The question of whether animals experience neuropathic pain from these conditions or suffer from common human neuropathic
pain phenomena such as postherpetic neuralgia (e.g., cats with chronic feline herpesvirus, horses with EHV-1 myelopathy),
headache syndromes, fibromyalgia and so on remains unanswered at this time. But based on the emerging literature and the commonality
of biologic systems where the literature does not yet exist, we should be attentive to the possibility of neuropathic pain
in a much wider population of veterinary patients than previously considered.
This should not be taken as bad news, however. Once a condition or patient is suspected to have a neuropathic pain component,
a world of therapeutic targets opens up to the clinician, and the prospect of creating vast improvement in patient comfort
is very real.
Dr. Epstein is president of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management and medical director at the Total Bond Ainmal Hospital
in Gastonia, N.C.
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