Pain Management in Older Dogs

As your dog ages, they may begin to experience issues such as arthritis, that can cause them daily unbearable pain. Unlike humans, dogs cannot verbalize their pain, making it difficult for us to recognize they are in pain and if the pain is severe enough for medical treatment. When it comes to pain management in older dogs, it is important to first understand how to recognize when your pet is experiencing pain.

Common Signs Your Dog is in Pain

There are obvious situations where you can assume your dog will experience pain such as after surgery or a known injury. Other instances ofpain management, older dogs pain may be subtler. Older dogs commonly experience pain due to arthritis in their hips, shoulders, knees, elbows, and lower back. Signals that may indicate your pet is in pain include:

  • Hunched posture. This is usually caused by back or abdominal pain
  • Obsessive grooming. When grooming is focused on one part of the body, it could signal pain in that area.
  • Irritability. A friendly and tolerant dog who is in pain may become aggressive or irritable.
  • Difficulty moving. One of the first signs you may notice is that your dog is having problems standing up or sitting down which is commonly a sign of back pain.

Another sign of pain could be squinting of the eyes, accompanied by heavy breathing. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to have your pet examined and establish a plan to manage your dog’s pain with your veterinarian.

Pain Management Methods for Older Dogs

From therapies to pain medications, there is a pain management option out there to suit your dog’s specific needs. Common pain management methods include:

  • Weight loss. If a dog is overweight, they are putting more stress on their joints. Weight loss can help relieve the extra stress on your dog’s joints, helping to ease arthritic pain.
  • Nutraceuticals. These supplements provide medicinal benefits along with nutritional benefits and can be used to manage conditions inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
  • NSAIDs. Aspirin is a common over the counter NSAID that should only be used temporarily for pain management. Prescription NSAIDs such as meloxicam are much safer for daily use.
  • Opioids.  Tramadol is a common opioid used to treat dogs for very severe pain and is often used with NSAIDs to increase its effectiveness. Opioids are not commonly prescribed due to the high abuse rate.

It is important to start small when managing pain in older dogs. You can begin with weight loss then move on to adding in supplements like fish oil and if that isn’t enough then you can escalate to treatment with NSAIDs or Tramadol. It is important to consult with your veterinarian to find the best pain management method for your dog.

Contact the Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro today to learn more about pain management options for your pet.

I Just Adopted a New Dog – What Should I Expect for My First Visit?

Congratulations on adopting your new dog!

Adopting a new dog is an exciting, wonderful thing. But like all exciting, wonderful things, it comes with certain responsibilities, and keeping your canine companion in good health is at the top of the list. This responsibility begins the moment you adopt your dog, and the first thing you should do to make good on it is schedule an appointment with a veterinarian.

When to Schedule Your Appointment

Whether you’ve adopted a puppy or an older dog, it’s crucial that you have your new dog seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Even if the shelter, humane society, rescue group, or private party from which you adopted your dog told you that it’s in good health and up-to-date on its vaccines, it’s still important that you bring your dog in for a visit within one month of its adoption date. Your dog was likely exposed to other animals since its exam, and the vaccines it received may not be complete for your geographic location and lifestyle. Therefore, it’s necessary to have your dog examined again so that we can fully assess its condition and needs and establish a firm foundation for its continued care.

What to Bring with You

When you come into our office for your first visit, you should bring the following with you:

  • Medical and Vaccine Records. When you adopted your dog, the other party should have given you its medical and vaccine records. If they did not, please contact them to retrieve these records or have them mailed/faxed to our office prior to your dog’s appointment. We need these records to assess what treatments and vaccines your pet has already received and determine further action.
  • Fecal Sample. Even if your dog tested negative for intestinal parasites and/or was dewormed prior to adoption, you should still bring a fecal sample with you to your first appointment. Again, it’s likely that your dog was exposed to other animals (and their feces) after the test/treatment, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What to Expect in the Exam Room

Some parts of your dog’s visit will be similar to what you encounter when you go to your doctor. We’ll weigh your dog, check its vital signs, and externally examine its body. Additionally, your veterinarian will review your dog’s medical/vaccine records and ask you a series of lifestyle questions to better understand what other treatments your dog may need.

