Good Might Not Be Good Enough...
My article on pain not being an acceptable form of restraint is still one of the most popular I have written. To me that is black and white, but how about the shades of grey?
I often chat to owners who tell me their dog feels pretty good. They can run around, play with toys and don't look to be in much pain. And yet I will still discuss pain relief and if we should do a treatment trial with pain meds.
That's why I will discuss running a treatment trial of pain relief as an option with most owners because.... well it's grey. Their dog is pretty good and happy so why put drugs into their system, on the other hand, often a little pain relief is the difference between pretty good, and great. While I've seen many of my client's benefit, my best story is my own puppy (and frequent star of this blog), Safire.
Living with Safire post hip operation has modified my view. Why should it be up to me to me (the owner not the vet) to decide if my dog needs pain relief. That they are in 'enough pain' to warrant it.
Safire was pretty good after her operation, the initial healing went well and rehab was going great, but we reached a plateau. She was trotting around the backyard and pretty happy, but she wasn't back to her old playful self. So I decieded to run a treatment trial with pain medication, increasing her anti-inflammatories and adding in a nerve pain medication.
All of a sudden I had a nine month old Safire back. Zoomies in the back yard, playing with the other dogs, and generally creating mischief and causing trouble. Safire is still on the higher dose of meds. When I asked her (did a treatment trial) she told me that pain had been limiting her and she could be more than just good. She could be amazing.
This hasn't just been an experiment of one dog but many. Sometimes you don't notice the things your dog or cat has stopped doing until there is a pain treatment trial and they suddenly start doing it again! Pain can be subtle and insidious.
So, please ask your pet, “Are you in pain? Can we help you feel amazing so you can be better than good”