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Pain Clinic

The Pain Clinic is specialist-led, working with an excellent team of chartered physiotherapists. The team have quick and easy access to the other departments at Langford vets such as neurology, orthopaedics, behaviour and dermatology. This helps us provide effective pain management with more complex cases.

Pain can affect all areas of your pet's life. Pain can affect aspects such as sleep, mobility, social interactions, appetite, behaviour and energy levels. Once these areas have been affected, the changes in those areas of life can start to worsen the pain itself. Pain management involves recognising these interactions and finding different ways to improve all areas of life, even if the pain itself can't be cured.

Pain clinic aims:

  • Provide a joined up, multi-professional patient specific assessment of your pet's pain to understand why they might be painful, what triggers their pain and if possible, a prognosis.
  • We will develop and review an individual management plan with the appropriate support required for your pet to live a fuller life.
  • We work to support both you, your pet and your primary care vet to manage your pet's pain with an aim to develop the best possible quality of life.

Who is seen in the pain clinic?

Who is seen in the pain clinic?

In the pain clinic, we see pets who have persistent/chronic pain or acute pain that is unmanaged. It is important that before you attend our service your pet's referring vet has investigated the possible causes for your pet's pain. When all necessary investigations have been completed your vet can complete a referral form on the website.

Many pets we see in the pain clinic have a complex medical history with difficult-to- manage pain. They are usually referred to us as current interventions have only provided a small part of the relief that had been hoped for.

We will investigate how your pet’s pain is affecting them both physically and mentally. Treatment may include use of specific medications including those licensed for use in humans where no veterinary equivalent exists. This can go a long way to alleviating pain but must be combined with physical and environmental management techniques. More advanced techniques such as targeted delivery of drugs including regional nerve blocks or spinal injection of medication may be employed if required. 

Why are pets referred to the pain clinic?

What are pets referred to the pain clinic?

  • Mobility limited by pain where surgery isn’t indicated
  • Severe pain which is difficult to treat
  • Lack of success with pain management
  • Struggling with polypharmacy (use of multiple medications)
  • Co-morbidities complicating medication
  • Need for multi-disciplinary input
  • Needing onwards referral but unsure which speciality 

Our department is available for direct physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and pain clinic referrals from primary care vets without the need to see one of our vets first, if your pet has seen a vet at Langford vets they can be referred internally.

Your pet's pain clinic appointment

Your pet's pain clinic appointment

On the first visit your pet will be seen by a veterinary pain consultant and an ACPAT physiotherapist, who will take an in-depth history of your pet’s problems as well as discuss goals you would like to achieve, e.g. going on a 20-minute walk with no signs of pain in your pet during or after the walk.

The patient will then have a physical examination and a gait assessment to help identify areas of pain and the severity. A management/treatment plan will then be generated to achieve the goals. All options will be discussed with you to make informed decisions together. With injury or chronic pain, it can be very difficult to predict the course of recovery and we work together to manage expectations and keep you and your pet’s primary care vet informed at every stage. 

Please allow 90 minutes for the initial appointment and 45 minutes for follow ups.

Pain clinic is rarely a one-off treatment. Several visits will usually be necessary to achieve the best outcome with some patients continuing to need long term physiotherapy.  

Treatments available

  • Medication advice - Our RCVS recognised specialists can investigate complex patients with difficult to manage pain. Treatment may include use of specific medications including those licensed for use in humans where no veterinary equivalent exists. More advanced techniques such as targeted delivery of drugs including regional nerve blocks or spinal injection of medication may be employed if required.
  • Electrotherapies – there are various forms of electrotherapies that can help with pain management, we most commonly use the K-Laser which has been shown to reduce pain and improve healing
  • Soft tissue and myofascial release - mechanical stimulus that causes a cascade of neurophysiological responses within the peripheral and central nervous systems responsible for pain inhibition and improve soft tissue and myofascial mobility
  • Range of motion and strengthening exercise- Exercise can positively influence pain levels, specific physiotherapy exercises are often set to address muscle wastage and tightness that is often caused by chronic pain.
  • Education – Educating and explaining pain and pain behaviours, as well as lifestyle and environmental factors that influence pain is an essential part of our treatment plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring to a pain clinic appointment?
Should I give my pet its pain medication?
Should I feed my pet before a pain clinic appointment?
My pet finds visiting the veterinary practice stressful and doesn’t like being examined, can they still be referred?
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