At SAGE, the doctors and clinical staff all recognize the need for the management of pain in our patients and we do so proactively. We recognize that by paying attention to the patient’s comfort, taking the time for lessening their anxiety by petting them and talking to them, and by keeping them in clean, well-padded areas, that we can decrease their stress response even without drugs. Increased stress response is linked to prolonged recovery, delayed healing, and possible compromise to the immune system.
Other forms of non-drug related pain management include surgical techniques. All of our surgeons have gone through extra training to help minimize tissue trauma and inflammation. We start physical therapy immediately after surgery by having 24-hour care with veterinary nurses applying frequent cold compresses overnight and then can offer a formal physical rehabilitation program after surgery. In some of our facilities, we also offer alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, that can help with pain in both acute and chronic cases.
The final strategy we employ is the use of medication, administered prior to surgery or other activity that is continued throughout hospitalization. Giving drugs prior to the pain stimulus is called preemptive therapy. We also have overnight staff that can continue to adjust the level of medication for continuous pain management until the patient is released. There is a wide variety of medication available, and by using different types of drugs that target different receptors, we can lower side effects and be more effective at pain management.
The management of pain is so important for our patients, and we realize that we have to tailor each program for each particular patient. We work to treat acute pain that can happen with surgical procedures as well as chronic pain associated with arthritis or cancer. Please ask your SAGE doctor about any concerns you might have in how pain can be best managed for your pet.