DIAGNOSING PAIN IN JRTs


When we humans experience pain it can pretty obvious to diagnose.  We tell other what is hurting us, we limp if we have a bad leg, and if we are having a massive headache we are prone to laying down and sleeping it off.


JRT’s are much like infants.  They indicate pain by vocalizing through various sounds.  Also, they will tell you in their body language when there is a problem, you just have to know how to read them and what to look for. 
Because JRT’s have such active and outgoing personalities, there are times when they will cause harm that will produce their pain or discomfort.  However, there are also times when their pain can be caused by a more underlying issue.  It is times like this that we need to stay vigilante, so that to make sure that the proper treatment is given to prevent any suffering or long term damage.


When diagnosing pain in your JRT, there are a few signs and symptoms, some very subtle that you can keep an eye out for if you suspect your JRT is just not feeling top notch.


Excessive Vocalizations

If your JRT is not typically a whiner or a whimperer, and this particular behavior begins, then chances are good that they are experiencing some type of pain or discomfort.  JRT’s whine for two reasons—excitement or pain/discomfort.  It would be very obvious, if your companion is whining, which of these too scenarios are in play. 


Constant Localized Grooming

When a JRT is experiencing discomfort, for example from joint pain, they will constantly lick the area affected, in an attempt to soothe the pain away.  This is instinctive in all canines, as they are cleaning and caring for the wound in their minds.  If your JRT’s is licking a specific area, and not wound is visible, then the problem is an internal one, and they again are trying to clean and soothe the pain away.  If you notice this constant grooming to a specific area, make sure to have your veterinarian check it out.


Differences in Eating, Drinking, and Sleeping  

Most times with JRT’s when their eating and drinking habits change, we are naturally concerned.  However when their sleeping habits change, we write that off to them being lazy.  If your JRT is exhibiting signs of lethargy, basically sleepiness, and it is not part of their normal routine, then there may be cause for concern.


Altered Breathing

Panting when they have not been exercising is a signal from your JRT that something is causing either pain or distress.  As your companion’s owner, you will have to learn to distinguish between your JRT panting when it is hot, panting after exertion, and panting as a signal of another underlying cause.  Also, short shallow breaths that are not involved in panting are causes for concern as well, as your JRT may be telling you that it is hurting them to breath.


Changes in Eyes

When a JRT is experiencing eye pain, they will tend to squint.  Also their pupils will contract and get smaller.  The opposite is true when there is pain in another part of the body.  Your JRT’s pupils will enlarge, and they will look wide and wild eyed--almost to the point of looking like they are scared


Difficulty Resting

Many times, when a JRT’s sleeping habits change, we write that off to having too much energy at bedtime and needing to just calm down.  That may very well not be the case.  It is quite possible that your JRT is experiencing discomfort, or even pain, to the extent that sitting or lying down may be making the situation worse.  With some JRT’s, constant movement and not being able to rest is a sign of something to be concerned with.


Withdrawing or Seeking Affection

In nature, when a canine becomes ill, it is instinct for them to go off by themselves.  This may be true of JRT when they are experiencing pain.  They will go off, away from you, and in some cases even hide.  They want a quiet place to try to rest and heal.  Still others will demand all your attention wanting to be held and loved on and reassured all will be well.


Aggressive Behaviors


  When your JRT is experiencing pain, they are simultaneously experiencing a level of fear.  When you do what you know is trying to help them, they only know the fear of the pain being worse.  So your normally sweet, docile JRT will begin to growl, pin their ears back, and even lunge in an attempt to bite you, warning you off.  This is instinct for them, not a reflection on you, and you should to take it as anything other than that. 


A handy tool to keep bookmarked is the symptom checker at PetMD. You simply put in that you are checking for a canine, input the symptoms, and possible causes are returned.  This will give you a better idea of what your JRT may be dealing with, and how you may want to proceed. 


The one thing to remember is to not try to diagnose the underlying cause of pain in your JRT yourself.  If you notice unusual behaviors, symptoms or actions, then get your companion to the veterinarian.  Do not wait and let the condition worsen, causing your JRT any unnecessary extra duress, and compound the already stressful situation for them.    

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