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Educational Articles

Pain Management

  • There are many ways we can change our dog's home environment to help them more easily move around and avoid injuries. This handout reviews some key points to improve your dog's comfort at home and on car trips.

  • Controlled, regular physical exercise is one of the core treatments of canine osteoarthritis, along with weight control, physical rehabilitation, and pain management. Exercise increases circulation to the muscles and joints, decreases stiffness in the joint capsule and soft tissues, reduces pain, maintains strength, and benefits the cardiovascular system. Left untreated, the chronic pain of arthritis causes a continually worsening cycle of less movement, weight gain, muscle loss, decreased strength, and loss of cardiovascular fitness.

  • Extracorporeal shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a treatment that uses high energy sound waves to exert changes in the target tissues. In specific situations it can decrease pain and increase healing. Conditions that can be treated, types of shockwave therapy, contraindications and adverse effects are discussed.

  • Taking care of a paralyzed pet comes with many challenges. This handout reviews the needs of a paralyzed pet and how an owner can help them at home.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are most often used to reduce pain, inflammation, and fever, much like how ibuprofen and naproxen are used by humans. In pets, they are most used around surgical procedures, after injury, or to help manage chronic pain such as that of osteoarthritis. Risks and potential side effects are discussed.

  • This handout provides a brief overview of the most common evidence-based modalities used in veterinary medicine. Pet owners need to discuss the risk of recommended modalities for their specific pet with a trained and certified rehabilitation therapist before starting a rehabilitation program.

  • Tramadol is a synthetic opioid given by mouth in the form of a tablet, capsule, or compounded liquid, and is used off label to treat pain. Common side effects include sedation, gastrointestinal upset, or agitation. It should not be used in pets that are hypersensitive to opioids, and should be used cautiously in geriatric, sick, or pets with seizures. If a negative reaction occurs, call your veterinary office.