Objective: To determine prevalence of pain among dogs and cats examined as outpatients at a veterinary teaching hospital and characteristics of pain in dogs and cats with evidence of pain.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Animals: 1,153 dogs and 652 cats examined as outpatients at The Ohio State University during 2002.
Procedure: A questionnaire was administered to owners of all dogs and cats. For dogs and cats with evidence of pain, the cause, signs, anatomic location, type (superficial somatic, deep somatic, or visceral), duration, and severity of the pain and the principle mechanism (inflammatory, neuropathic, both, or unknown) responsible for the pain were determined on the basis of questionnaire responses and results of physical examination. The presence of primary hyperalgesia, secondary hyperalgesia, allodynia, and hyposensitivity was recorded.
Results: 231 (20%) dogs and 92 (14%) cats had evidence of pain. Dogs with evidence of pain were significantly older and heavier than dogs without. Cats with evidence of pain were significantly older than cats without. In most dogs and cats with evidence of pain, the pain was determined to be of short duration (< 7 days), of mild or moderate severity, somatic, associated with primary hyperalgesia, and inflammatory. Analgesic drugs were frequently administered to dogs with chronic pain, but were not always considered effective.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results suggest that mild or moderate pain associated with inflammation may be seen in dogs and cats examined as outpatients. Older, heavier dogs and older cats were more likely to have evidence of pain.