Friday, June 26, 2009

It Doesn't Hurt

(Contributed by Dr. Jessica Levy)

I love it when people say that they know their pet is not in pain. The dog who is three-legged lame, the cat hiding in the closet, the horse who refuses a jump, whose owners all announce, "He doesn't seem to be in pain. Yeah, he's limping, hasn't eaten in three days, and his eye is squinted shut and crusty, but he seems to feel fine!"

Look at the person next to you in line at the bank, on the next treadmill over at the gym, in the checkout line at the grocery store. What do you think? Are they just starting to get a migraine, having really bad period cramps, or holding in a fart? Guess what - YOU CAN'T TELL!

Why the heck would we think we know what our pets are feeling? Are we a nation of animal communicators? (And don't even get me started on that topic!) Are we all psychic? Have we all dropped so much acid that now we can see auras? Not likely!

Bottom line, we have no idea what any person or animal is feeling. All we can base our assumptions on is what is thought to be normal for that animal or that species. When dogs are not in pain, they use all their limbs equally. When cats feel good, they are friendly and active. When horses feel limber and flexible, they take the jump with ease and confidence. And even these assumptions will get us fooled sometimes.

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