Pain & Poor Performance

Your animal may only give you very subtle signs that he/she is in any sort of pain as they will attempt to cover it up by compensating in other areas.  They do this due to their natural instincts from when they lived in the wild, do not show you are the weakest or you will be singled out by predators.  Although this instinct kept them alive in the wild, in the modern day domesticated animal, it in turn causes further issues else where in the body and makes it very difficult, in some cases, for us to tell there is a problem until it is causing a huge problem. It is therefore really important that you are able to pick up on these first subtle hints as soon as they arise, and get them treated to avoid the compensatory mechanisms.  Below are some signs in horses, dogs and cats that can indicate a problem, if you notice any of these develop with rapid onset or gradually over time call us for an appointment.  Please do not simply think that just because your animal has always behaved in a certain way, or has never been able to execute a manoeuvre correctly that he/she is fine, chances are they do this as they have always been in pain.  Keeping up to date with regular 6 monthly check ups will also help to pick up on early issues before they develop into something larger.

Signs  in horses:

  • General tactile defensiveness
  • Agitation whilst being tacked up
  • ‘Cold backed’
  • Unwillingness to move forward
  • Refusing jumps or dropping poles or jumping fast and flat
  • Unable to back up
  • Not tracking up
  • Working with quarters in or out
  • Unable to execute lateral work
  • Changing canter leads behind
  • Not striking off in correct canter lead
  • Unwilling/unable to work up or down inclines or hills
  • Intermittent lameness
  • Difficulty to work on the bit, or on a circle and
  • Hollowing
  • Aggression e.g., bucking, rearing, kicking or biting

Signs in dogs and cats include:

  • Limping, lameness or not distributing weight on all 4 limbs
  • Difficulty jumping/getting up or down e.g. from sofa, stairs, into/out of car
  • Difficulty climbing (Cats)
  • Reduction in speed
  • Aggression
  • Obvious painful areas when stroking
  • Reluctance to play or unhappiness

agility dog