A pain score is considered the fourth vital sign of a patient evaluation after temperature, pulse, and respiration rate,1 and pain should be assessed at each veterinary visit. Behavior observations are the most accurate method of pain evaluation,1 but because veterinary patients are nonverbal and may not behave the same way in the practice as they do at home,2 the veterinary team will need to rely on the client’s history and focus questions on behavior changes to recognize and assess pain.
Many clients do not realize their pet’s behavior changes are linked to pain. (See Common Painful Conditions.) Following are the top 5 signs that may indicate a patient is suffering from chronic pain.