Some of us want attention when we're hurting. Clients should know their pets tend to bury the fact.
Whether cats and dogs are facing pain before or after a procedure and in rehab, their owners don't always know that hiding pain "is an evolutionary adaptation that dogs and cats have," says CVC educator Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA, president of Essex Animal Hospital in Essex, Ontario, Canada. Clients have trouble seeing the pain you see, "particularly in kitty cats," she says.
In this video, she describes two important behavioral clues you can share with your clients to help them recognize pain in their pets:
> Immobility in cats. "Many times," Hungtingford says, "clients perceive this as normal aging changes." You know that's not necessarily so. Explain immobility as a potential sign of pain, explaining that cats may stop making it to the litter box, not jump up on counters, and not groom themselves, and that your medical help may turn these problem signs around.
> Quiet in dogs. Huntingford's clients have told her their dog isn't in pain because "he's not vocalizing, he's not crying." What they forget is that dogs and cats can be prey animals (as well as predators), and Mother Nature doesn't reward the loud complainers. Explain to clients the reality that "these pets are very, very adept at hiding pain," she says.