More than two-thirds of older cats display signs of chronic pain – but just a fifth of owners take them for an old-age check-up, according to survey results.

More than two-thirds of older cats display signs of chronic pain – but just a fifth of owners take them for an old-age check-up, according to survey results.

Many older cats a displaying signs of chronic pain owners aren't acting on.Research has been conducted for Boehringer Ingelheim and the Feline Advisory Bureau (FAB), which have joined forces to launch an awareness campaign – called “Spot the Signs” – to help owners recognise chronic feline pain, particularly in older cats that may be suffering musculoskeletal problems.
 
The campaign includes materials for practices, a dedicated website and a media strategy fronted by Postman Pat’s black and white cat, Jess.

“Despite cats living longer than ever before and a steady increase in the number of cases of arthritis and chronic pain in cats being diagnosed, our research shows awareness among owners of how to look for pain in cats remains surprisingly low,” said Claire Fowler, business head of small animals at Boehringer Ingelheim.
 
As well as a survey of 3,000 owners, Boehringer and FAB polled 77 veterinary surgeons.
The vast majority of owners (93 per cent) said they would feel guilty if their cat was in pain and they had not noticed. However, nearly all practitioners (99 per cent) believe chronic pain is going unnoticed.

When shown a list of long-term pain indicators, 65 per cent of owners said they recognised at least one sign in their own cat.

Miss Fowler said vets and VNs were key to educating owners about the importance of monitoring a cat’s routine and spotting chronic pain signals, especially as older or arthritic cats were presented for other reasons.

Feline expert and FAB veterinary advisor Andy Sparkes said it was important to run media awareness campaigns like “Spot the Signs”, because many owners do not take their cat to a vet until a problem is suspected.

He said chronic feline pain was an ongoing issue for the veterinary profession, but that practitioners were getting much better at identifying pain as more research was conducted.

“Having an index of suspicion and not ignoring subtle or mild clinical and behavioural signs is really important. If there is doubt about the presence of pain, whatever the underlying cause may be, trial therapy with an appropriate analgesic should always be a strong consideration.”

Click here for more about”Spot the Signs”.

 

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