Friday, February 17, 2012

Animals DO feel pain (with bonus guest post)

A big peeve of mine is people saying that animals don't feel pain. I don't understand. For example someone comes in with a dog who is only using 3 legs while one is just hanging there. After an assessment, imaging studies are recommended along with some pain medicine. "oh, he's not in PAIN doc, he just banged up his leg." Seriously? That makes no sense.

Anyway, apparently old doc VBB is not the only one who is regularly frustrated by this. Here's a good one from the VBB mailbag:

A young adult intact human male did not want his male dog to receive any pain medication before or after the neutering procedure - he said the dog did not feel pain. We discussed it for a bit before I gave up and said how about I neuter you and you tell me if you want some pain medication??

He still didn't want the dog to receive analgesics. I told him he didn't have a choice. The dog is being neutered, and will receive post-op analgesics!

We at VBB central are pleased our reader's patient will not have to experience a gonadectomy without analgesia. Too bad our reader didn't have a chance to demonstrate on her client.


  1. As my good friend, Obi Wan, says, "You can't fix stupid."

  2. If I had to face that kind of ignorant cruelty every day, I'd be in jail.

  3. I am also really bothered by people who argue that dental/periodontal disease isn't painful because the animal is still eating. How badly do you think your mouth would have to hurt before you'd decide that starving to death would be preferable than facing the pain of trying to eat something? Just because it doesn't hurt so bad that your animal wants to die doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

  4. I sometimes say I'm anal about analgesia. lol.

  5. I'm totally with BSDVM on the dental disease thing. I chewed on one side of my mouth for months because of bad wisdom teeth. I didn't quit eating, i just had chronic pain until I had them pulled!

    Same with the limping. People always say the dog doesn't seem painful, just lame. Uh, hello, that's why you limp. You don't hop around on 3 legs for fun!

  6. Yeah, I don't really understand that disconnect. That's always the fun part about discussing DJD. "Oh no doctor, I don't think she's in pain. She's not crying or anything. She just won't jump up into the car, climb stairs or go for walks anymore. Otherwise, she's fine."

    I usually point out to them that elderly people have arthritis, which we know hurts. However, they don't sit on the floor and howl in pain. They go about their day doing things slowly or avoiding difficult things when they can...because they are in pain. Usually, that produces an "Ah" moment.

  7. During my vet tech internship at our local human society, I had a pain discussion with one of the 3 veterinary surgeons whom performed the almost 30 spays and neuters we did daily.
    She was an older vet, graduating before 1980. And she told me that her surgeries did not cause pain because by "doing surgery corretly, with minimal tugging, pulling, and proper incisions" would not result in pain.

    Uhm... what about visceral pain? Or the burning pain of sliced skin?

    She told me our pre-meds handled any pain an animal may experience from routine surgery.

    She did not spay the kitten I adopted during my tenure.