How do I know if my dog is in pain?
Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Hunched or arched back
Many pet parents wish their pets could talk. Surely then it would be easier to know if they were in pain!
I deal with a lot of pets with musculoskeletal pain, so we'll be addressing common ways to identify joint pain this month.
At the top of my list is back pain. I see a lot of pet's that come in with an arched hunchback and this is due to painful muscle spasms. If you can see an excessive C in your pet's back, that is their way of showing you it may be time to get in for an appointment!
Does your pup struggle to bend both knees and sit squarely through the haunches?
If your pet chooses to sit with one leg out, one hip under, or with both hind legs tucked under in a slouchy sit, we may be looking at underlying hip, knee, or back pain.
Hair coat changes
If your pet struggles with referred neuropathic pain, you may notice them excessively grooming certain areas. This can sometimes cause red staining along certain nerve root sensory tracts.
You may also see excessive hair swirling, hair loss, or tightness under the skin coat due to myofascial restriction. Due to tight muscles, the hair will be pulled in erratic patterns consistent with compensation patterns.
Change in behavior
The number one reason pet parents call us is because their animal "just isn't quite right."
Change in behavior, suddenly or over time, is an indicator of how your pet is feeling.
If you notice there are things they can't do anymore, if they seem disinterested or detached, or if they just aren't quite themself... it may be time to schedule a consult.
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