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.
Thankfully, now there’s a simple tool that can help you and your veterinarian assess whether you cat is in pain.
Painfreecats.org 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.
Resources for pain free cats
In addition to the FMPI, painfreecats.org offers a wealth of information for cat parents including articles about the history of cats, feline behavior, feline musculoskeletal disease and pain, how pain in cats is diagnosed and treated, and much much more.
Take the FMPI to your next vet appointment
Before you take your cat for her next scheduled check up, complete the FMPI and take the results with you even if you don’t think your cat is in pain. It will give you and your vet a baseline of what you are seeing every day in your home.
Help other cats stay pain free, too
Since FPMI statistics are shared with the researchers at NC State, completing the FMPI not only helps your cat, it also helps all cats as the information will be used to continue to work on finding reliable and safe methods to manage pain in cats.
For more information and to complete the FMPI, please 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.
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.
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