Pets can suffer the same mental and emotional anxieties and disorders that humans do. Common compulsive disorders of pets include phobia, aggression, and separation anxiety. While these were commonly regarded as behavioral problems that can be modified with proper training and discipline, today, there are medications that are being prescribed for pets to counter these conditions. Even dogs with memory problems such as forgetting where the doggy door or the feeding bowl is located can be treated with human memory pills such as Anipyril, a drug that is used to treat cognitive dysfunction.
Lifestyle Drugs for Pets
As pets have become more and more assimilated in society and have become a significant part of the family, owners are humanizing pets more and more. Pharmaceutical companies are riding this trend of humanizing pets and the demand for more extensive pet care, including psychiatric help and treatments for pets. These companies have begun experimenting with lifestyle drugs and other medications used to treat humans, researching if they are effective on animals. Animals with the same or similar psychiatric problems as humans can now be treated with the same lifestyle drugs. The goal for most of these prescription drugs is to obtain animal behavior modification for happier pets and more obedient household animal companions.
No Consensus Among Pet Doctors
Not all veterinarians in urbane scrubs, however, agree to treating pets with psychiatric and behavior modifying drugs or with the humanization of pets in general. These veterinarians believe that the traditional and time-tested approach of stimulus-response conditioning is sufficient. Better discipline and training can modify most of the behavioral problems and compulsive anxieties of animals. While a lot of these veterinarians do not deny that pharmacological aids can be helpful in treating extreme circumstances of mental disorders in animals, they think that in most cases, old techniques of rewarding good behavior and ignoring or scolding unwanted behavior will work.
Common Psychiatric Problems of Pets
Separation anxiety is one of the most common mental problems of pets. Domesticated dogs are especially prone to separation anxiety as they develop an extreme attachment to their owners and seem to suffer when they are separated from them. Behavioral side-effects of separation anxiety include prolonged barking, whining, drooling, panting, and standing by the door all day. They may also be self-destructive or destructive to property, destroying things at home.
Common prescription drugs that are used to treat separation anxiety are similar or chemically identical to tricyclic antidepressants and clomimpramine, which are used in human psychiatric care. These drugs have a calming effect on pets and are prescribed for those with anxiety when left all alone at home all day. Another highly occurring behavioral disorder of pets is conflict aggression. Every year, millions of pets are euthanized in shelters and clinics because of conflict aggression. There is evidence today that cats and dogs can develop a form of schizophrenia that causes them to have visual and auditory hallucinations. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac have been used to stabilize moods and lower the anxiety of these animals with aggressive behavior.