Two of the leading animal health organizations in the U.S. announced they are joining forces to help veterinarians and pet owners better identify and manage the subtle warning signs of pets suffering from pain. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the Association of American Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats focuses on the veterinarian’s role in pain management and the important role pet owners play in alleviating their pet’s suffering.

Because animals naturally hide their pain to protect themselves from predators, pets may be suffering from an illness or injury even though they don’t show obvious signs. Advancements in veterinary science have recently decoded subtle telltale signs of animal distress.

Pet owners should contact their veterinarian if they observe:

• Abnormal chewing habits
• Drastic weight gain or loss
• Avoidance of affection or handling
• Decreased movement and exercise
• Excessively licking or biting itself
• Uncharacteristic “accidents”

These signs can help uncover underlying medical issues and pain. AAHA reminds pet owners that regular wellness exams allow veterinarians to evaluate their pet’s general health and discover any health problems before they become serious illnesses.

“Addressing contemporary approaches to manage pain gives us the ability to fulfill our veterinary duty to alleviate the suffering of animals,” explained Thomas A. Carpenter, DVM, AAHA President. “These new and helpful guidelines will give veterinarians and pet owners common ground to diagnose and manage pain that affects cats and dogs.”

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