Especially when owning elderly animals or those undergoing palliative treatment for incurable conditions, the assessment of chronic pain is extremely important. Chronic pain is difficult to treat and quantify, even in people. However, chronic pain can really affect the quality of life of our animal and can lead to other more severe conditions.
When possible, the initiating cause should be treated, although this may never be identified or eliminated (think osteoarthritis in multiple joints). Most chronic pain patients respond best to what is called “multi-modal” pain relief. In other words, by using several treatments that have different mechanisms of action, we can achieve better pain control and reduce the incidence of side effects. There are different medications that can be used and combined to control the pain. The main drugs used are: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) (such as the popular “bute” or meloxicam), paracetamol, tramadol and gabapentin. These drugs, although extremely useful in order to have the pain under control in the first stage of the treatment or when there is a ‘flare-up’, don’t treat the cause of the pain; therefore, the pain will never disappear and most of the times we’ll need these drugs to ease the pain.
At Integravet we offer you another range of treatments that can be used as a sole treatment for chronic pain conditions and can also be combined with your normal treatment when this one is not as effective as expected. The aim with these integrated treatments is to improve the quality of life of your animal with minimal side effects and in accordance with the body’s natural processes.
After an exhaustive examination and a test to quantify the pain of your animal, we’ll use different therapies (Acupuncture, Electroacupuncture and/or LLLT) and natural drugs scientifically proved (like Traumeel®, Zeel®, Engystol®) to ease the pain by targeting the cause of the problem. We’ll help the body to restore their natural balance in an effective and sustained way.
Regardless of the cause or the species, chronic pain is itself a dynamic process and requires careful assessment and frequent re-assessments. At the beginning the treatments will be more often (sometimes 2-3 times a week for a couple of weeks) to ‘build-up’ the effect of the integrative treatments and then at wider intervals. For most patients, a close working relationship with the animal owner is vitally important for success.