Pet Prozac To Treat Depression

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Dog owners will soon be able to give their pets Prozac to treat their depression.The once-a-day chewable tablet, which tastes of beef, has been launched in the US and will soon be available in the UK after being granted a licence.Its makers say it can help cure ‘canine compulsive disorder’, which apparently affects thousands of dogs and causes excessive licking, whimpering and tail-chasing

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The drug, called Reconcile, is also designed to curb the compulsive pacing, chewing and dribbling which its makers claim is a result of depression brought on by their owners’ long absences.The anti-depressant Prozac has been used to cure compulsive behaviour in humans, and works by increasing the brain’s levels of serotonin, a ‘happiness’ chemical.Trials involving more than 660 mentally-disturbed pets in Europe and the US produced improvements in behaviour within eight weeks.

Eli Lilly, the drug’s US manufacturer, said: ‘Treatment for companion animals is a relatively new area for us.’They point to research which shows that as many as 8 per cent of dogs suffer from canine compulsive disorder.Critics say gods are now being diagnosed with ‘lifestyle’ illnesses so that drugs can be marketed to treat them.Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist, said: ‘Most breakthroughs in dog behaviour are achieves by carrying a titbit and using it wisely, not by drugs.’Reconcile has now been granted a licence by the UK’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate.However, it was first licensed in the US three years ago for separation anxiety from being left alone for long periods.
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