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How Can You Tell If Your Pet Is in Pain?

Early intervention and management can offer a better quality of life.

Below are the top 10 early warning signs that your pet is in pain:

  1. NO MORE BIG ‘HELLO’: Maybe your pet isn’t as exuberant as normal when he comes to greet you. He might still have a smile on his face, but he’s not able to rise so quickly and run towards you.
  2. ALTERED GAIT: This is when your pet is putting more weight on the unaffected limbs and appearing more rigid on the painful limb.
  3. DIFFICULTY RISING: Does your pet struggle to get up after lying down and appear stiff or find it difficult to get up and down stairs or to jump on and off furniture?
  4. LOSS OF APPETITE: Depending on the amount and type of pain your pet is in, she may stop eating or eat less than normal.
  5. TIME ALONE: Your pets behavior can change when he’s painful. He may want to be by himself more, particularly in quiet, out of the way places.
  6. WEIGHT CHANGES: Your pet may spend more time resting or sleeping and become reluctant to exercise which can lead to weight gain. Or your pet may be reluctant to eat which could cause weight loss.
  7. STIFFNESS: This is especially true after exercise or prolonged periods of rest. Some pets may even develop a “bunny hopping” type movement.
  8. MUSCLE WASTING: Like the old adage goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it!” This is the case when your pet is not using her muscles and leads to muscle atrophy (reduction in the size of your pet’s muscles). Atrophy can occur in the affected leg or over the spine and causes your pet to become weaker with time.
  9. LICKING: Your pet may continually lick at a painful joint or limb.
  10. IRRITABILITY: Like us, your pet may be irritable when they are in pain and may snap, growl or even bite when approached or handled, particularly if handling increases their pain.

Pets experience pain from many causes. And in older pets, arthritis is common, but pain can be managed. If you notice changes in your pet’s behavior, like those above, schedule an examination with Aloha Animal Hospital today.

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