Treatments discussed will likely include:

  • Vaccines. Depending on where you live, whether your dog will be allowed outdoors, and its exposure to other animals, your veterinarian may recommend other vaccines in addition to those it has already received.
  • Spaying or Neutering Your Dog. If your dog hasn’t been spayed or neutered yet, your veterinarian will explain the importance of this procedure, and our staff will help you set up an appointment.
  • Heartworm Disease. Your veterinarian will explain the risks of heartworm disease and discuss preventative treatments.
  • Infectious Disease Testing. There are numerous diseases that dogs can carry and pass to other animals, including humans. Based on your dog’s background, the results of its exam, and other factors, your veterinarian may recommend testing your dog for such diseases.

When to Come Back

At the end of your first visit, our staff will help you set up your next appointment(s). Don’t be surprised if we want to see you and your dog multiple times over the next few months. Newly adopted dogs usually require vaccines, tests, and other treatments, and we want to make sure your new pet gets the care it needs and deserves.

The veterinarians and staff at Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro look forward to meeting your new dog and providing it with premium care for many years to come. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Spring Toxins: What Your Dog Needs to Avoid

Spring is here! After months of spending too much time cooped up inside, avoiding the dangers of winter weather, you—and your dog—can finally get back outdoors and resume your more active lifestyle.

But don’t run for the front door just yet. Spring may not come with snow, ice, and below-freezing temperatures, but it does present its own risks and dangers… especially for our four-legged friends. And if you want to keep your dog safe and in good health, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for them and take other measures to limit your dog’s exposure. Continue reading

What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?

What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?

Dog ears come in different shapes, statures, and sizes. Some are pointy and stick straight up; some hang down and are floppy. Some are large, and some are tiny. But, regardless of what they look like, or of how big, or small, they are, all dogs’ ears have one thing in common: They’re prone to infection. Continue reading

How to Tell if Your Dog Has an Ear Infection

Left untreated, an ear infection in a dog can lead to a variety of serious problems, including, but not limited to, facial paralysis, ocular impairments, and incoordination/loss of balance. As a pet owner, you certainly don’t want your dog to wind up with any of these conditions—and the veterinarians and staff at Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro are here to help you make sure that doesn’t happen.

Unfortunately, our furry friends aren’t able to communicate with us verbally. It’s not like your dog can come up to you and say, “Excuse me, but my ear hurts. Can you please call Dr. Leffler?” Continue reading

Dental Tips: February is National Pet Dental Month

Your pet’s dental hygiene and habits are just as important as your oral health. Without healthy teeth, your dog or cat can’t or won’t chew their food, and they won’t be able to tell you what the problem is. If you work on their oral care every day, they’ll be less likely to have issues.

Your pet’s dental health affects their teeth, gums, and breath, but poor oral care can cause infections in the gums, carrying bacteria that can spread to their kidneys and heart.  Continue reading

Does My Dog Get Enough Exercise?

Dogs have lots of energy that they want to use with their human companions. If you, as their owner, engage them with plenty of exercise, you’ll have a healthy, happy pet. Dogs that are exercised regularly have fewer behavior problems, fewer GI problems, a healthy weight, and love to snuggle up with their owners.  Continue reading

Grooming Your Dog for Summer

As the hot weather arrives, you may be anxious to get your dog to the groomer for a summer cut. With all the outdoor play and heat, it seems like a dog would benefit from a nice short cut, but, while grooming is essential to keeping your dog healthy, a close summer shave may actually cause problems for your beloved buddy. Continue reading

Should I Spay/Neuter My Dog?

Traditional Spay/Neuter Practices

If you’ve recently adopted a puppy, you may be starting to think about when and if you should have your dog neutered or spayed. Whether you’re a first-time dog owner, or you’ve had dogs as pets all your life, it is important to be informed and up to date on the latest research regarding the care of your pup. Interestingly, the traditional practice of spaying/neutering dogs at an early age, between four and six months of age, has come under question in light of recent research. Continue reading