Signs of Pain in Dogs and Cats by Dr Elaine Cebuliak

Animals can hide their pain well at times and this month we look at physical and behavioural signs your cat or dog could be in pain.

For Dogs

Physical signs:

  • Heavy breathing
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Change in heart rate

Behavioural signs:

  • Irritability
  • Unusual restlessness or anxiety
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Withdrawn behaviour
  • Licking, biting or overgrooming the site of pain
  • Reduced activity
  • Reluctance to lie down or difficulty standing after lying down
  • Reduced appetite
  • Whining or barking

Signs of Pain in Cats

Physical signs:

  • Sitting still and hunched up
  • Faster and more shallow breathing
  • Change in heart rate
  • Enlarged pupils

Behavioural signs:

  • Irritability
  • Unusual restlessness, anxiety or aggression
  • Mood or personality changes
  • Withdrawn behaviour and hiding
  • Loss of interest in people or other pets or clingy behaviour
  • Licking, biting or overgrooming the site of pain or neglecting to groom altogether
  • Inability or reluctance to jump up onto surfaces
  • Reluctance to lie down or difficulty standing after lying down
  • Reduced appetite
  • Excessive meowing, purring, growling or unusual vocalisations
  • Doing their business outside of the litter box

Treating Pain in Pets

If you suspect your pet is in pain, you should never attempt to medicate them without first consulting a veterinarian. Many pain medications for humans can be fatal if administered to pets. Together with your veterinarian, you can develop a plan to treat or manage your pets pain ensuring they can maintain a good quality of life.

Please see our arthritis handouts on our site, many of the treatments and nutritional advice can help. We also make specific Chinese and western herbal therapies for our patients. 

To make an appointment please visit: www.animalwellness.com.au

Dr Elaine Cebuliak

Dr Elaine is a highly experienced holistic vet and pioneer of Animal Wellness in Brisbane. She also assists with many charitable projects in Australia and in Bali.

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