Prozac for Pets

August 16, 2011
Print This Post Print This Post

prozac dogNow Fido can have the same violent and psychotic breaks from SSRIs as humans. Please support our new Citizen Petition to the FDA!

The FDA has approved a reformulated version of the much-prescribed SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) Prozac, but this one is just for dogs. Reconcile was created to treat canine separation anxiety. It is a once-daily, chewable, dog-treat-flavored drug that is supposed to be used “in conjunction with a behavior modification plan.”

Reconcile’s full product label, which by law includes complete safety information, does not contain the black box warning that is mandatory on the drug for humans. Of course, that black box notice merely warns of increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults. The label doesn’t make any mention of the documented connection between antidepressants and violence towards others, nor the drug’s propensity for causing mania, or increased feelings of hostility or anxiety in humans. Withdrawal from SSRIs can be similarly dangerous, ranging from nausea to suicidal ideations.

Given the tremendous risk of humans having a psychotic break when they take Prozac, what are the risks associated with animal use? No one knows—certainly not the FDA, which approved it. What if the dogs turn inexplicably violent? What if the breed is naturally aggressive (which would include the very breeds most prone to canine separation disorder)—will the drug heighten the aggression?

ANH-USA is submitting a Citizen Petition to the FDA to ask that information be added to the black box warning label for humans about the increased risk of violence from SSRIs, and to create a similar black box warning label for Reconcile for dogs as well.

A recent high-profile article in the New York Review of Books (links: part 1 and part 2) discusses the symbiotic relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatrists to push antidepressants. Some of the revelations:

  • Many psychiatric drugs were created first, and then psychological abnormalities were postulated to fit the drug (not the other way around as is usually the case).
  • The evidence that these drugs actually work is decidedly mixed, especially in the long term. Pharmaceutical companies have to provide the FDA with two clinical trials to prove efficacy of the drugs—and usually these successful trials are widely published. However, they never publish—and never make public—all the trials that were outright failures.
  • Many pharmaceutical companies have close links with both the FDA (as we have reported in these pages many times before) as well as the medical industry.

Antidepressants, whether for humans or for pets, is a massive industry. According to the CDC, antidepressants are now among the top three classes of human medications prescribed in the US.

In fact, antidepressants are being increasingly prescribed for people who have never been diagnosed with any actual psychiatric disorder, according to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs. Nearly three-quarters of prescriptions written for antidepressants in 2007 came from non-psychiatrists, up from 60 percent a decade earlier. The percentage of patients prescribed antidepressants without having been formally diagnosed with a mental health condition more than doubled during that period—up from 2.5 to more than 6 percent of visits to non-psychiatrist providers.

Sometimes the antidepressant is just one ingredient in a combination pill; the patient may never even know what he or she is getting. An example of this, which we recently criticized, was the proposed diet pill Contrave—a drug the FDA has at least temporarily rejected. How many people wanting to lose weight would know that they are getting onto a highly addictive antidepressant?

Pushing drugs on animals is driven by the same profit incentive that we see with humans. Americans will spend over $50.8 billion on pet products and services this year. It is the fastest growing retail segment in our economy. As the New York Times noted:

Surveys by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association found that 77 percent of dog owners and 52 percent of cat owners gave their animals some sort of medication in 2006, both up at least 25 percentage points from 2004. Sales of drugs for pets recently surpassed those for farm animals. Eli Lilly created its “companion animal” division at the beginning of 2007 and over the next three years hopes to release several other drugs. Pfizer, whose companion animal revenues have grown 57 percent since 2003 to nearly $1 billion, hopes to develop medications for pain, cancer and behavioral issues.

The FDA has approved other drugs for dogs as well: Slentrol is the country’s first canine anti-obesity medication, and Anipryl treats cognitive dysfunction so that absentminded pets can remember the location of the supper bowl or doggie door.

There is also the burgeoning market of chemotherapy for dogs. But in our desperation to save our beloved companion animals’ lives, we may well forget how incredibly dangerous chemotherapy can be for humans; it often does more harm than good. It is surely no less toxic to animals.

