I can see clearly now the pain is gone...
We now consider pain a fourth critical or vital sign (after temperature, pulse, respiration). We take a compassionate and progressive approach to understanding those situations that cause pain, predispose to pain, and perpetuate pain. You can expect that we will try to anticipate and control as well as manage both acute and chronic pain situations.
For instance, we know that most if not all surgeries have some degree of pain involved and we understand and take steps to provide appropriate analgesia before our patient wakes from their operation/surgical intervention facilitating the transition, from anesthesia (state without pain) to wakefulness, as smoothly as possible. How do we do this? We know that successful pain management is all about timing and appropriate selection of medication to address the different mechanisms of pain generation and propagation. By anticipating the pain we can preemptively address the needs of our patients before they demonstrate signs of discomfort.
Many signs of pain are very subtle in our pets and it may be difficult to notice, recognize, or realize their pain. We must take steps to alleviate this pain. Pain will progress if not managed effectively; a problem called "wind-up" phenomena. Pain stimulates more pain and that compounds the problem which leads to a heightened degree of pain perception and stressors on the body. Pain is debilitating and can extend hospital stays leading to secondary problems that can result in prolonged recoveries.
Degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis can be managed more effectively than ever. Many choices for pain management medications, supplements, exercise and strength training as well as physical rehabilitation options coexist. Our goal is to keep our patients in a state of good quality of life with return to daily activities of living a priority. We may need to make some environmental suggestions and teach you how to massage aching joints and use applications of heat and ice therapies depending on the nature of pain: acute, chronic, or just playing "weekend warrior" after weeks of a more sedentary lifestyle. Managing stair climbing, using non-slippery surfaces and more range of motion exercises as well as specific directed exercise for the sore spots can be used to help our "kids" function better and stay happier... which makes us all happy!
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