The pain's in the purr

Help veterinary clients identify their pets' pain.
Mar 01, 2012
By staff

It's sometimes tricky for pet owners to identify signs their pets are in pain. Firstline board member Sharon DeNayer says it's a good idea to ask pet owners about changes in behavior.

"A lot of animals are stoic," DeNayer says. "So watch for changes in their behavior, like decreased grooming or loss of stamina." For example, Bella doesn't jump on the sofa like she used to. Rex stays in rooms with carpet, because he's afraid he'll fall on a slippery floor. Fluffy doesn't like to be petted anymore, and Bowser's pain makes him aggressive. Even purring can be a sign of pain, DeNayer says. This can be difficult for cat owners to understand. In cat language, their cat's purr used to mean "thank you for petting me," but now it may mean "I don't feel good and I'm trying to lull myself into a more comfortable state."