Chronic pain in dogs is not only debilitating for them but also very difficult to be diagnosed. Our Thornton vets discuss chronic pain in dogs, how it is identified and how cold laser therapy can help treat the pain.
Chronic Pain in Dogs
Determining a way to measure and diagnose chronic pain is a difficult task. However, this is an important step as it is the only way to accurately manage chronic pain in dogs.
While acute pain is a common occurrence with a variety of conditions and can be fairly easy to pinpoint and remedy, it is not the same for chronic pain in dogs. This type of pain may require a more in-depth and long-term view of the dog and their behaviors and activity.
Identifying Chronic Pain in Dogs
When it comes to chronic pain in dogs there are emotional and cognitive components that affect the overall quality of life. How is chronic pain in dogs identified by our vets in Thornton? There are a variety of measures taken throughout this process.
These are broadly classified as:
- The relative location and intensity of the pain that your dog is feeling.
- The emotional component that is the cause of the suffering that your dog will associate with chronic pain.
- The interaction between sensory and cognitive factors that determine the pain experience, such as distraction techniques that your pet may use to reduce the severity of the pain.
When it comes to diagnosing chronic pain in dogs, the most common and accurate method of diagnosis is to monitor the changes in activity and behavior. Comparing signs and symptoms with the owner of the dog is the best course of action throughout the diagnostic process. Unfortunately, this can be difficult as there is no standard practice to follow for diagnosing dogs affected by chronic pain.
The 5 methods most commonly used to assess chronic pain are:
- Veterinary examination
- Physiologic biomarkers
- Objective measurements of gait or movement
- Owner assessment of activities of daily living (ADL)
- Multifactorial clinical measurement instruments
Diagnosing Chronic Pain in Dogs
Chronic pain in dogs can be incredibly difficult to diagnose and so it takes ongoing monitoring and feedback from the owner in order to assist in the diagnostic process.
Owner Assessment of ADL (Activities of Daily Living)
Owner assessment of ADL is currently the most scientifically and clinically useful chronic pain scoring tool.
When it comes to chronic pain in dogs the most common cause is usually osteoarthritis (OA)
While OA is the most common cause there are other potential conditions that cause this pain including:
- Intervertebral disk disease,
- Nonmalignant neuropathies/myopathies.
When owners monitor their pet's activities they most commonly report behavioral changes.
When noting these changes it is usually the behaviors that are no longer being exhibited that are noticed.
Treatment Using Cold Laser Therapy
Cold laser therapy for dogs and cats uses low-intensity laser or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to help relieve pain, stimulate and enhance cell function, and improve healing.
Several conditions have been shown to improve with the use of laser therapy including muscle and joint pain, arthritis symptoms, and muscle spasms.
Veterinary cold laser therapy can be used as part of a multimodal treatment plan to help manage pain, reduce inflammation and promote healing.
There are no medications involved in these therapeutic treatments which means that cold laser therapy can be used as part of your pet's overall treatment plan in conjunction with prescription medications and supplements without the risk of drug interactions.
During pet laser therapy, the technician concentrates light over affected tissue for periods ranging from 8 to 30 minutes, depending on the issue being treated.
Laser therapy works by emitting light that stimulates cells in a process called photo-biotherapy. Photo-biotherapy encourages cell metabolism and protein synthesis, improving cell strength.
Cold laser therapy helps to stimulate cells, reducing pain signals to nerves, increasing blood circulation, and releasing endorphins in order to help manage chronic pain in dogs.