Tamara Grubb, DVM, PhD, DACVAA
Plus, frequently asked questions
An expert provides answers to frequently asked questions
By recognizing physiologic, physical, and behavioral signs of pain and employing a consistent pain scoring system, veterinary teams can improve their assessment of cats in need of analgesic therapy. And by administering FDA-approved analgesic drugs in multimodal protocols, veterinarians can provide effective pain relief for their feline patients.
Because we want to succeed! If we want to do the best medicine possible and give our patients the best chance to heal, then we have to treat pain. Pain initiates a fairly profound stress response and a sympathetic overdrive. Stress and autonomic imbalance are not benign and the cascade of side effects include gastrointestinal (GI) ileus, GI ulceration, clotting dysfunction, hypertension, tachycardia, tachyarrhythmias, and many others.
Acute pain has an initial biological purpose in that it initiates a protective withdrawal reflex when a painful stimulus is encountered so that the tissue damage is minimized. Because of its usefulness, acute pain is often called 'physiologic pain'. Unfortunately, unlike acute pain, chronic pain serves no biological purpose.
No matter what anesthetic protocol is chosen, the addition of adequate analgesia is imperative for safe anesthesia. Most anesthetic agents, including the anesthetic gases, block the brain's response to pain but don't actually block pain. If the pain is severe enough, the brain can still respond and make the animal appear to be inadequately anesthetized.