by Bernie English
A LIMERICK vet has been prescribing the doggie equivalent of Prozac for canines who are tearing their homes apart because their owners have gone back to the office after lockdown.
Limerick vet and animal behaviourist Dr Claire Corridan has been prescribing Fluoxetine, which is the same anti-depressant treatment as Prozac for humans.
Pets who have been used to having their owners keeping them company while working from home are becoming destructive through missing their humans when they go back to office working.
The drug, which has been licensed for veterinary use in other countries for some time, is now available in Ireland.
Dr Corridan explained that some stressed out pets are causing huge damage to homes because they are trying to escape and follow their owners to the office.
“Reconcile is best known as Prozac, so this is a medication that has been around in human psychiatric medicine for a long time,” she said.
“It’s brand new here and it has been licensed in recent weeks, although it has been licensed across the world for a long time.”
Many animals had become used o seeing their owners on a daily basis,working from home during lockdown and now cannot understand why they have been left home alone.
Dr Corridan said vets are seeing a surge in separation anxiety in pets when owners leave the house.
The result is chewed furniture or pets who are refusing to eat or running in circles between door and window.
Huge damage can be caused to windows and doors as a result. Dogs and other pets can even self-harm in their lonely distress.
“They start licking and chewing the skin and that releases endorphins that help them to feel better. It’s equivalent to a person pulling their hair or hurting or damaging their skin.”
Before the licencing of the new pet drug, vets were prescribing human Prozac, but animals often refused to swallow it as they did not like the taste.
The mental health of pets has been brought into focus since the ending of restrictions but Dr Corridan said it is vital that the mood-altering medications are used only as a short-term solution to lead the dog to healthier behaviour rather than a “quick fix” and needs to be used in conjunction with behavioural modification.