Pets experience pain like we do — they just don’t show it

Veterinarian Lee Pickett writes that dogs and cats have the same kind of central nervous system that humans have and feel pain in the same way we do but are programmed to hide it. Any condition that would cause pain in a human should be evaluated by a veterinarian when it occurs in a pet, even if the animal is not showing obvious signs of pain, she adds. Dr. Pickett also addresses colitis symptoms, causes and treatment in this article. Reading Eagle Press (Pa.) (8/31)

Dear Christopher Cat: During Misty’s recent exam, her veterinarian showed me that her teeth are covered with tartar and her gums are swollen and red. They look painful, but she doesn’t rub her mouth, drop food or cry while she’s chewing. Do cats not feel pain the way we humans do?
Christopher responds:
Research has shown that cats and dogs have the same type of nervous system humans have and feel pain the same way.
The difference is that we pets don’t show pain the way you humans do.
Humans learn early that if they cry, a loving parent will sooth the hurt.
In contrast, our feline brains are programmed to hide distress, lest a predator see us as weak and therefore easy to kill.
Not only do we hide our pain, but we continue eating, because if we don’t, we know we’ll die of starvation.
So if Misty develops a condition that would cause you pain, assume it’s hurting her. If it would prompt you to see your doctor, take her to her veterinarian.
In this case, a professional dental cleaning and treatment will not only help Misty feel better but also improve her health.


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