Cancer pain management (Proceedings)


Cancer pain management (Proceedings)

Aug 01, 2008

Cancer pain management was not taught in veterinary schools until the 1990's. Interest in pain management for veterinary was introduced to our profession only after the 1985 Federal Animal Welfare Law, which officially recognized that pain and distress indeed occurs in laboratory animals (Rollin 2005). Dr. Charles Short and Dr. Alan Van Posnak edited Animal Pain, one of the first veterinary books that influenced how our profession addresses animal suffering. The ravages of cancer pain destroys the immediate quality of life for the pet and this hurts the morale of the pet's loving family.(Dawkins 2005) If cancer pain is not addressed properly, the bond that holds our profession together literally suffers a dead end. Cancer pain has the power to short circuit millions of human-animal bonds. Our profession's old knee jerk utilitarian answer to management of cancer pain has been, until recently, immediate euthanasia. When a painful cancer patient is prematurely extinguished, without the benefit of adequate pain control, we have not served our patient, our client or society to the best of our ability. (De Lorimier & Fan 2005)

World Health Organization Analgesia Ladder
The International Veterinary Association of Pain Management (IVAPM) is an excellent resource for education about pain management. Many technicians belong to this organization and take advantage of the list serve discussions on line. This "blog" is maintained by Tara, a committed pain management technician at CSU in Fort Collins. Contemporary pain management in cancer patients enables the cancer patient and their distraught family to have quality of life and peace of mind. Veterinarians and staff now have the tools to recognize and understand the complexity of chronic pain syndromes and its relation to cancer pain their animal patients. It is our ethical obligation to alleviate pain. (Gaynor & Muir 2008) This CVC Proceedings paper will help technicians get an overview on cancer pain management.

What You Can Do

Pain scoring system at Colorado State University
Technicians, you can be the catalyst to alleviate untreated pain. Organize a special pain management staff meeting at your hospital. Agree to adopt pain management programs for specific procedures and conditions such as cancer. Agree to use the WHO pain management ladder for therapy and the CSU Pain Scoring System to assess patients and recognize pain.

Pain's Pathways and Mechanisms

Pain uses many pathways and mechanisms to communicate and inflict the sensations of hurt to the body. It is beyond the scope of this paper to describe the multiplicity and complexity of the painful experience; however readers are advised to delve into the recommended references below, especially, the new 2nd edition of Handbook of Veterinary Pain Management by Gaynor and Muir.

With study, every technician can understand the biology of pain and the pharmacology available to properly alleviate the emotional and physiologic harm wrought upon pains pitiful victims. It is important to know that it often takes more than one class of pain medication and often a combination "pain cocktail" to effectively and adequately control cancer pain. Combination pain protocols can bring amazing relief. (Lascalles 2003)