Sunday, October 18, 2015

Harvster: How'm I supposed to know?

"What are you doing back there? Let go of my leg!"
So every day now I'm taking Harv's pulse. In one sense it's a good exercise, and I am at a point now where I know his beat so well I don't need to use a stopwatch. Harv prefers I take his pulse at his knee rather than at the jaw -- too constraining.

  Why the pulse obsession? 
When Harv had laminitis over Labor Day weekend, he appeared perfectly calm, quiet, and content. He ate his feed, he munched hay; he was bright, alert, responsive, but mellow.  Because he seemed to be comfortable, I thought his odd stance and refusal to walk was neurological. The vet, however, was smarter. She took his pulse, and finding it was 55 bpm rather than the 30-40 bpm that is normal. He was in pain.

Take home message
Those of you with cats, dogs, and horses, do not put too much stock in a calm demeanor when they have an illness.  Animals are exceptional at hiding their pain. Harvey was, and I think our cats are too. By the time they are showing clear signs of pain, it is more than likely CODE RED. 

I'm kind of a one-trick-pony now with my new take-the-pulse tool. Do you all have other methods for assessing your pets' pain?

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