Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don’t whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. The type of pain medication needed will be determined by the type of surgery performed.
Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minor lacerations.
For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory the day of surgery and several days after to lessen the risk of discomfort and swelling. We use newer medications, which are less likely to cause stomach upset and can be given even the morning of surgery.
Cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Tylenol. Recent advances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control in cats than ever before. All feline surgical patients will receive pain medication while they are hospitalized and many will go home with pain medication to help keep them comfortable in the days following surgery.
Sometimes pain medication is administered continuously through an IV catheter by constant rate infusion. We find that this provides the most consistent method of pain control and ensures the comfort of our patients post-operatively. Injectable pain medications may also be used after surgery on both dogs and cats. Providing whatever pain relief is appropriate is a humane and caring thing to do for your pet.