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10 February 2008


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If you had a high blood pressure, you'd take meds to make it better, right? You don't say, well that's the way I am, I'll just live a diminished life because I don't want to change my internal chemistry.

So what's the difference with taking medication for a brain chemical disorder - this goes for animals as well as people. In fact, I think it goes more for animals because they can't go to talk therapy or analyze why they get anxious.

One of my cats has developed a really over-the-top fear of going to the vet. My normally friendly, outgowing cat hides under a chair and shakes and cries in the examining room.

I now give him a small dose of a tranquilizer -he's perfectly alert, but it cuts the anxiety by about 80%. This makes it a whole lot easier for the vet to do a thorough exam, and I believe its a whole let stressful for the cat. He never going to love going to the vet, but I think making it tolerable for him is the least I can do.

Gina Spadafori

This is my same point -- much debated here -- about treating animals for pain. (Or people, for that matter.)

I really don't understand the moral issue of taking meds to help with chemical imbalances that cause mental health problems, or to help deal with acute or chronic pain.

Honestly, I have had times in my life where I have used both pain meds and anti-anxiety and/or anti-depressants. They allowed me to remain active and productive.

Why is this a bigger issue than using an antibiotic to fight an infection? I don't get it.


Having a dog who developed sound phobias, I can attest to it being a medical issue. But it was hypothyroidism that caused it, not something that should be addressed by Prozac.

I have not seen the article, but I do hope that the good doctor addresses the possibility that low thyroid levels can also cause fear of fireworks, gunshots, and even low battery warning beeps...

Every dog with sound sensitivities (and any other odd behavior issue) should have *at least* one full six panel thyroid test run FIRST, before the vet reaches for the Prozac.


My concern is that vets will be too free with the anti-anxiety/anti-depressants when there is a medical condition like hypothyroidism that needs to be addressed.

Susan Fox

I have a friend who has a terribly sound-phobic yellow lab. I'm going to call her tomorrow about getting Piper's thyroid checked and see if she knows about using Prozac. It breaks her heart to see what he goes through on the 4th of July. And we live in a rural neighborhood where it's not really too bad.

Gina, I'm with you 110% on your last comment. No excuse anymore for an animal to suffer physical or mental pain.

But, Mikken, I do see what you are saying also. It can be too easy to reach for a drug before doing the diagnostic heavy-lifting.

Great, helpful info from you both. Thanks!


Good for you helping out a friend, Susan! Make sure she asks for the full six panel test (it's special order, but better than the little T3/T4 that most vets run). Best place I've found both for price and analysis is HemoPet (http://www.itsfortheanimals.com/HEMOPET.HTM). I ship all my thyroid testing there these days.

If it is hypothyroidism, addressing those hormone levels will make for a happier, healthier dog fairly quickly. If it isn't hypothyroidism, then she's got other options she can pursue with her vet. And thanks to you, now she'll know that!

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