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pain management

Overview of the New AAHA and AAFP Pain Management Guidelines

Multimodal Approach to Pain Management

Effective pain management is crucial to the practice of veterinary medicine, the client-doctor relationship, and the quality of life of veterinary patients. In 2015, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) expanded upon their guidelines from 2007. These guidelines emphasize a multimodal and team approach.

The guidelines help create a continuum of care that includes anticipation of pain, early intervention, and individualized evaluation of response to therapy. The authors of the AAHA/AAFP guidelines believe that effective pain management generally involves a multimodal strategy using several classes of pain-modifying medications. This approach targets multiple sites in pain pathways potentially allowing lower doses of each drug and helping to minimize side effects associated with single-drug therapy. The authors suggest the selection of medication be based on expected pain levels and the needs of the patient.1