Pain Control

Pain control for surgery
Controlling your pet’s pain at the time of surgery is important to ensure great surgical outcomes. Some surgeries, like simple bump removals may require only a mild sedative and a local anesthetic injection to properly control pain. Major surgeries like a spleen removal or knee surgery will require many drugs to properly control pain. All surgeries are different and our veterinarians will guide you and your pet through this complicated process. At Kirkwood Animal Hospital we treat all surgeries with a mild pre-operative pain killer. This first injection of pain killer helps to sedate your dog, reduces anxiety and prevents “windup.” Windup happens when the patient’s nerve fibers are constantly bombarded with painful stimuli increasing the overall perception of pain. By blocking early little painful stimuli we stop windup which results in a better experience for your pet. Inflammation is also a major component of the pain cycle. At Kirkwood Animal Hospital we also always use an anti-inflammatory drug prior to beginning surgery to prevent inflammation. During the surgical procedure your veterinarian may elect to give a potent pain killer to your pet, Simbadol. Simbadol lasts 6-8 hours in dogs and longer in cats. Additional injections of Simbadol may also be used to control pain that persists for longer than 8 hours. When your pet goes home after surgery your veterinarian may elect to send your pet with a prescription for an oral pain killing medication. Tramadol and Acetominophen with codeine are the most commonly prescribed drugs for this use. The prescriptions for these medications will have to be filled at your local pharmacy.

Pain Control for medical cases
Kirkwood Animal Hospital strives to provide excellent medical care for our patients. Controlling pain is a big part of providing excellent medical care. At Kirkwood Animal Hospital we believe that proper pain control is achieved when our patients, clients and doctors apply the following four principles to your pet’s medical plan.
1. Early intervention- many painful animal problems can be avoided with early surgical intervention. For example, it has been estimated that up to 50% of small dogs have knee caps that pop out of place or “dislocate.” When the dog is young it does not appear to be a problem for the puppy, but as the dog gets older painful osteoarthritis develops. Osteoarthritis is a chronic, progressive disease that no one can cure. Medication will be needed for the rest of the dog’s life. Surgery to correct the problem, when the dog is young and has no symptoms may avoid many years of painful arthritis.
2. Prevention-a number of different medical conditions can be controlled if preventative measures are considered in a patients lifelong care plan. For example diabetes mellitus can result in a painful neurological condition in cats called dropped hocks. The hock joint breaks down because of tendon and muscle weakness. Many cases of diabetes in cats can be avoided if the correct food is fed to the cat. Proper nutrition can be used to avoid excess weight which is one of the leading causes of diabetes in cats and dogs. Please make sure to ask our doctors about preventative measures for your puppy of kitten.
3. Multimodal Drug Therapy-Pain is a very complex medical problem. Pain results when there is inflammation and trauma to tissues. There are many drugs that are used to target inflammation and pain. KAH recommends the use of a combination of anti-inflammatories and pain killers. Combination therapy is the best way to control pain with drugs. KAH also uses local anesthetic drugs, like MarcaineR to perform nerve blocks to control pain. For example a local nerve block is always used to block pain when a tooth is extracted.
4. Non-drug pain control-KAH recommends the use of our CO2 surgical laser when performing surgeries. When the CO2 laser cuts the laser light seals nerve endings and blood vessels. Sealing nerve endings and blood vessels results in less pain, less bleeding, less tissue damage and better healing. KAH also highly recommends the use of our CompanionR therapeutic cold laser. When the light from the Companion laser is passed over tissue in stimulates blood flow and reduces pain. The CompanionR laser can be used to treat post-surgical pain as well as chronic pain like osteoarthritis. Use of the surgical laser and the therapeutic laser are at the discretion of the pet owner and add some costs to medical procedures but they are worth the investment.

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