Signs of Pain and Pain Management in Dogs

Caelli Edmonds, DVM

Not a day goes by that I am not asked, “How do I know if my dog is in pain?” or “My dog isn’t crying – does that mean he must not hurt?” Pain management is a high priority for us in caring for our canine patients. Many dogs hide signs of pain when interacting with people. Therefore, it can be challenging to diagnose the source of the pain. Watch for changes in your dog’s activity level and behavior, as these are the best indicators that he or she may be experiencing pain. Consult us if your dog is not exhibiting normal behavior, or is showing any of the following:

Lameness or abnormal gait, reluctance to move or navigate stairs, difficulty jumping, trouble lying down or getting up, decreased appetite, changes in eating behavior, excessive drooling, decreased interest in toys or play, mood or temperament changes, worried facial expression, squinting or closed eyes, restlessness, abnormal sleeping habits, abnormal reaction to petting or brushing, licking a specific body region, straining to urinate or defecate, biting or aggressive behavior, unusual whimpering, growling or groaning, any evidence of injury.

As veterinarians, the best way for us to treat the pain is to treat the illness or injury that is causing pain. This is done in a variety of ways, tailored to each individual patient’s needs. Pain management typically involves combinations of the following:

Appropriate medications, weight management and/or a special diet, changes for the home environment, physical therapy, acupuncture, laser therapy, chiropractic treatment.

Due to advances in diet and medical care of our pets, our dogs are now living longer. Although pain can occur at any time throughout their lives, many experience pain in their senior years. Together, we can make sure our canine companions are comfortable at all times.

Spring Vaccinations for Our Horses

Gayln Snair, DVM

Now that the snow and ice have subsided, it is time to get our horses up to date on vaccines. Determining your horse’s vaccination schedule should be discussed with one of our veterinarians. There are several things that go into deciding which horse gets which vaccines and when.

Not every horse is the same. Some stand in the pasture and never leave home, some leave home only in the summer for local play days and trail rides, and some show or compete on a regional or national circuit. Every horse, regardless of its life style, needs vaccines. Horses are very susceptible to tetanus and often get nicks and cuts that allow the tetanus bacteria to get into the body. When determining a vaccine schedule, our first consideration is possible exposure to the disease.

What stage of life is the horse in? Is it a foal and just losing its maternal antibodies? Is it young (it hasn’t had a lot of exposure to diseases and so doesn’t have much natural immunity), is it older and has had natural exposure or has it been vaccinated recently? The next consideration is what is its current immune status?

The other aspects to think about include the consequences of the disease (how infectious? how deadly? can people get it?) How effective is the vaccine that is available (will it completely prevent the disease or just lessen the symptoms?) What are the potential adverse reactions to the vaccine? What is the cost of the vaccine?

As a horse owner, it is important to realize that vaccines are not immediate acting, and injectable vaccines will usually take at least 2 weeks to create some immunity, whereas intranasal vaccines will start giving some immunity within 3-5 days. Some vaccines will need a booster in 3-4 weeks, or may be recommended twice yearly. We do not recommend vaccinating within 2 weeks before a show, hauling or weaning because stress can decrease the effectiveness of the vaccine, and recovery from an adverse reaction could interfere with the horse’s performance.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) recommends the following for core vaccines: Tetanus, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE/WEE), West Nile Virus (WNV) and Rabies. Risk based vaccines would include diseases like Strangles, Equine Herpesvirus(EHV) and influenza.

We try to use combined vaccines when possible in order to decrease the number of injections, and in addition, fewer adjuvants are given, which may help decrease adverse reactions.

Vaccination is only part of disease prevention – we use it in conjunction with good bio-security and disease control. Let us know what we can do to help you protect your equine friend!

Quick Bites

  • Dr. Keith and Dena attended the Oregon Veterinary Conference in Corvallis March 3-5, 2017. This annual conference is a collaboration of the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association and OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and provides continuing education for both veterinarians and the entire health-care team. We are pleased to announce that at the OVMA Awards Luncheon, Dena was named the Practice Manager of the year for 2017!
  • We welcome our new front office staff member – Krystal McCutcheon who started working at Cinder Rock in February 2017. Krystal is originally from Klamath Falls and now lives in Bend with her husband and their two sons. Krystal has raised thirteen guide dog puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind and comes to us with five years of experience working in the veterinary field.
  • Here is the most recent update on our Sonny’s Sunshine Fund: Our first fundraiser to help Tayln Lindsey acquire her diabetic alert dog has been a grand success. Total contributions were $6,000 and the beautiful well-trained Labradoodle named “Doc” came to live with Tayln in early March. They visited our office recently and it was clear to all of us that Doc has already become an invaluable addition to the family.

    Our second fundraiser, beginning April 1, 2017 will benefit Three Rivers Humane Society in Madras, OR in their effort to build a brand new indoor kennel. All contributions to this fund are made in memory of our client Julie Meyers who was an active supporter of the enduring work that Three Rivers Humane Society does on behalf of animals who are given a second chance for a permanent and loving home.