When Medicare reduced reimbursements for oncologists in 2003, some physicians started giving their patients more expensive chemotherapy drugs. Keep in mind also that oncologists are not only permitted to prescribe specific chemotherapy drugs to their patients; they may then sell those same drugs to them—at a huge profit. Other doctors may not sell drugs, but oncologists can. Will chemo for dogs become a huge new profit center too—without making the dogs live longer or better in any way?

As Shirley Moore, director of Save a Dog of Sudbury, Massachusetts, told us, “I’m not surprised that the pet-loving population is not warned about Prozac. I just took a call from a woman last week whose dog was biting the kids and of course, the dog was on Prozac and she was told nothing about the side effects. She wanted to turn the dog over to the humane society, but I had to tell her that we can’t take dogs who are on Prozac because you can’t get them off of it. It’s designed to keep you coming back for more, just like all the other pharmaceuticals foisted on the pet owners.”

There is disagreement and dissent within the veterinary community over a number of such medications. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s annual convention in New Orleans, attended by more than 10,000 of the country’s leading vets, saw a heated debate about the doggie antidepressants Clomicalm and Reconcile, and Slentrol, the world’s first canine anti-obesity pill.

The veterinarian at Eli Lilly, the company that makes Reconcile, says, “Behavior modification by itself works. There’s not any question about that. But if you use behavior modification in conjunction with Reconcile, it works quicker and it works better.” Yet Eli Lilly’s own study showed that short-term side effects include lethargy, depression, and loss of appetite. Is that an example of “working better”?

It is easy to start antidepressant medications. But as with any highly addictive substance, it can be difficult to impossible to get off them.

Please write to the US Food and Drug Administration today in support of our Citizen Petition to put Black Box Warnings on all SSRI drugs—whether for humans or for dogs—that warn of the link between antidepressants and sudden violent behavior.

TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO THE FDA

Click THIS LINK to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.

We’d also love to hear your comments about this article—just add your thoughts below—but remember that the messages below are only seen by our ANH-USA readers and not the FDA, Congress etc.

53 Responses to “Prozac for Pets”

  1. eve says:

    I have not had time to read most of the comments but I will add this for anyone who does have time to read mine. I am a 50 yr old woman. I’ve had dogs all my life. I was born into a family where the dog was another child, my sister among my brothers and sisters. Animals are treated with the utmost respect in my world. Not as people, but for some, it may seem that way. I suffer clinical depression and have been on several different SSRI’s. My dog that died at 14.5 in Oct 2010 was certainly a contributor to my wellbeing. He was the lite of my life (I always say). Now I have another dog of the same breed who is a wonderfully happy sweet young dog, AND, a mini poodle who my husband & I rescued shortly after the “lite of my life” died in Oct 2010.
    He is the topic of this post.
    He came to us at 7 yrs old. We were the 8th home he’d been placed in. We learned he was originally brought to NY from Russia and she decided to get herself a smaller pocket dog and dumped our boy with the neighbor, which started his journey of pain to end with us.
    He is SOOOOO cute! Just the cutest Red Mini Poodle you’ll ever see. Long legs, rich color and just the most scrumptious face. However, he is completely obsessive-compulsive, needy with great anxiety about many things especially surrounding separation. it was difficult really hard but we did all the work necessary even training with a behaviorist. how many times did he bite my husband….too many. Then in the summer of 2011 (we took him home last week of 2010), he bit my sister and her 15 yr old daughter. our Vet didn’t want to try Prozac so she put him on Composure, but then he bit my husband a few times more. Then, Thanksgiving 2011, he viciously and for no reason bit my 13 yr old niece. THEN…..summer 2012 my parents took care of our dogs and he bit my 80 yr old father a few times and took comfort constantly with my mother. he loves to be taken care of by one woman. OK, so.. finally in Aug 2012, he bit my friend who came to walk him who he normally loves. When she called to tell me that he bit HER, I called my Vet and said.. “no discussion, rite the prescription of he gets put down!”. While waiting for the prescription, I did a really dumb thing and tried to take away a toy while he was having an aggressive moment and taking it out on the 60 pound dog which upset me (seeing that when his 18 pounds gets crazy like that it’s intense and scares us all), he went bezerk on me and tore into my hand…

       0 likes

  2. finches says:

    hey there and thank you for your info ? I have definitely picked up something new from proper here. I did however expertise several technical points the use of this web site, since I skilled to reload the web site many instances prior to I may just get it to load properly. I were brooding about in case your web hosting is OK? Now not that I’m complaining, but slow loading circumstances instances will very frequently impact your placement in google and could harm your quality ranking if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m including this RSS to my email and can glance out for much extra of your respective interesting content. Ensure that you replace this again soon..

