Helpful Resources

Support After Loss

Dr. Elms highly recommends the pet loss support groups that are associated with veterinary schools. Many are accessible 24 hours/7 days a week.

www.chicagovma.org  630-325-1600

www.argustinstitute.colostate.edu  970-297-1242

www.vet.cornell.edu  607-253-3932

www.vetmed.illinois.edu  217-244-2273 or 877-394-2273

www.cvm.msu.edu  517-432-2696

www.vet.utk.edu/socialwork  865-755-8839

www.tufts.edu/vet 508-839-7966

www.vetmed.vt.edu  540-231-8038

www.vetmed.wsu.edu  866-266-8635

Is My Pet in Pain?

Our animals are much more stoic than we would ever imagine. Unlike us, there is no psychological component to their discomfort; they simply accommodate pain.  Our cats and dogs are by nature not only predators but also prey animals. They have been programmed not to vocalize when in pain because it will betray their whereabouts to predators.

They do not worry if they will get better. They depend on us to pick up the clues, many of which are subtle and often confused with normal aging or other diseases.

Understanding how different animals display levels of pain is so important when we discuss end of life decisions.

Please see if your pets are exhibiting a combination of these signs as each sign taken individually can be related to other disturbances.

  • An arthritic dog will no longer jump onto the couch or in the car, will circle several times before laying down and have frequent posture shifts. His sleep may be disturbed by pain.
  • Pain generally causes loss of appetite, slower wound healing, lethargy, increased respiratory and heart rates. As pain increases, animals will isolate, have dull and unfocused eyes and become aggressive when normally docile. If pain is limited to a certain area, they will scratch or bite at it.
  • Extreme pain also causes panting, vomiting, and continuous hunched positions.
Dr. Elms’ own Harley whose rear leg exhibits a painful rear knee. She holds the limb extended to minimize the discomfort of bending it.

For further reading: http://communityvet.net/2009/11/putting-on-brave-face-stoicism-in-animals/