Kiba wasn't even 1 year old when he had an incident at the park with Freja and sustained his first injury. He gave an almighty yelp and couldn't weight bear through his left hind leg. We took him to the vet and he was put on anti-inflammatories. He seemed to have improved but when we went for walks he would have a slight limp. We then went to see Dr Naomi from SASH and after x-rays to rule out a CCL tear, he was diagnosed with a hip flexor tendinopathy. For months we focused on hydrotherapy, laser treatment qand exercises and thankfully the 'trouble maker' is doing well, over 3 years later and we still try and maintain all his exercises. This experience was the beginning of my passion to learn more about canine rehabilitation and help dogs in pain.
Dogs are not dissimilar to my patients with severe dementia, sadly both are unable to articulate and inform us of their pain so it's up to us to look at signs and behaviours and put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Have you noticed that your dog does any of the following? Noticing differences to your dogs' "normal" stature, movement and behaviour may be crucial in identifying an issue.
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Resting more than usual
Getting up or moving may be hard for your dog to do due to pain. They may also be sleeping more to assist the body to heal.
Changes in behaviour
If your dog is in pain they may become more withdrawn, hide away or not be interested in usual play. Conversely, they may be more aggressive or vocalise their discomfort and snarl, growl, yelp or howl.
Movement difficulties and swelling
When your dog moves and is in pain, a limp (or lameness) can often be seen. This may be due to an injury in the limb, inflammation such as that caused by a grass seed in his paw. Swelling may also signify injury, inflammation or cancer. Paying close attention to your dog by looking and touching to feel for any differences can be crucial information to identifying an issue early.
Changes in appetite
A dog who is in pain may eat less, either from localised dental pain limiting chewing or from a general loss of appetite.
Shaking and restlessness
Often we associate shaking with our dog being cold, but it may also be due to pain or, worse, poisoning, so a vet review may be needed. A dog in pain may also be very restless, pacing back and forth, unable to lie still and relax.
We hope this will help you know what to look out for to keep your dog as pain free as possible.
Give your pup a cuddle from Aunty K and Aunty D!