       0 likes

  3. Marci says:

    My senator replied:
    As you may know, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements, among other products. S. 1310, the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011, would amend FDA labeling and registration requirements for manufacturers of dietary supplements. S. 1310 also would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to evaluate the safety of dietary supplement ingredients and blends that could potentially cause serious adverse events, drug interactions, or pose health risks to children and pregnant women.

    Senator Richard Durbin (IL) introduced S. 1310 on June 30, 2011. Upon introduction, S. 1310 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, where no further action has occurred. I will keep your thoughts in mind should S. 1310 or related legislation come before the Senate for a vote.

    I wrote back that these powers already exist within the FDA…..

       0 likes

  4. rita Butler says:

    As a devotee of the Dog Whisperer – Cesar Milan, I would hope that people would try his methods before drugging up their dog. Since, dogs are pack animals they expect their humans to be the leader of the pack by providing calm, assertive energy. If the humans fail in this responsibility the dog feels he must become the leader. This creates all sorts of neurosis, since dogs do not really understand our world. Along with calm assertive energy the humans need to give their dogs lots of exercise, discipline (not punishment) and love. Of course, all of this takes time and commitment and for many people it is easier to just hand their dog a pill.

    As we have seen from the responses here there may be a rare case when a drug is a good option for people or animals but if should used only after every other option has been tried and worked with and not because a person is too lazy to walk their dog or eat healthy meals.

       0 likes

  5. valerie says:

    “No one knows the risks associated with animal use”??? Let’s not forget Charla Nash that was violently attacked and her face and hands ripped off by her friends chimpanzee – right after the chimpanzee was given anti depressants by it’s owner.

       0 likes

  6. cynthia says:

    We drug our pets same as we drug our children instead of exercising them, getting them outside as we should. Horrible. There is really no excuse

       0 likes

  7. Rose A. Herman says:

    Giving Prozac for pets is totally, totally outrageous. It is not only dangerous and bad for humans, but for pets as well. It should be taken off the market, regardless of whether the FDA approved it.

       0 likes

  8. Diane Baskette says:

    For man or beast all drugs have side effects and we have a right to know what they are.

       0 likes

  9. Kris Azzarello says:

    I am writing to add my voice to the request that your agency issue expanded black box warnings on SSRI antidepressants — both those prescribed to humans, and those versions for animals — to warn the public about a documented increased risk of violence against others.

    Your own Adverse Event Reporting system shows that antidepressants as a class are responsible for most FDA case reports of violence against others; five of the top ten drugs responsible for violent behavior were SSRIs.

    Warnings about the risk of antidepressant drug-induced violence towards others have been in place in Canada since 2004. The American public needs to be warned about this risk as well.

    Moreover, given the documented risk in humans who take SSRIs, what are the risks associated with animal use? No one knows — certainly not the FDA, which approved it. What if the dogs turn inexplicably violent? What if the breed is naturally aggressive (which would include the very breeds most prone to canine separation disorder) — will the drug heighten the aggression?

    Please make sure a similar expanded black box warning about violence against others is also placed on Reconcile (the version of Prozac created for dogs) and any other SSRIs marketed for pets.

       1 likes

  10. Katie Mickey says:

    Giving prozac to animals as well as humans is detestable to me. I request that you inform dog owners of the side affects associated with this drug. I request that more testing be done to insure the safety of this drug on animals, to be sure it does not induce violent behavior among animnals.
    Katie Mickey

       0 likes

  11. ursela rabe says:

    This is terrible. The poor dog does not even have a choice. Nobody will know whether he/she is depressed or not. It could drive the poor thing crazy and to attack humans or animals. And then it’s euthanasia for the dog…. what on earth are they thinking. I know what they are thinking: it makes money for the drug companies!

       0 likes

  12. Susan lieber says:

    Really ,do we need even more ways to harm our pets and pollute our water supply ?!

