Pain Management or How to Sleep in Class

pain management, lecture, rehab, education,

Ellie slept through three straight hours of pain management. This photo makes me think she will need pain management in the morning for her neck!

I spent this weekend at the SCAV (South Carolina Association of Veterinarians) Continuing Education Meeting in beautiful downtown Greenville. I sat through two days of lectures and I must say that it is extremely tiring to just sit and listen.

I always find it so amusing when I have to sit in lectures on pain management, rehabilitation and other classes to do with body awareness for hours on end (pun intended). We sit there in agony, wiggling quietly, stretching, you name it trying to relieve the pain of sitting there!

I always come away with lots of little nuggets for my practice, my clients, and my patients. I know that while I listen to the lectures I tend to think of certain pets that may fit each category so my notes are interspersed with names of pets.

I then come home with a whole list of people to contact, new ideas to try out and different mind sets on how to treat. I love the education part of it, I just hate the sitting part and that is why I found it so amusing to sit behind Ellie. Ellie is a 12 year old Jack who has severe separation anxiety, imagine that – a vet with a pet who isn’t quite right.

Ellie was given her usual dose of anxiety medication that morning by her mother, Jill, but this time the medication did not take affect. Ellie was more stressed than usual since she was in an unfamiliar place with lots of noise going on around her.

When Jill went back to her room during a break, she heard Ellie barking out her distress and needless to say, the maid and other patrons near her room were not happy; so Ellie came to lectures. For the first few minutes of lecture Ellie was still stressed but then mom picked her up and she was fine. Now I know that all of the trainers and behaviorists are cringing because Jill just said it was okay to be anxious but Ellie was past that point already.

Ellie stayed awake for about 5 minutes post lap and even though, Dr. Mark Epstein is a great speaker, she was soon fast asleep. Her medication kicked in and no matter how much mom shifted, Ellie did not stir. I must admit that the post-lunch wanting-a-nap phase was hitting me but nothing like Miss Ellie. I was jealous of that sound sleep.

This little episode just goes to show that even though Ellie’s medication had always worked for her stress of a new situation overcame the effects. We as pet owners must remember that stress can be a good thing or it can be very detrimental. Your pet picks up on your level of stress and they can become just as agitated as you; that is why I always tell owners that they must have a positive attitude so that their pet can have a positive attitude.

Pain Management is all about picking up on subtle signs of distress such as:

  • panting
  • hiding/staying away from the family
  • behavior changes
  • not moving as much/sleeping more
  • slow moving
  • avoiding things they use to do like jump on the couch or go for walks

A lot of owners feel that their pets are just slowing down due to aging not pain but these are signs of a disability and should be treated as such. There are a lot of conventional and alternative methods to pain management which can be pursued. If your pet is showing any of these signs, you should consult your local veterinarian or your pet’s pain management practitioner at ARCC – Animal Rehab & Conditioning Center.

We will help with your pet’s pain management and hopefully not make you sleep through lecture — Good Night Ellie!


2 Responses to Pain Management or How to Sleep in Class

  • RHONDA says:

    What is the best thing for anxiety/excitement driving in a car?

  • Dr. Dicki Kennedy says:

    Depends on if you are competing or just going somewhere. There are a couple of treatments you could try:
    1) small, frequent trips in which you don’t make a big deal of going
    2) stress away is a natural product to help
    3) sedation with a product like benadryl or dramamine
    4) thundershirts may be helpful
    5) placing the pet in a closed in crate or kennel
    6) alternative methods such as acupuncture, herbs, or bach flowers

    Hopefully one of these methods will be helpful for your pet, if not – we can always think of some other method.

    Good luck,

    Dr. Kennedy

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