This post is sponsored by Assisi Animal Health
Cats are masters at masking pain. Their ability to hide pain goes back to their wild origins. In the wild, a sick animal becomes prey. While acute pain may be fairly obvious to cat guardians, it may be more difficult to discern whether your cat is in pain when it comes to chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis. Sadly, even veterinarians often overlook signs of feline pain.
I am excited to introduce a new website to you today: painfreecats.org. A year in the making, the site is a product of the North Carolina State University (NCSU) College of Veterinary Medicine’s Comparative Pain Research and Education Center and the Integrated Pain Management Service, both under the direction of Dr. Duncan Lascelles, and Assisi Animal Health, the makers of the Assisi Loop.
The mission of the website is to provide cat parents and veterinarians with education and research material to assist in diagnosing and treating pain in cats. Almost 50% of the 80 million cats in the United States suffer from chronic and debilitating pain, yet only a small percentage of these cats have been properly diagnosed and are under a vet’s care. Arthritis is a prime example of this disturbing statistic: As many as 3 in 10 cats suffer from this debilitating condition, but only 7% of cats with arthritis receive treatment.
The Feline Musculoskeletal Pain Index (FMPI)
Painfreecats.org developed the Feline Musculoskeletal Pain Index (FMPI) to assist with diagnosing pain, physical function and quality of life. The FMPI is the only clinically validated instrument for diagnosing and monitoring feline chronic pain arising from degenerative joint disorders. The FMPI is easy to use: simply answer the 21 questions, and you will receive a score for your cat. This important tool can be used by cat parents and veterinarians.
In a perfect world, every cat would arrive at the vet appointment with an FMPI filled out online, and then printed out for discussion with the vet. The painfreecats.org site can also be accessed right in the vet’s waiting room, via any number of devices, including your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Statistics from completed FMPI’s will be tracked and analyzed at the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
Improving cats’ lives
I’m excited about painfreecats.org. There is no doubt in my mind that this will make a significant difference in how veterinarians and cat parents think about pain in cats. “We think old cats slow down, but really, most old cats are probably ‘ouchy’ somewhere, “says Dr. Andrea Tasi, a holistic veterinarian and owner of Just Cats Naturally. “If ANY cat is editing its behavior, pain has to be on the list of things to consider.” A tool like the FMPI, while not a substitute for a thorough veterinary exam, can help vets and cat parents zero in on areas of concern early and address pain before it affects the cat’s quality of life.
For more information and to take the FMPI, visit painfreecats.org.
*FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, which means that I was compensated to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will only see products or services featured on this site that I believe are of interest to our readers.