       0 likes

  13. Christine De Pizan says:

    Absolutely ridiculous. Why risk coming home to Cujo. I guess the same people who pop pills because it’s easier than getting to the cause of their problem, are the same people who would give it to their dog..Vets can be shrills for pharmaceutical companies, too.

       0 likes

    • Julimar says:

      I hope you are talking about people who recur to drugs unnecessarily. Some of us do need them because of chemical imbalances. I have to take antidepressants, not to cure my depression, but because it helps manage my symptoms. Medication is supposed to help, not cure anything. In my case, medication helped me think more clearly and I did the rest.

         1 likes

  14. Meighan says:

    In the above article, chemotherapy is mentioned in a negative way. I would suggest before publishing material such as this the authors should obtain more information from a veterinary oncologist about the use of chemotherapy in our canine patients. Chemotherapy in dogs rarely causes negative effects, most dogs tolerate treatment with little to no side effects.

       1 likes

  15. Shirley Moore says:

    I’m not surprised that the pet-loving population is not warned about Prozac. I just took a call from a woman last week whose dog was biting the kids and of course, the dog was on Prozac and she was told nothing about the side effects. She wanted to turn the dog over to the humane society, but I had to tell her that we can’t take dogs who are on Prozac because you can’t get them off of it. It’s designed to keep you coming back for more just like all the other pharmaceuticals foisted on the pet owners. Shirley Moore, Humane Society Director

       0 likes

  16. The pharmaceutical companies have run out of beings to poison and now they turn to our pets? Only if we stay stupid and keep buying into this insane mentality. Please wake up and get real… feed your pets whole food, let them be outside and not chained up, spend time loving them up and getting them exercise…. ask your doctor if getting out to play is right for you!

       0 likes

  17. Robert Cruder says:

    Please talk to veterinarians before making such blanket statements. There is far less direct-to-market advertising for veterinary drugs. In my experience managing a practice I found the direct-to-vet marketing was limited to mailings and to quarterly in-service-training seminars. No vet that I know would prescribe a drug just to make a dollar. Vets really do want to do right by their patients and it is difficult enough to justify the cost of antibiotics and pain-killers.

    Dogs and cats do become obese and it may not be possible to individually manage food intake in a multi-animal household. The veterinarian cannot change the pet owner’s lifestyle but welcomes any pharmaceutical that might improve the animal’s condition. We have not found drugs to be effective but would not presume that they never will be effective.

    Dogs primarily but occasionally cats can become obsessive/compulsive. They may groom to the point of ulcerating their skin. They may cry when their humans are away or destroy furniture until the only practical option becomes euthenasia. While many of these animals can be helped by an animal behaviorist, many others have ingrained behaviors that must be tempered by drugs such as SSRIs before the behaviorist can even start with them.

    The saddest ones are the dogs and cats with age-related dementias. An animal who walks into a corner and can’t determine how to get out of it will cry and will often be found hours later sitting in its own waste. We will purchase palliatives well knowing that they are not cures and well-knowing that there is no cure. Just as with human loved ones, we do what we can to maximize the good times and minimize the bad.

    Humans have choices and can mount their own defense against philosophical or idealogical attacks. Animals cannot. If an owner must choose between a pharmaceutical and euthenasia, that is that owner’s decision, not yours.

       3 likes

  18. John Catherine says:

    When does the insanity end? And, the worst of it is, too many gullible fools will give it to their innocent pets!

       0 likes

  19. Lisa says:

    I’m not one for using prescription drugs unless necessary. In the case of Prozac for pets, I must tell you a success story. We have a male cat that is now on Prozac due to his urinating on everything and everywhere. It got uncontrollable after our daughter was born. After we EXHAUSTED all other means to correct his behavior (changing litter frequently, changing brands, adding stuff to naturally attract and calm him, moving the litter box, not doing certain noisy activities at certain times, standing on our heads, etc.), we took him to the vet to make sure he didn’t have an infection that was causing this. Because he could not become an outdoor cat due to his personality (very shy and skittish and would only come out of hiding at night), the only painful option, we thought, was to put him down (we tried to find him a home. But who wants a cat that pees everywhere?). We were literally crying in the vet’s office because we thought we had to say good-bye to our cat. Then the vet told us about the Prozac option. It has been the BEST thing that ever happened to this cat… and us. He not only does not pee where he is not supposed to, but he comes out of hiding and is very friendly and “happy!” The Prozac literally saved his life, saved our home from urine damage, and eliminated our frustration with having a cat pee everywhere. Granted, this is a CAT, and not a dog. But I figured it is a related pet story.

