SIGNS OF CHRONIC PAIN IN DOMESTIC CATS: we now have the first consensus by a group of veterinary experts.
Many of you will recognize CSU’s helpful “acute signs of pain in cats” form. Here’s a form I put together that may be helpful to use in your veterinary practice or to use with your own cats at home. CATS SIGNS of CHRONIC PAIN
Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine at the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences added: “With an estimated 220 million owned cats across the globe, it is perhaps surprising how little we know about the ways they express pain.”
Three signs were reliably linked to acute (sudden onset) pain: panting, pupil dilation and blepharospasm (closing an eyelid tightly). The following five behaviours were rarely present in low level pain but common in acute levels of pain: avoiding bright areas, growling, change in feeding behaviour, closed eyes and groaning.
Some of the behaviours which were no longer thought to be indicative of only pain include hissing, spitting, purring, trying to scratch people and sleeping less. This report mentions that cats, as well as dogs, other animals, and humans have different temperaments, personalities and moods which can influence how pain is displayed.
Behavioral Signs of Pain in Cats: an expert consensus. Plos one Feb 26 2016
GUIDELINES FOR RECOGNITION, ASSESSMENT AND TREATMENT OF PAIN 2014 Cats & Dogs