How to manage your pet’s pain – The approachour doctor recommends

April 2, 2024

How do I prevent pain in my pet?

Hi. My name’s Dr. Sean McPeck. I’m the owner and CEO of Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center. So it’s kind of a broad topic, and it has to do with a lot of different things. Why is there pain? There is this pain there because of arthritic issues that we’re seeing, especially in our geriatric and older, older pets. Is this something that has been diagnosed as something to do with a developmental abnormality or is this something post-surgical?

There are a lot of different options when it comes to pain management, and from my experience, a multimodal approach is much better than just using one medication. The most common medication that is given is what we call an NSAID and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. There’s quite a few different ones, and one of the more popular ones is Carprofen, but it comes with the possibility of some side effects, especially that has to do with the GI issues. But I find that using that in combination ,depending on what the issue is, you will get really good results with a medication called Gabapentin.

Now I prefer to use it at lower levels and than the higher end of the dosing range because you can get some grogginess with that, some drowsiness, and then it starts really kind of expanding from there, depending on the severity of the issue. There are some opiates that we can do. Fentanyl patches that we can do that help to give really good pain management.

This is a very painful procedure. Even we have it now. You know, if this was an orthopedic procedure, there’s injections that are long acting, local anesthetics. Let’s say we have an arthritic joint. We’ve got a lot of options for injecting into that joint anything from PRP, which is platelet rich plasma to stem cells, and now some new products coming out that help to create a smoother surface on that highland cartilage to reduce pain and inflammation.

That is some of the initial ways that we can do it, but then we can start getting into some of the alternative therapies. You’ve got electromagnetic therapy. What we call the CC loop helps to reduce inflammation in pain. We’ve got the cold laser class for laser photo bile modulation helps to increase ATP at the cellular level to help increase healing and reduce inflammation. It’s absolutely phenomenal for pain, especially, and healing wounds and joint pain. There’s even cold compression therapy that we can use that is very similar to what we call the rice method, right? For humans, you can hear that from your physical therapist. Well, you need to rest ice it compression and elevation. Well, it’s really difficult to get our pets to elevate a painful limb, but we can definitely rest them. We can definitely ice it. And there’s compression and the cold compression therapy, the most popular unit that we have is called a game ready. It uses compression through air while it’s circulating cold water, ice water through it, and then it releases the pressure and then it contracts and dries the pressure. And what that does is help to increase circulation deep but remove inflammation.

Speaking about some of the other therapies, depending on the level of pain and depending on why the pain is there, there’s a product called ATAC, one that helps to reduce arthritic pain and weekly injection. So there’s a lot of different things out there. And then there’s a whole list of pain medications that we can attach. But the more receptors and different receptors that we go after for controlling pain that multimodal kind of synergistic approach to it, you’re going to get a much better therapeutic level of pain control, and you can use lower doses of the medications. Each of the medications there’s a drug called Amantadine. Amantadine is an NMDA receptor agonist called Methyl D ASPARTATE and that receptor really helps to reduce pain. So if you use that in combination with something like Gabapentin and an NSAID, and then we even know that certain tricyclic antidepressants, one, Amitriptyline and Nortriptyline, but amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressants and at low levels that really helps with some pain, different types of pain. So there’s a lot of options out there. The biggest thing is talking to your veterinarian and trying something, starting off low and seeing how it works. And because you can always increase the dosing, you can always increase the frequency of dosing, you can always add more medications and there’s a lot of different options out there.