Sometimes it is obvious when a pet is in pain. They will yelp or not bare weight on a certain leg. Other times the signs are more subtle or gradual. We see a lot of painful pets – especially those in their senior years. We ask our clients if their pets are in pain, many will say, “No. He’s not in pain. He’s just old.” Pain and old age often go hand in hand, but they are not the same thing. Just because your pet is older it doesn’t mean he has to be in pain. So what are some more subtle signs to look for?

Decreased appetite – pets that don’t feel well sometimes start to not eat as well. Pay attention to how much food your pet is eating or not eating.

Decreased energy, lethargy, hiding, or depression – if moving around hurts, then activity slows down. Just getting up from lying down can be a challenge.

Anxiety or vocalization – since pets can’t verbally tell us what hurts, they express their pain in other ways.

Aggression – painful pets can be very protective of sore spots even with family and people they have previously been very comfortable with.

Pulse and breathing changes – an increased heart rate or respiratory rate can indicate pain. Some pets will even pant when they are not hot.

Posture and bathroom changes – if it is painful to get in the position to defecate, pets will struggle to go potty. Cats can start eliminating outside of their litter box because they associate their pain with the box.

If you have noticed any of these changes in your pet and think they may be in pain, please contact us today to schedule an appointment. We want to make your pet as comfortable as possible throughout his or her life.


The Staff at Prairie Animal Hospital
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