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Puppy Prozac to help stressed pets

April 25, 2007 permalink

Eli Lilly is now promoting Prozac for depressed dogs.



Puppy Prozac to help stressed pets

If your doberman is a little down in the mouth or your poodle a bit peaky, help is at hand from the makers of Prozac who have developed the drug for dogs, with the canine version coming in chewable form and tasty beef flavour.

A worried  dog;  Puppy Prozac to  help stressed pets
It's a dog's life. The canine anti- depressant is called Reconcile

The anti-depressant is being launched to the pet market by drug company Eli Lilly to treat dogs which bark incessantly or chew furniture when left alone.

The reformulated form of Prozac, or as it is called generically fluoxetine, will be marketed under the name Reconcile. It is the first drug to be marketed by a new division of Eli Lilly, which is to be devoted entirely to pet pharmaceuticals.

Clinical trials showed that the drug significantly reduced the symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs, which is estimated to affect between 10 to 20 per cent of domestic dogs.

The symptoms include the dog going berserk, barking, howling, ripping up carpets and destroying furniture and incessant scratching at the door to get out. Several complementary products targeted at the sufferers of the condition are already on the market.

But Dr Roger Mugford, a leading animal psychologist, said vets were not keen on the development of drugs to treat animal behaviour, a view expressed at a recent meeting in Birmingham of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.

"A number of speakers, including me, were all of one mind that pharmacological help with any anti-depressant or mood modifying drugs diminishes the better you are at your behavioural management," he said.

"The more skilful you are at behaviour modification, at getting the animal husbandry right - diet, exercise, lifestyle and so on, the less the need for drugs."

Dr Mugford said there were also concerns that Prozac had some unpleasant side effects in humans, which could suggest that some dogs might become aggressive when taking it.

"Why do we need these things? It is so easy to modify the behaviour of dogs by good management techniques. We call it behavioural husbandry," he said.

The company is also planning to develop other drugs for the pet market, in particular some slimming products which failed to pass trials for use in people.

"If Eli Lilly want to dust off old patents on products that were not suitable for humans, I doubt that it would work," added Dr Mugford, who runs the Animal Behaviour Centre at Chertsey, Surrey.

Source: website of the Daily Telegraph