Pain is a priority

cat with broken leg

Every pet that is admitted to Northwest Surgeons is a candidate for the services of our pain management team.

Cases undergoing surgery are the first ones we think of when pain springs to mind, but many of the dogs and cats presenting to internal medicine or cardiology also have painful conditions.  Pain is managed by our team of anaesthetists – Matt Gurney, Liz Leece and Annie Tute. Our specialist training and ongoing continuing education provides us with the knowledge and experience to do the very best for your pet. If you are considering which referral centre to take your pet to, ask them whether they offer the services of specialists in pain management.

Let’s take the example of a cat, Jerry, who we saw this week with a fractured pelvis. Jerry had a run in with a car and came off worse! Fortunately his vet knew that Northwest Surgeons was the best place to send Jerry, where he could receive the very best care from orthopaedic surgeon Eandil Maddock and specialist anaesthetist Matt Gurney.

We always use a combination of drugs when targeting pain. This is known as multimodal analgesia. Jerry’s vet had already given him an anti-inflammatory pain killer (a NSAID) but we knew he would need a greater level of pain relief for his surgical procedure. Our first line drugs for surgical pain are the opioids and we have a variety available which are effective in cats, which we included in Jerry’s sedation prior to giving his anaesthetic. Once under anaesthetic Matt performed an epidural. (Yes – this is a well-used technique in dogs and cats, just like in people!) This meant that during the surgery and for the night after surgery Jerry experienced no pain at all. In addition to this we used a small patch containing opioid which sticks to the skin. Whilst the patch remains in place it provides excellent pain relief for several days after surgery.

The day after the surgery Jerry was happy in our cat ward, eating, purring and generally demanding lots of fuss from our team of nurses and care assistants! He is just one happy example of the many cases we see every day where pain is our number one priority.