From: Alison Skipper
Date: 2001-03-04 13:22:00 UTC
Subject: Re: [Ferret-Health-list] Digest Number 31
> About pain relief after spays... I ask not to give pain medication after
> spays. Even the vets said that they get way less problems with cats and bitches if
> they don't give painkillers. For example the animals are less likely to go
> ahead and take stitches out. If the animal is in a bit of pain, at least
> she will be quiet so the wound can suture. My vets don't give painkillers
> after a spay. I don't know if it's different with rabbits but ferrets are
> too active for their own good if they don't feel any pain...
> Not intended to criticise or anything, just my experience...
> Best wishes from
We didn't use painkillers for years, and the odd animal took their stitches out. Now we do, and the odd animal takes its stitches out..... As for the argument that pain means the animal will keep quiet...I used to use this argument too, but I don't think I really believe it any more. I don't think the sort of painkillers likely to be given as routine pain relief after surgery are sufficiently powerful to completely remove all sensation of pain, just to take the edge off things. Chewing yourself open would still hurt! Certainly when my own ferret, whose normal behaviour I obviously know, was recovering from her spay, with Rimadyl, she was still a little subdued and, I therefore conclude, in pain (wouldn't have been the GA making her quiet as that was isofluorane) - but I like to think I
spared her some distress with the pain relief. I spayed a very overweight Labrador on Friday (only 8 months old, so she'll be even more overweight soon). Because she was fat, the surgery was difficult and so she ended up more bruised, etc than one would like. She had a morphine derivative in her premed and Rimadyl for post-op pain relief and was still yelping with pain in the first few hours after surgery. I feel happier that at least I did what I could to minimise her discomfort after the operation. You will always get the occasional exception as Ulrike described, but on the whole it's a rare animal that disembowels itself (rabbits possibly excepted). Owners can mostly prevent violent physical exercise in the first week or two after surgery, and abdominal sutures ought normally to withstand
ordinary physical activity. I feel a lot more comfortable that I am providing the best service I can for the animals with pain relief and I shall carry on doing so. Obviously anyone who is concerned about this issue should make their views, whatever they may be, clear to their own vet, who will generally (I hope!) abide by them or explain their normal way of doing things. Depending what drugs they use, different vets may have differing experiences in this area.
Alison Skipper MRCVS, UK