       1 likes

    • jean says:

      Someday you’ll feel like a fool for writing this.

         0 likes

      • Paula says:

        Jean – you should already feel like a fool for your inane comment. This thread is old and she probably didn’t read your comment, hopefully. But I’ll respond to you in case you ever read this – how smug are you to make such judgments behind your computer without even knowing this person or the situation she faced? She tried everything – and death was the alternative! Instead, the Prozac helped him – it appears it is working positively. So you would rather have a cat put down instead of trying an antidepressant that may or may not provide him relief. In this case, it did relieve the situation – and he is alive b/c of it. Your ridiculous blanket view of all antidepressants being bad is typical for blind idealists – it’s not ideal, but here, the Prozac saved this cat’s life, literally. Who’s the fool now? YOU!

           0 likes

  20. Jeanna Stephen says:

    I would not give Reconcile to my dog or any animal. This drug should not be approved or prescribed.

       0 likes

  21. No proven good has become of giving animals “prozac” and the like, I have cats that the Vet. put on these type of meds, my cat fell behind a bookcase and lost its hunger for food. I took her off and decided to let her be, warts and all and she is just fine now. To promote these drugs for animals that are researched and given to humans is just what it should be, for humans !

       0 likes

    • eve says:

      it’s frustrating to see someone write something with such conviction when you are scientifically incorrect. research HAS been done, by people, like myself who HAS their dog on Prozac and it IS WORKING!! In our case, we exhausted everything, from training, a behaviorist, Veterinarians, etc. Thank goodness my family members who were bit by our dog were kind enough not to report him (though they don;t really like him too much after he missed a main artery on my 13 yr old niece when he bit her for no reason what so ever) because on Prozac he is sweet and loving. He is the dog HE Wants to be. Loving and happy. not spontaneously angry and anxious.
      Please note that your blanket statements is an opinion, not a fact. There IS PROOF. We have it here.
      PROZAC SAVED MY DOGS LIFE AND THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE HIM.

         1 likes

  22. What a world we have created!!!! The greed knows no bounds….we watch our beloved pets getting pumped full of “pills” to make them well….all the while we continue feeding them poisons (kibble, tap water, toxic environment, vaccinations) and wonder why our pets are getting sicker with each new generation coming in. The pills won’t fix anything and WILL do tons of harm to these, already, sick animals. Stop the madness and start feeding your animals according to the laws of nature (clean, real food and water)…that’s how you cure AND save your pocketbook from being drained at the vets’ office! Vets are getting richer while people are accruing more and more debt without satisfactory returns on their investments!

    In good health,

    Demetra Vagias MD, ND

       1 likes

  23. George says:

    Wasn’t the chimpanzee that mauled Charlotte Nash on antidepressants?

       0 likes

  24. Lou says:

    Actually giving toxic drugs to our pets highlights the AWFUL problem we as a society have with “pharm drugs”. Somehow the public has been sold on the idea that a toxic drug can be an answer to a chronic problem. A little thought clearly shows this can NEVER be the case. Correctly used drugs, except for perhaps end of life conditions, MUST be used short term; even with EOL conditions the drugs will be used short term.

    So how do rational people ingest a substance that will in all probability harm them? They do it because they TRUST. They trust HHS, They trust CDC. They trust the FDA. They trust their doctor. And this one just kills me; they trust the main stream media.

    I posit all this trust is misplaced. If we as a country ever hope to solve our “health” problems we MUST reject the poor food-illness-drugs-more illness model of our “disease care”.

    Of course we would give the same toxic drugs we so readily mistakenly take, to our pets; only a few more steps of misplaced trust are required.

