Fluoxetine, more commonly known by the brand names prozac or “Reconcile”, is prescribed to Dogs and Cats for its Role in Behavior Modification. Canine separation anxiety is a common behavioral problem presented to veterinarians. Associated behaviors are distressing to both dog and owner, have the potential to disrupt the human-companion animal bond, and may lead to euthanasia.
The use of psychotropic medications such as prozac has become increasingly more common in veterinary medicine. Combined with behavior and environmental modification, the use of various types of anxiolytics and anti-depressants has made the treatment of pet behavioral disorders increasingly more successful. Dogs with problem behaviors such as compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, aggression and phobic conditions have been helped through the conscientious use of fluoxetine In cats fluoxetine has been recommended for the treatment of aggression, fabric chewing, feline compulsive alopecia (hair loss), and territorial aggression. Studies have also indicated that prozac treatment significantly reduced the rate of urine marking in cats when administered daily.
Overview of Prozac for dogs and cats
- A selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant used in dogs and cats for variety of behavior disorders
- Contraindications: patients with known hypersensitivity or receiving monoamine oxidase inhibitors
- Caution: patients with diabetes mellitus or seizure disorders; dosages may need to be reduced in patients with severe hepatic impairment
- Adverse Side Effects: Dogs: anorexia, lethargy, GI effects, anxiety, irritability, insomnia/hyperactivity or panting, aggressive behavior in previously unaggressive dogs possible; Cats: may exhibit behavior changes (anxiety, irritability, sleep disturbances), anorexia and changes in elimination patterns
Uses and Indications
Prozac may be beneficial for the treatment of canine aggression, stereotypic behaviors (and other obsessive-compulsive behaviors) and anxiety. It may also be useful in cats for the aforementioned behaviors and additionally, for inappropriate elimination.
Contraindications and Precautions
Prozac is contraindicated in animal patients with known hypersensitivity to it, as well as those receiving monoamine oxidase inhibitors including selegiline, l-deprenyl and isoniazid . It should be used with caution in patients with diabetes mellitus as it may alter blood glucose. Its effect on patients with seizure disorders is not known, so use with caution in these patients. Dosages may need to be reduced in patients with liver disease.
Pregnant and Nursing Animals- some animal studies have shown adverse effects on the fetus; therefore, we suggest that prozac not be administered to pregnant or nursing animals.
Other Potential Side Effects:
Prozac may cause anorexia, lethargy, GI effects, anxiety, irritability, insomnia/hyperactivity or panting. Aggressive behavior in previously unaggressive dogs has been reported. Cats may exhibit behavior changes (anxiety, irritability, sleep disturbances), anorexia, and changes in elimination patterns (urinating or defecating inside the home and outside the litter box).
Adverse Drug Interactions
Prozac may enhance the effects of the following psychometric agents: diazepam (increased half-life), haloperidol (increased extrapyramidal effects), lithium (increased lithium levels), L-tryptophan (CNS stimulation, GI distress), tricyclic antidepressants (increased tricyclic side effects), and buspirone (increased anxiety).
Prozac Dosages for Dogs and Cats
For the treatment of behavior disorders: 0.5-1 mg/kg once daily
To control pruritus (excessive itching and scratching) when other therapies have failed: 1-5 mg/cat PO once daily; advise obtaining baseline lab work. Assess therapy after 1-4 weeks. Taper off dose over 6-8 weeks.
Commercial Prozac Products Available for Sale in the U.S
Veterinary Approved Products: Reconcile®- Approved for dogs. This product is specifically approved for the treatment of separation anxiety.
Human Approved Products:
Fluoxetine HCl Pulvules/Capsules: 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg and 90 mg (delayed-release); Prozac® Pulvules (Eli Lilly/Dista); (Rx); Sarafem Pulvules® (Warner Chilcott); (Rx), Prozac Weekly® (Eli Lilly/Dista); (Rx); generic; (Rx)