Summary of Feline Pain Assessment
In cats, assessment of acute pain should rely on a combination of palpation and pain assessment tools, such as the Feline Grimace Scale. Conversely, assessment of chronic pain depends on owner input to a much greater extent. This requires us to collaborate with owners to identify behaviors associated with chronic pain and to then observe and monitor those behaviors using tools developed for specific conditions and overall quality-of-life tools as they are developed.
Veterinarians need to recognize the power of our observations throughout a clinic visit in the assessment of cats, particularly for chronic musculoskeletal pain, and need to keep in mind that the absence of changes on imaging does not mean an absence of pain.