       0 likes

    • Julimar says:

      I agree that many drugs can be harmful, but please consider all aspects of a situation. It is hurtful to read comments like yours assuming that all people who take meds are doing so blindly. While I obviously do not agree with unnecessary medication, I don’t like the stigma on people who actually need to take meds. I will probably have to use antidepressants all my life (hopefully I won’t) and I don’t see it as a cure for my disorder. I think it is usually the population who has a misconception of what drugs can do. Medication can help, but it’s up to you to use that to help yourself. I don’t have any blind trust on any company; I merely do what I have to do to take better. It does suck having to choose between one condition and the side effects (none of which I have experienced, but I know medication can be harmful in the long run). That said, I believe it is important to continue looking for better alternatives. Both extremes are bad: stigmatizing people who need help, and promoting overmedication.

         1 likes

      • Cherry says:

        I agree with Lou, and additionally, postulate that man-made drugs will NEVER trump mother nature! Look for natural alternatives…..they are out there.

           0 likes

      • london2z says:

        If you had tried the holistic approach, instead, you wouldn’t need the drugs. The natural cures actually cure, instead of covering up the symptoms, and no chance of side-effects if supervised by a professional. Although at this point, you’d have to combine the natural methods with the meds. This combo has cured my sister. No more side-effects from her antipsychs.

           0 likes

      • Lou says:

        Dear Julimar

        Please don’t misunderstand but you are a victim.

        Do you understand that most simple depression can be CURED with fish oil supplements and exercise? Do you know SSRIs have been shown to be inferior to fish oil in clinical trials. Do you know most anti-depressant medications have been shown to be no more effective than placebo?

        Please stop being a victim and LEARN a little about your problems. NO ONE is as concerned as you about YOUR problems. The Medical Industry is willing to SELL you all sorts of ineffective and DANGEROUS purported solutions to your problems. Only YOU can solve YOUR problems.

        The whole depression scam is so sad. The medical industry has taken a simple acute problem and converted it, with pharma drugs, into a lifetime problem from which many of the poor souls on the SSRIs NEVER recover.

        http://healthyprotocols.com/2_depression.htm

           0 likes

  25. Tim Carney says:

    Of all the drugs I have been prescribed and experimented with on my own, Prozac is by far the most frightening and evil.
    It serves two purposes for big pharma and those elements of our society that want to eliminate the poor and unfortunate. Prozac puts fluorides into the bodies of users, with all the life shortening and debilitating effects. It also encourages the mentally ill to eliminate themselves from burdened social programs. There are many of these profitable and lucrative, but profesional and polite forms of murder.
    My experience with Prozac taught me to take matters into my own hands and not rely on the “White Coated Geniuses”. I have been my own doctor since, and my health is improved.

       0 likes

  26. Chris says:

    Big Pharma just keeps getting bigger and bigger.and controlling our gov’t more and more.

       0 likes

  27. EddieW says:

    What good is this comment section, where we can’t read the comments of others?
    I fear there is no freedom of speech here!!

       0 likes

  28. Mary says:

    How pathetic! I am sure the big Pharma are excited! This will start a big parade, more animal insurances to have, dogs having accidents and hurting people that would not have happened before, etc. No No NO

       0 likes

  29. Laurie Raymond says:

    The use of Prozac in dogs began off-label and was discovered by veterinarians to be very safe and without the side-effects seen in humans. It has been used for OCD as well as separation and thunderstorm anxiety, and in both those applications, it is used as a way of getting up to square one, as it were, with the behavior modification protocols that are almost impossible to implement successfully in severe cases without the use of drugs.

    Unlike in human medicine, where a patient may only see the prescribing psychiatrist every 6 months or so and can receive the drugs without any monitoring or even psychotherapy, veterinarians prescribing psychoactive drugs are very careful about monitoring, checking for problems (liver function tests, for example) and efficacy, coaching the client through the behavior mod protocols and properly weaning off the drug as soon as it may be done.

    I have hosted several dog anxiety seminars at my store at which a veterinarian with special expertise in behavior explained the uses of these drugs to an audience of vets and vet techs. I am sure there are occasional lapses, as in any human undertaking, but I have seen only the utmost care in diagnosis, dosage and follow-up in these cases. And I have seen excellent results, and never an instance of aggression or other undesirable effect. Suicidal ideation is, of course, impossible to assess in a dog. Anyone who has had a dog who suffered from one of these disorders will not minimize how destructive they can be not only to the dog but to the entire household. Dogs do not self-dramatize, and the mental content of their suffering is different from ours — which I feel sure makes a difference in how drugs affect their emotional states. When they feel relief, they simply revert to normal, having no complicated identity invested in being or feeling sick.

