Interventional Pain Management with Michael Tomasic, VMD, DACVAA
Dr. Tomasic is a board certified specialist in anesthesiology with 15 years experience in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain problems in animals.
Our animals can bring pleasure into our lives, be our close companions, as well as be a source of pride and satisfaction. When their physical or social behavior changes we naturally become concerned for their well-being. Whether one is trying to treat a disease process, such as infection or cancer, or some more vague issue like “just a little off”, the key to getting these problems under control is in discovering the cause(s) and starting a therapy program tailored to treating that cause in that particular patient.
Pain problems in animals always have a cause, be it injury to muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage, bone or other tissues. It should be recognized that our animals instinctively protect themselves [from predators or from loss of pack-status] and are very good at hiding painful conditions so as not to appear weak and vulnerable. As a result, it’s not unusual for these problems to progress unnoticed until the animal can no longer effectively mask it.
The focus of good pain management is the diagnosis of the underlying cause of discomfort. It is not unusual radiographs, bloodwork, and other routine veterinary diagnostics, to be unremarkable. which often lead to inconclusive diagnoses of underlying conditions. Expertise in musculoskeletal function, anatomy, movement analysis, as well as in physical examination are essential in the proper identification of the causes of pain.
What to Expect from an appointment
The initial consultation may take and hour or more and generally consists of the following:
- Discussion of the problem, previous medical findings, current treatments (including any dietary supplements).
- Observation of behavior, posture and movement.
- Provocative manual examination to identify location of painful areas.
- Discussion of findings and what they mean with regard to probable cause(s) of discomfort.
Treatment recommendations may include:
- Interventional pain therapy (e.g. prolotherapy, epidural injection, active trigger point injection, hyaluronic acid injection)
- Diet and exercise modifications
- Physical therapy & rehabilitation
- Referral to surgery, neurology or internal medicine specialists