Like human beings, cats also suffer from anxiety and depression. They might suddenly start attacking visitors or lick them themselves constantly. They might act overly timid and fearful, or angry and aggressive, marking their territory with their urine outside their litter box. Such instances indicate that the cat is suffering from feline anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, or aggression.
Treatment for such conditions varies from one cat to the other, depending on the intensity of their conditions. Prozac is one such drug which is very common to treat anxiety, depression and other conditions in cats. Scientifically, Prozac is known as Fluoxetine Hydrochloride and this drug is available in the market for cats under the name of Reconcile.
Before cat owners give this drug to their cats, they should consult with a veterinarian so that they can provide the correct diagnosis and treatment procedure for the particular cat.
Prozac is used as the standard treatment for cats that have behavioural disorders, anxiety, and depression. It becomes very difficult and frustrating for cat owners to live with a very anxious cat, or stressed, fearful and aggressive cat. Cat owners should then approach the veterinarian to treat such conditions.
Prozac For Cats – What You Should Know?
Prozac or Fluoxetine Hydrochloride is a drug that comes under the category of drugs called Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI). Canine aggression, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are some of the disorders that this drug is commonly used to treat, but only if it is prescribed by a vet.
Prozac is helpful and effective to treat any obsessive-compulsive disorders that occur in cats such as constant licking and other behavioural disorders which are determined by the veterinarian upon examining the cat. This drug is fairly easy to administer and does not require much monitoring of the cat after it has been given the drug. Fluoxetine or Prozac (Dista), Reconcile (Lilly) targets those chemicals in the brain that are responsible for causing anxiety, depression, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder. The medicine might take up to three or four weeks to provide visible results and to become effective.
Cat owners need to be careful and try to avoid giving other kinds of medicines while on Prozac that might make the cat feel sleepy, such medicines include cold, allergy, pain, muscle relaxants, etc. medications. Cat owners are further recommended not to give Prozac or Reconcile to their cats if the cat is on MAO inhibitors.
Prozac might have some side effects, the cat might show signs of a rash, have difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, tongue, lips, or throat. If new side effects arise or the symptoms worsen after consuming Prozac, cat owners should immediately take the cat to the veterinarian.
It is highly advised that cat owners follow and administer the correct dosage of Prozac to their cats as prescribed by their veterinarians. If the owners are unable to follow or understand the instructions, they are requested to ask the pharmacist or veterinarian for a step-by-step explanation. Cat owners should also be careful to not give higher dosage than what is recommended by the veterinarian as it might cause adverse effects.
The veterinarian will also change the dosage of the drug frequently so that the drug provides the desired results. It might take three or four weeks or even longer in some cases for the medication to become effective and show improved results.
If the cat owner stops the medication abruptly, mid-way, it will lead to some unpleasant side effects, hence, cat owners are discouraged to stop administering Prozac without first consulting with their veterinarian. Some less serious side effects that might show after taking Prozac include appetite change, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, diarrhoea, weight fluctuations, to name a few.
If the cat owner misses a particular dose of Prozac, they should give the missed dose as soon as they remember but if it cuts too close to the next scheduled dose, it is advised to skip the dose that was missed and instead give the next scheduled dose on time. Cat owners should be cautious to never give a double dose of this drug to their cats and to avoid other medications while on Prozac that makes their cat quite sleepy.
Prozac For Aggression
It is very common for cats to project aggressive behaviour or become very anxious and stressed. It gives rise to a situation that is similar to when cats are being cornered. This is termed as feline aggression and is mostly triggered by stress in cats.
In some cases, the stress that triggers feline aggression can be contained and reduced by training the cat and also by modifying the environment in which the cat lives. However, if some elements of the cat’s surrounding environment cannot be removed such as the coming of an infant, for example, it is time to use medication to resolve the behavioural issues of the cat. Prozac is then commonly prescribed by veterinarians to control and stop the aggressive feline behaviour. This drug can be given to the cat in various forms. Prozac is available in the market in the form of liquid, oral and transdermal form for cats.
However, studies show that Prozac, when it is used in the form of a cream, is less effective and does not get well absorbed by the cat’s system, and is best absorbed and is more effective when given in oral form. Once started on a regular dosage, the effects of Prozac can be seen within three to four weeks. First, the changes observed might be too extreme or little to none, and according to the level of changes observed, the veterinarian will adjust the dosage of the drug.
Cat Prozac Withdrawal
It is important that when this drug is prescribed by the veterinarian, that cat owners stick to giving this medication to their cats. It might appear that medication is not working which can happen due to the multiple factors that are at play, but cat owners must be patient throughout this treatment and are discouraged to stop the medication abruptly.
If the medication is stopped abruptly then the cat will go through withdrawal symptoms. They will experience unpleasant side effects and it can also lead to worsening of their behavioural conditions. Withdrawal symptoms can include the reappearance of behaviours that were intended to be removed formerly such as aggressive behaviour, anxiety, etc.
How To Wean Cats Off Prozac?
Prozac for cats and dogs takes some time to metabolize completely in their system. If the cat owners decide that it is time for their cats to stop and come off the medication, it is important that they first schedule an appointment with their veterinarian. Like humans, cats come in various sizes and each cat has different requirements. It is the size of the cat that will determine its dose. The cat’s health and also its behavioural issues are important factors in the weaning off procedure.
Depending on the veterinarian’s assessment of the cat, they will be able to predict the degree of risk that is involved with withdrawal symptoms and they will also monitor the cat’s reactions. One of the major problems that arise when Prozac is stopped too soon is that the cat not be able to adapt and process their new routine or training due to lack of sufficient time. Moreover, weaning off Prozac quickly can result in unpleasant and unwanted side-effects.
Some of the side effects of stopping Prozac abruptly might include diarrhoea, appetite loss, and some rare side effects that might include insomnia, seizures, to name a few. If the veterinarian agrees that the cat should be taken off Prozac then the cat owners should gradually bring down the dosage of the medication by decreasing the originally prescribed dose by one-half and continuing this for at least four weeks.
How To Care for Cat on Prozac
The cats need to be monitored closely to see if they are doing well on the decreased dose; if they are then the dose can be further halved, and this process can be continued for four weeks. During this period the cat owners have to monitor their cats again for another two to four weeks and if the cats continue to do well at the end of eight weeks the cat can be successfully taken off Prozac.
The cat should be monitored additionally for another four weeks after he/she has completely tapered. It is also important that the cat owners monitor their behaviour too. The cat owners should also ensure that a particular routine is followed.
To conclude, cat owners that have cats with certain behavioural issues, anxiety, aggression, depression needs to work closely with experts so that they can be instrumental in changing their cat’s behavioural issues. They need to create acceptable outlets for their cat’s inherently natural behaviour, and they should also provide their cats with something that can be replaced with their problematic behaviour.