    In my own life I have recently used Prozac for my young dog who suddenly developed a full-blown OCD syndrome. Starting with the behavior protocol and the drug simultaneously produced dramatic and immediate results, and I am now weaning him off the drug after less than 4 months. Veterinarians and owners of dogs with these severe disorders are, in my experience, much more cautious, observant and responsive to all effects of treatment than I suspect psychiatrists are. In general, I would have to say that the worst — or at least, the average– veterinary care is better than the best human medical care — again, from my experience.

    The pharmaceutical companies, on the other hand, really are “the dark side” — but from what I have observed, the trust owners place in the judgment and honesty of their veterinarians is well deserved.

       2 likes

  30. Louise Savage says:

    Please leave pets alone! Let the Vet. take care of them !

       0 likes

  31. Alice Brenner says:

    OMG. wasn’t that chimp that chewed up a woman’s face being given anti-depressants without a vets approval by its owner??? This is terrible. will we see an increase in Pit Bull attacks, etc if they are given Prozac? How do you know if an animal is depressed anyway? Sounds like marketing gone insane to me.

       0 likes

  32. S. McIntyre says:

    PS. you could give them sleeping pills when you leave the house and it would probably be a lot safer! No one really knows what the long term effects on the brain are either… in humans, and certainly not in other creatures.

       0 likes

  33. S. McIntyre says:

    So they want to give dogs a drug that can make them psychotically attack people… very smart idea there. People should take care of their animals properly and provide what they need or find a new family that can. Drugs aren’t a cure all for all animals that aren’t cared for or trained adequately.
    Humans are so stupid.

       0 likes

  34. suzana Megles says:

    I do not like to use drugs and I certainly wouldn’t want to use such a drug on any of my dogs. I am disppointed in the FDA for approving such a drug for dogs. They are basicallly more balanced and sane then many of us. Many drugs have harmful side effects. In my opinion this
    drug should not have been approved.

       0 likes

  35. Karen Sampson says:

    I can understand the concern for giving medications to those who do not require or need such drugs but your article is quite provocative in that it feeds into the stigma of mental illness which many sufferers have to deal with in addition to their condition. As a patient who suffers from an inherited chemical imbalance causing extreme clinical depression I have been taking Prozac since the 1980’s. The drug literally saved my life. Other medications (non SSRIs) tried only made my condition worse. I have gone on to have a full and wonderful life, able to cope with normal problems that all human beings have, and am not in any way “addicted” to the drug. Being off the Prozac causes my depressive symptoms to return but there is no addictive craving to get back on the drug. Would you say a diabetic is “addicted” to their insulin? I have no suicidal or aggressive tendencies taking this medication. Anyone not suffering from true depression should not take this drug but for those of us for whom the drug was designed it is a blessing and we are grateful it exists. Please be less biased in your attention to this issue.

       1 likes

    • Julimar says:

      I agree. I know this is not the author’s intent, but the wording can make uninformed people believe that antidepressants are all bad and people who take them go crazy. I have never taken Prozac, but I do depend on antidepressants and will probably have to do it the rest of my life, since I have dysthymic disorder, and a life of constant depression isn’t worth it. Like you, I have no craving for my medication nor do I see it as my way to salvation. It is merely an aid so I can help myself feel better. Naturally, I disapprove of abusing these drugs and of giving them to dogs! That is just ridiculous. Although I don’t want stigmas on medication to continue, I also don’t want unnecessary medication, specially not of animals.

         1 likes

      • Cherry says:

        I am sorry to read of your use of drugs to treat depression. But I totally disagree with taking any drugs. There are always alternative natural treatments available if you are willing to do the research. People like Kevin Trudeau and Mike adams have been providing just such information for many years. If you are still on drugs of any kind, please look into alternative methods. All drugs ultimately cause liver and kidney damage. Just my 2 cents..:-)

           0 likes

        • Ale says:

          If you think herbs and natural remedies can not cause or have side effects , you are mistaken…..the problem is, nobody tells you that, be VERY CAREFUL with your statements, unless you are a doctor, never advise to stop taken any medication to anybody…
          Just my 2 cents also….

