Pain point: Don’t skip this pain management step in your veterinary practice

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Pain point: Don’t skip this pain management step in your veterinary practice

Dr. Michael Petty discusses one of his key takeaways for attendees of his upcoming pain management sessions at Fetch dvm360 conferences.

Shutterstock.comMichael Petty, DVM, CVPP, CVMA, CCRT, CAAPM, may have a lot of letters after his name, but one of the key takeaways for his upcoming Fetch dvm360 pain management sessions is relatively simple: Treating acute pain isn’t difficult, but you have to measure it first.

Specialists and general practitioners alike must look at their patients, find the pain, treat the pain and then reevaluate to see if what they’re doing is adequate or if adjustments need to be made, says Dr. Petty, who is a faculty member of the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in Wellington, Florida, and the owner of Arbor Pointe Veterinary Hospital in Canton, Michigan. “Without these steps, animals will suffer and your clients will know,” he says.

Pain scales are a key component of finding and reevaluating the pain. “If you’re not using pain scales, you’re missing the pain in many of your patients,” says Dr. Petty.

Acute pain scales are designed to be used by veterinary professionals. For veterinarians and technicians who are just starting to use pain scales, Dr. Petty recommends using the Colorado State University acute pain scales. There’s one for dogs and one for cats. He also says that NewMetrica has good acute pain scales for cats and dogs that have been validated.

When it comes to chronic pain scales, which are mostly meant to be used by clients at home, Dr. Petty likes the Feline Musculoskeletal Pain Index from North Carolina State University and the Cincinnati Orthopedic Disability Index for dogs.

You can get more advice and instruction from Dr. Petty in person at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences this year. Visit fetchdvm360.com to learn more about his sessions.


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