Multi-Modal Approach to Pain Relief

Multi-Modal Approach to Pain Relief

Dogs and cats experience pain just like people.  The main cause is aging, but other reasons include trauma, obesity, high activity, and large breed issues.  Whatever the cause, we may see our pet having difficulty getting up, whining, restless, panting with pain, and lameness (difficulty getting around).

 One single way to treat pain can be quite effective but research and experience has shown that putting other modalities in use can dramatically help in reducing pain.  Using a combination of the below modalities can help your pet live comfortably and be more active.


  • The release of inflammatory mediators, lead to a progressive cycle of cartilage degradation, joint membrane inflammation, and boney remodeling – all causing pain.  NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – similar to Ibuprofen) are usually the first choice of pain relief.  They posses pain relief via their anti-inflammatory effects.


  • The only FDA-approved disease modifying osteoarthritis drug that effectively slows the disease cycle of canine arthritis. It protects cartilage in a dog’s hips, knees, elbows, and other joints as well as provides key building blocks for damaged joints to repair themselves.  Another amazing aspect is its anti-inflammatory effect (pain relief).
  • It is administered in a series of twice weekly injections for four weeks, then once monthly.  We can do the injections for you at no extra cost or we can train you do it at home.
  • Cost is approximately $17.50 per 50 pounds. 

Weight Loss

  • Almost half the dogs seen by a veterinarian are overweight or obese, and those extra pounds may have more of an impact on your dog’s health than you realize.  Excess weight can hurt your dog or cat in various ways.  Examples are skin and hair coat problems, breathing difficulty, high blood pressure, reduced activity, and arthritis.
  • Weight loss can be accomplished simply increasing activity, feeding a light diet, or feeding a prescription weight loss diet such as Hill’s Prescription Metabolic Diet.  Increasing metabolism is tricky, so decreasing the amount of food may not always work.

Cold Laser Therapy

  • Cold Laser Therapy (CLT) is a non-pharmaceutical way to manage pain with no side effects.  The laser beam (via photo biological action mechanisms) stimulates the cells to be healthy, thereby reducing inflammation.  When inflammation is reduced, then we see less pain, swelling, heat, and redness.  Treatment with CLT can take 6-8 sessions but varies depending on the condition.  Many clients see a positive difference within 3-4 sessions.  After the initial treatments some pets benefit with monthly follow up.

Acupuncture Treatments

  • Acupuncture Simply stated acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body that have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiologic conditions to achieve the desired effect. It is a means of helping the body heal itself. Acupuncture has been used successfully for nearly 4000 years on animals, as well as human beings. Great for pain relief.

Hill’s Prescription Diet J/d

  • Studies have shown blends of omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids help suppress the production of inflammatory mediators.  They also help with skin and hair coat, important with those having skin allergies.  Hill’s Prescription Diet J/d provides the right blend of fatty acids and glucosamine in a highly palatal diet.

Other Pain Relief Medication

  • Tramadol -- a pain relief and cough suppressant that works on the opiate receptors similar to Codeine.  Not addicting.
  • Gabapentin – great pain relief medication used for exaggerated (“nerve root”) and chronic pain.
  • Amantadine – This medication helps reduce “wind up” and chronic pain.  Typically used with other medications, it helps the others work better, by lowering the “pain threshold.”

Glucosamine/Chondroitin and Herbal Supplements

  • These types of supplements are touted to provide high concentrations of precursors for articular cartilage.  Since articular cartilage is damaged and degraded, having building blocks available is thought to help.  Quality and true availability in the body are considerations when using this supplement.
  • Herbs can help in an anti-inflammatory way as well as increase circulation.  By increasing circulation the body can heal better.

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