             1 likes

    • london2z says:

      Don’t you know that all those school shootings have been from kids on antidepressants? I have found pages and pages of lists, online, containing examples of homicides, suicides, and violent acts from those on antidepressants. And in most cases, they happened within a short time after beginning the drugs, or trying to come off them. Not everyone on these drugs will have these side-effects, but there is a substantial percentage who do. Just because you personally don’t, what right have you to ignore all those who do?

         0 likes

  36. kim grondin says:

    Please stop the insanity of overmedicating dogs unnecessarily. They are our children to those of us that chose not to give birth. Their lives, health, and well being are the most important things to us, and a government that endorses toxic medications is just supporting cruelty to animals. That is not a government that I want leading me.

    Please change the way things are being run and passed through. The United States of America is fast becoming an embarassment to admit to living in. You are not following the rules of our founding fathers what so ever, and it has to stop.

    Peace be with you all.

       0 likes

  37. Peggy Heisel says:

    I think Prozac for pets is one of the craziest ideas I have heard!!

       0 likes

    • I am really unhappy with the “Prozac for Pets” article, full of misinformation and scare tactics that encouraged numerous uninformed comments in the same vein.

      There is no “tremendous risk of humans having a psychotic break,” nor does fluoxetine have any significant withdrawal (much better than other SSRI’s in that regard).

      Overall rates of suicide attempts and completions go down in populations in which antidepressants are prescribed — even when only half the population diagnosed with depression gets treatment.

      I could go on, but I think you get my drift. I am a psychiatrist who uses integrative treatments wherever possible, but no one’s life or quality of life should be sacrificed on the altar of alternative care.

         1 likes

      • Lydia Freund says:

        Dear Dr. Vache, I appreciate your thoughtful reply, and I trust it is based on a professional awareness of the facts as given or presented by the intereted parties, i.e., drug companies, or by the schools which are not toally unbiased. I personally have seen too many cases of people who are addicted to anti-depresents becasue their real ailments have been mis-understood. The majority of people on drugs are toxic: from air borne mercury and lead poisonings, from horribly polluted food, from allergy and/or chemical hyper-sensitivities they are not aware of, from impacted bowels, from infected teeth, from exhausted adrenals, and the list goes on. Mind and body are ONE, when they are not one, you are dead. The psychological symptoms that are CONCOMMITANT with poor physical health are usually causitive, and the connections are so poorly understood. Masking the one without fixing the other is a waste of time, money, health. We need more Physiological Psychologists, not more drugs.

           0 likes

      • byron b says:

        I was prescribed prozac, and instead of helping me with anxiety/depression, it actually made me more depressed! Also, as with most drugs, it is unwise to stop abruptly, rather one should taper off the drug gradually, that is, taking less and less of the drug over time. I would assume the above could apply to animals as well.

           0 likes

    • Destiny says:

      I just started my precious Annie on Prozac four days ago and I am praying this will help her. I adopted Annie from the Humane Shelter in a Country that does not have adequate laws to protect animals so the abuse is unreal. The Humane Shelter does everything they can and without them no animals would have a chance. My Annie is a beautiful Healer/Pit mix who was severely abused and now lives in fear of even the wind blowing. I have had her for six months trying to love her through it, but it was not enough. The alternative by the “vet” was to put her down. My question was why should she lose her life for the cruelty of a human? I am willing to do whatever it takes to give her a fighting chance and this is it. Before you comment yes I have seen a behaviorist, no response. She is but a shell of a dog but I love her and I can see what others can’t.

         1 likes

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:
ANH-USA provides a comment forum for our readers to share their constructive thoughts and criticisms about our newsletter articles and engage in civil debate with other readers. All comments are pre-moderated regardless of author. We never censor comments based on political or ideological point of view. We only remove those comments that are abusive, off-topic, use foul language, include personal attacks, or are otherwise discourteous and uncivil. Please do not post comments in ALL CAPS; on the internet this is considered "shouting."

 characters available

Follow us on...