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It's never easy seeing your pet go through pain, whether their pain is temporary or chronic. Although today's modern medicine provides many helpful avenues for pain relief, it's good to consider all branches of the medicinal tree. Whether new or old, local or foreign, there are countless ways to treat an animal that's in pain. As a pet owner, you can learn the different options available to help improve your pet's quality of life. And if it means a smaller dosage of prescription drugs with fewer side effects, what have you got to lose? Read on to get a feel for some of the more common prescriptions and alternative sources of pain relief for your loved one.

Chronic and Temporary Pain Much like humans, our pets can experience minor and major health problems throughout their lives. As your pet ages, they may even develop chronic medical conditions that cause constant pain. Some of these conditions or causes for pain might include:

  • Arthritis

  • Surgery

  • Trauma or injury

  • Muscle or ligament damage

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)

  • Other degenerative bone and joint problems

It's common to administer prescribed pain medications that may have unpleasant side effects. Rather than resigning your pet to the lethargy of a high drug dosage, consider multimodal treatments. Pain treatments and medications vary all across the map, but it’s best to give the lowest dosage for the smallest amount of time. It’s for this reason that many veterinarians choose to use multimodal pain management. This is a combination of therapies and medicines tailored to fit your pet’s specific needs. Trust your vet to make the right choice about which medications are best for the patient’s specific situation. OTC and Prescription Drugs If your pet is in sudden pain, you may be able to give them certain approved over-the-counter drugs. But, it’s vital to know which drugs are not recommended for animal use. Some of these may be harmless for humans, but devastating when it comes to animal use. Never give your pet Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Aleve since these are for humans and are toxic to animals. Consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any pharmaceutical medication (prescribed or not). This will ensure that you understand the dosage, side effects, and potential interactions. Many prescription pet drugs are effective and approved for pet use. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) often include:

  • Rimadyl or Carprofen reduces swelling, stiffness, and joint pain in arthritic pets

  • Meloxicam or Metacam for pain and inflammation

  • Dermaxx, known as Deracoxib or Novartis treats osteoarthiritis and post-surgery pain

  • Previcox provides fast and effective relief of pain and inflammation

Although these drugs can help, multimodal pain management focuses on reducing the dose and frequency of drugs. Your vet does this through adjusting your pet's lifestyle and likelihood of further degeneration. Read on to learn some viable options. Nutraceuticals and Rebuilding Medications Nutraceuticals often provide health benefits for humans and animals. Nutraceuticals consist of common substances such as common vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants:

  • Vitamins C, E, and D

  • Omega 3 fatty acids

  • Calcium, manganese, iron, etc.

  • Glucosamine

Provide your pet with a nutrient-rich diet to aid their healing process and keep their condition from worsening. Your vet can also give PSGAG injections to build cartilage in arthritic joints. This treatment helps digestive problems that result from other diseases and harsh medications. Exercise and Weight Management Going right along with a nutrient-rich diet, your pet deserves the proper amounts of food to keep them healthy. If your pet already has chronic pain, letting them eat their feelings doesn't help. Obesity on top of arthritis or a similar disease only causes more issues. Help keep your pet healthy by following the caloric intake suggestions from your vet. By giving your pet the exact amount of food they need, you'll regulate their metabolism and promote overall health. Exercise is important for any human or animal. If your cat or dog rarely moves, help them engage in physical activity to keep them young. Some conditions only allow low-impact exercise. Your pet can still get what they need from swimming, walking, or physical rehabilitation. Complementary Alternative Medicine Your vet may also consider different alternative medicine. As you might have noted from the name, CAM medicine often supplements prescription medications. Options may consist of:

  • Herbal supplements

  • Laser repair

  • Acupuncture

  • Pulsed electromagnetic frequency (PEMF)

Laser repair acts much like acupuncture to release endorphins that help heal and relief pain in your pet’s body. The PEMF treatments may not be available everywhere, but often provide positive results as well. If you'd like to find out more about these alternative techniques, consult your veterinarian. Together, you and your vet can come up with the perfect combination of treatments and medication to ensure the comfort and well-being of your pet. Research the above medications and treatments so you can discuss the best avenue of treatment with your veterinarian.

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