I think that this is an important statement made by a journalist on Fox News (Talia Kirkland). She states that veterinarians concede that one of the hardest things they have to do when managing animal care is to try and figure out how much pain the patient is experiencing or even if the drug is effective. We need to remind ourselves of that unpleasant thought.
It made me think. I’m sorry to say that it made me think of declawing which causes an enormous amount of pain. It has to because it is 10 amputations carried out at the same time. They apply painkillers but don’t know how much pain the cat is experiencing. It just seems hopelessly inadequate. It is clearly one more reason, and a very good one, why if you are going to cause pain to a cat because of an operation there must be a very good reason for that operation which is not the case in 99% of declawing operations.
The statement about veterinarians not understanding how much pain their patients are experiencing comes from an article about a problem currently faced by veterinarians in America in obtaining opioid painkillers such as morphine, fentanyl and hydromorphone. The reason, as you might guess, is the opioid addiction epidemic among humans.
The American government is battling to regulate opioid use among American citizens but in the meantime it has left veterinarians, on occasion, struggling to find these painkillers for their patients.
The government are reining in the production and distribution of the amount of these drugs leading to a shortage. Obviously people have first priority and therefore the animals come second and are left short.
The head of anesthesia at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Giacomo Gianotti
“We anesthetize roughly 20 to 30 cases a day, we are one of the largest clinics in the nation and worry – will there be enough opioids?”
Second choice drugs are being administered which can be more expensive. They may also be less potent and leave the patient in pain. Hydromorphone is needed to sedate animals involved, for instance, in an accident. Cat owners may be concerned that their cat is not receiving adequate pain management.
Sedation of animal patients in diagnostic testing is more expensive leading to veterinarians making decisions which may not be in the patient’s best interest because diagnostic tests are a preventative measure allowing veterinarians to identify cancers and other illnesses before spreading.
A coalition of professional medical groups including the American Hospital Association among others have written to the US Drug Enforcement Administration informing them that the shortages are increasing the risk of medical errors and are potentially life-threatening.
The opioid crisis is a major issue for the American government. More than 2.5 million Americans are addicted to these drugs. A study indicated that their increasing use is due mainly to the increasing availability of illegal opioids. The biggest problem is among young white males. I’m going to guess and say that the growing availability of these opioids is through the Internet. If that’s true it is a another example of how the Internet has a negative impact.
Sources: Fox News and citylab.com.