our patients are feeling. We already know when our patients are comfortable and their pain is managed effectively, they heal more quickly and feel better. That’s our goal. Help them feel better faster and eliminate suffering.
We’ll be learning how to use a pain scale to assign scores to certain behaviors like is the cat laying down quietly, but their tail is moving? A flickering tail is an indicator they are not comfortable. Are their eyes partially closed which might indicate they are having trouble resting. Are they bothering and biting at their surgery or injury site which indicates they may be experiencing some discomfort. We’ll look for clues to their posture – are they in their natural position with relaxed muscles or tense muscles? We’ll also watch their activity level, their attitude, and whether or not they are vocalizing (whining and howling). We’ll interact with them to see if they respond and if so, how much. The more they are interested in interacting, the better they feel. Lastly, we’ll evaluate their appetite. A hungry cat is a cat that is feeling better and on it’s way to recovery.
Once we determine their pain score, our doctors can decide the best course of action and best pain management drugs to give to help them remain comfortable and relaxed. We monitor our hospitalized patients on a regular basis, so this pain scale will be very helpful for us. We hope this information gives you some peace of mind knowing we’re doing all that we can to help your little ones rest and recover.