FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – September is Animal Pain Awareness Month and doctors from Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists are urging pet owners to recognize certain symptoms so they can monitor their pet’s behavior for signs of pain and illness.
In 2015, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management began recognizing September as Animal Pain Awareness Month. The goal is to raise awareness, educate pet owners about acute and chronic pain symptoms, encourage recognition of animal pain and take action by seeking veterinary care.
“More times than not, pet owners are unaware of illness and pain that their pets may be experiencing. If health issues aren’t identified quickly, it can not only affect a pet’s quality of life, but also limit treatment options and make treatment more expensive,” said Dr. Ira Zaslow, a board-certified veterinary emergency and critical care specialist and founder of Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists. “It is important for pet owners to know these symptoms and to contact their family veterinarian if they fear there is a problem.”
Experts from Lauderdale Veterinary Specialist, a specialty and emergency hospital for pets in Fort Lauderdale, recommend that pet owners watch for the following, as it could be an indicator of pain or a more severe medical condition.
- Slow or Stiff Movement- Similar to humans, pets begin to slow down due to age, but trouble standing, stiffness and lameness can be a key indicator of pain. Health problems like arthritis, hip dysplasia and even Lyme disease can hinder the movement of cats and dogs.
- Obsessive Behavior- Both cats and dogs groom themselves frequently by licking. This is normal, however, if you notice a pet is suddenly licking or biting at a particular spot, it could be caused by an injury, irritated skin or even allergies.
- Loss of Appetite– Every pet has different habits or patterns for eating. When dogs or cats begin neglecting meals or treats for more than 24 hours then they should be seen by their family veterinarian.
- Vomiting or Irregular Excrement- It is common for many dogs and cats to experience these symptoms on occasion, especially if they have recently overeaten or ingested grass. However, if the problem persists, and a pet is lethargic, it could be a sign of a problem.
- Sudden Antisocial behavior- Changes in behavior like an increase in shyness or aggression may be a sign that a pet is not feeling well. When animals are in pain they often do not want to be touched or handled, even by their owners.
“The best way to keep a pet healthy is to make sure they are seen regularly by their family veterinarian and by paying attention to their behavior,” said Zaslow. “Thanks to innovations in technology, pet owners can now monitor their pet’s health in real-time from their smartphone. Devices like PetPace smart collars track pet vitals and alert their owner and veterinarian when there is a medical problem.”
For more information about safeguarding pet health or more about Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists, please visit www.lauderdalevets.com or call 954.641.1100.