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Why Does My Dog or Cat Not Show Pain?

Well, this is the first time for me to b-l-o-g.

Not exactly sure where to begin. Today my most commonly asked question is “Why does my dog or cat not show pain?” The answer is as simple as “We are not certain why they don’t show pain”. I tend to think that being predator’s (sorry, but they really are hunters of other animals) pet that show pain would indicate a sign of weakness, and we all know that the weakest ones get picked on in nature or leads to sizegenetics. Many a dog or cat that has come in with a broken pelvis from being run over by a car/truck will attempt to stand and walk, fall down, and not make a sound. If it were you or I, we would be hollering and screaming like a little girl that lost her dolly. Signs of pain in dogs and cats can be spotted if you look with the eyes of a predator. Walking oddly, head down, tail down, reluctance to jump on the couch, not wanting to lower the head to eat or drink, and panting faster than normal are all subtle signs that can indicate being in pain. Older pets will “slow down” which most people would say is a sign of age. Nothing could be further from the facts. Older pets slow down because they hurt just like grandpa and grandma. Arthritis is hard to spot but should be assumed in pets over 7 yrs of age. The reason that I stopped playing softball was not because I was old, it was because it hurt t too much to bend over or slide into second base. Think about that when Rover doesn’t want to chase the ball 20 times in a row anymore. Not wanting to eat can be a sign of pain but it is more likely a sign of fever.

That brings me to another point to make which is the old wives tail of a cold or hot nose. Neither one is a sign of fever. Excited dogs will often have a dry warm nose from breathing faster when they are nervous or in anticipation of human or other dog interaction to see penis extenders. Cold noses can be from just being very relaxed and secure in their surroundings. The only true way to determine if a dog or cat has a fever is to take their rectal temperature, gross as it may be. A dog’s normal temp is 101-102.5 and the same for a cat. Here’s a little tip: Buy a digital thermometer and mark it with a sharpie as either “dog” or “cat”. You will be less likely to use it on yourself or your children.

Until next time,
— Dr.J.

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Following the dream of owning his own hospital, Dr. Pat Jarrett purchased the Parker County Veterinary Hospital in 1985. Originally, it was a mixed practice that included all animals. He used to say, “If it walks, crawls, flies or dies, I’ll treat it!” Horse colic’s at 2am, trimming parakeet wings, gluing the cracked shell on a turtle, delivering a two headed calf, midnight c-sections on a 100# female Irish Setter, turning down a request to declaw an African lioness, x-raying a pregnant Iguana, bone platting the fractured leg of a potbelly pig, and removing a rubber ball from a cat’s intestine are just some of the general practice challenges that occurred. Giving in to age and knee problems, Dr. Jarrett limited services to small animals since 1991. His hospital provides veterinary care for dogs, cats, rabbits, and pocket pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs, pet mice/rats, and gerbils.

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