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Animal Pain Awareness: Top Signs to Watch Out For

September is recognized worldwide as a pain awareness month. As we discuss human pain awareness, we also spread awareness of animal pain. It is important to share that animals suffer pain just as humans. Their communication may not be as understandable, but they suffer from pain too. Animals suffer from injuries, fractures, ailments, and chronic issues.

Since they cannot speak about their pain, it’s upon humans to observe and help them. Some pains are easy to spot, others require a more detailed exam. Here are some insights to help you know if an animal is in pain.

Unusual Mobility

The easiest sign of an animal in pain is odd movements. Observe your pet or farm animal for signs of discomfort. If your pet suffers an injury such as fractures or sprains, they have a sudden limp. A limp that develops gradually may be caused by arthritis, ligament injury, and bone cancer.

If limping persists for more than three days, you should take your animal to the vet for further evaluation. Look out for unusual posture and gait. Lack of agility and odd movements are signs of pain too. If the animal shows lethargy or no sign of movement at all, that is a veterinarian emergency.

Vocal Call for Attention

Animals make all sorts of sounds. They have happy sounds and sounds to show distress. If you are used to your pet, you can tell when they are crying for help. Watch out for whimpering, and howling. Cats make hissing sounds when they feel uncomfortable. If your pet is usually the quiet type and they suddenly make too much noise, they are trying to get attention. Difficulty in breathing or breathing too hard is a sign of trouble.

Lack of Interest

Sudden submissive behavior in animals is a sign of distress. Watch out if your pet suddenly loses interest in social interaction and sits in a corner all by themselves. An animal in pain has guarded behavior and loss of interest in play and fun. When an animal is in pain, they retract and stay hidden from you or from others. Their carnal instinct is to hide when they feel that their defense mechanism is down.

Changes in Feeding and Defecation Habits

Loss of appetite is a sign of pain in animals. They may be experiencing pain in the gut or in the mouth. Watch out for loose stool. Bloody stool or stool that is too hard is also a concern. If an animal ignores his or her food for three days, it’s time to call the vet. An overly smelly stool can also be an indication of gut infections and diseases.


Some animals feel attacked when they are in pain. They do not know how to fight the pain, so they become aggressive. You notice defensive hissing in cats and aggressive growling in dogs. Farm animals tend to run all over the place and kick other animals and people. They also show signs of anxiety or sadness.

Excessive Licking

An animal in pain will keep licking the affected area. You may notice obsessive licking and grooming. Sometimes, the animal chews the affected area. If the pain is in the mouth, the animal may have excessive drooling and teeth grinding. If the symptoms persist, consult a vet.

To learn more about animal pain awareness, visit R Veterinary Group at our offices in Linn Creek, Missouri. You can also call (573) 245-1027 to book an appointment today.

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