Behavior changes? Think about pain.

Changes in behavior can be linked to pain in your pet. Sudden changes or exacerbation of previously stable behaviors can be signs that your pet may be uncomfortable. Pain is often under diagnosed and/or underestimated as being clinically relevant by many and so it can be hard to determine whether pain is a viable differential when the patient presents a behavioral disorder. 


When speaking to your doctor you should be very forthcoming with information that pertains to your pet, it may not seem relevant but many things can contribute to your pets diagnosis and the doctor is qualified to determine what information is relevant. A good tip to remember is to take videos of the behavior changes so that you can show your doctor because, at times, simply explaining what is going on may not always be sufficient. Doctors will always perform a physical exam when attempting to diagnose your pet and though they may be able to determine what is going on through the physical exam it is always helpful for them to have the complete history of the issue. 


Behavior issues associated with pain may appear seemingly unrelated to the untrained eye. For example, cats eliminating outside of the litter box, changes to their grooming habits can be linked to pain. When pets are in pain they’re likely to be more irritable and can act more aggressively if irritated. This can be an issue if the pet were to lash out at people or other pets and so making sure that they’re comfortable and happy is a top priority so that there are no incidents. Keep your pet happy and healthy by keeping a close eye on their behavior during the holiday season. While pets are playing in the snow, they can be more susceptible to injuring themselves as they play and run on the ice. Pain combined with nerves from having strangers over can have your pet acting differently than usual and so watching them is important to keep an eye out.