I've seen pain management change a lot in the last 10 years," says Caitlin Rivers, a veterinary assistant and the inventory and special projects coordinator at Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pa. "We're happy to see our referring veterinarians now using more and various medications." But survey results show there's still room for improvement.
Although most team members who responded to the May 2007
http://VetMedTeam.com/ survey said their practice offers preemptive pain management, still 4 percent of team members said their practices didn't offer this service and another 5 percent weren't sure. "With the knowledge we currently have, there's no excuse for any practice to answer 'no' or 'not sure,'" says Robin Downing, DVM, Dipl. APPM, owner of Windsor Veterinary Clinic and The Downing Center for Animal Pain Management in Windsor, Colo.
What practices offer
And 24 percent of team members reported pain management is optional for certain procedures at their practice. "Appropriate pain management shouldn't be optional. Why are we letting lay people decide?" Dr. Downing says.
"We're lacking awareness and education," Rivers adds. "Sometimes our team members don't know about pain medications and how to manage pain." The numbers agree: Fifty percent of team members surveyed said they've never attended continuing education on pain management.