Pet Pain Medication Rayne LA
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Standard of Pain Care
In his autobiography “What I Have Lived For,” humanitarian Bertrand Russell reflected on his past, writing:
“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. … Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. … I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.” 1
Many veterinarians similarly experience unbearable pity for the suffering of animal kind. Unlike Russell, who longed to reduce suffering but could not, we hold in our hands, hearts and minds a dramatic capacity to intervene on behalf of animals and lobby for better treatment, whether in the feedlot, the research lab or in the veterinary clinic.
We can upgrade standards of care from within our profession or wait for them to be imposed by public pressure. For better pain management in particular, science supports it, caregivers want it and we can provide it.
Ethics of Pain
It’s unclear why some veterinary patients are sent home to live a life of chronic pain after not receiving adequate pre-emptive, intraoperative or postoperative analgesia. That prompts one to ask what the medical or ethical justifications might be for letting animals live in pain.
Similar frustrations exist in the human medical community regarding insufficient pain control by practitioners who lack adequate awareness and education in pain medicine. This problem led the National Pain Foundation to assemble a Pain Patient Bill of Rights. 2
The bill highlights the “five pillars” of pain management:
5 More Rights
Whether pain management can be considered a human “right” remains unresolved; it is questionable whether a parallel set of veterinary patient rights to proper pain management would be upheld by the profession. 4
At the very least, welfare standards advocated for animals used for food should apply to companion animals. Back in the 1970s, the Farm Animal Welfare Council assembled a list of “five freedoms” for farm animals. 5 Thirty years later, these freedoms still ring true no matter the animal’s role in life: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress.
Based on the five freedoms and the five pillars, a starting point emerges around which to begin discussion for standards of care regarding veterinary patients’ pain management:
1. Caregivers should receive pain management information and have their q...
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