Depressed Doggie? Big Pharma to the Rescue

If you are a dog lover, you are probably attuned to your canine friend's every mood and body language.You know when they are happy, sad, bored or even annoyed with you!

Max my gorgeous German Shepard dog wore an exasperated expression on his face whenever he 'disapproved' of something I did, like forget his food!

Those rare times when he was feeling a little ‘blue’, he just lay down quietly and slept: “Leave me alone” written all over him. Let nature take its course I say.

Not any longer if Big Pharma get their way.

Over the last few years drug giants like Elanco and Eli Lilly have been developing the doggie version of the antidepressant drug Prozac.

The drug - Reconcile - is a once-daily chewable drug for dogs intended to treat ‘canine separation anxiety’ (CSA)....A fancy ‘label’ to describe the behavioral changes that can occur when a dog is separated from its owner and is left alone.

Is Big Pharma not content with doping humans?

You see, Reconcile is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), meaning it comes from a class of drugs known for severe side effects.

Even Reconcile's product information sheet states the dangerous side effects like seizures, weight loss, tremors, aggression, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, thyroid malfunctioning ...All courtesy of the fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac), which is converted into norfluoxetine by the liver. Both of these are fluorophenyl compounds - a form of toxic mind-altering fluoride.

In addition to these stated side effects, are the numerous reports that indict SSRIs like Prozac and Reconcile for increasing  the risk of strokes, thick arteries, cataracts, miscarriages, and developing anti-social tendencies.

Just what your furry friend needs to transform it into a furry fiend!

The FDA, in fact, actually has no idea how dogs will react to Reconcile, particularly in the long term -- but the agency has granted its approval anyway.

This approval was based on a single, eight-week study in which dogs treated with Reconcile experienced only slightly better improvement with their CSA symptoms, compared to dogs who received simple behavior modification therapy.

Of course, the study was funded by Reconcile's manufacturer, and did not examine the long-term effects of using Reconcile!

Yet Veterinarians are excited about the prospects of such drugs. Dawn Boothe, a veterinary internist and clinical pharmacologist at Auburn University says: “Prozac is a drug we've used for years... having it approved in dogs gives us a level of confidence regarding safety and efficacy in that species."

How can she be so blind to the reality of these drugs?

She continues:  “I think the human-animal bond has changed in the last few years. People are starting to say, 'My animal is a member of the family, and I am willing to pay the cost of drugs that were developed for humans.' I think the pharmaceutical companies have picked up on that."

Let’s get real.

Big Pharma have ‘picked up on’ the profit potential of pet pharmaceuticals. I doubt that they are even thinking of the lasting benefits of drugs to the animals or their owners precisely because they are unknown or unproven!

Indeed, the pet products industry is burgeoning. 2011 figures released by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) show that Americans now spend more than $50 billion a year on food, supplies, and veterinarian care for their pets -- up nearly 300% since 1994.

I acknowledge that there may be genuine cases where anti-depressants etc may be appropriate for dogs, especially when they have had a history of being abused by previous owners. Or, when the owners have tried everything to help their pet to no avail and drugs are the kindest ‘last resort’.

However, I believe that before resorting to drugs, one of the best ‘treatments’ (for both humans and dogs !)  will always be loving care, and a healthy lifestyle including a nutritious diet and exercise.

Finally I wonder... Aren't dogs inherently social animal? If you took any "healthy" dog and let it loose, it would find other dogs to hang out with if it could and would prefer it. Isn't it actually more unusual that a dog would LIKE to be alone?

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