‘New drug may calm anxious dogs during noisy events’

By: | Published: July 3, 2016 2:16 PM

Dog lovers, take note! A new drug that may help your pooch calm down when it experiences fear and anxiety due to loud noises, such as Diwali fireworks, thunder and construction work, has been approved in the US.

dogsDog lovers, take note! A new drug that may help your pooch calm down when it experiences fear and anxiety due to loud noises, such as Diwali fireworks, thunder and construction work, has been approved in the US. (Reuters)

Dog lovers, take note! A new drug that may help your pooch calm down when it experiences fear and anxiety due to loud noises, such as Diwali fireworks, thunder and construction work, has been approved in the US.

SILEO (dexmedetomidine oromucosal gel) is the first medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of noise aversion in dogs.

Noise aversion refers to the behavioural and clinical signs of fear and anxiety experienced by dogs in response to noise.

SILEO, which is being marketed in the US by Zoetis Inc, is available from veterinarians by prescription and can be safely administered at home by pet owners to help calm dogs without sedating for the duration of noise events.

“We know that noise aversion has been difficult to treat, is stressful for pet owners and can be traumatic for their dogs,” said Shelley L Stanford, from Zoetis.

“SILEO works the way veterinarians and pet owners need it to work, calming dogs while allowing them to interact normally with the family,” said Stanford.

“It has rapid speed of onset, is easy to administer at home and works ‘in the moment,’ without any other treatments or training,” said Stanford.

The oromucosal gel formulation blocks norepinephrine release, a chemical in the brain that is involved with the development of fear and anxiety.

It is administered via oral transmucosal absorption, limiting the amount of dexmedetomidine available in the body at any given time after administration and thereby providing a calming effect without sedating.

This allows dogs with noise aversion to remain calm yet fully functional. In addition, the medication has a rapid speed of onset that can be tailored to the timing and duration of noise events. It works on its own without any other treatments or training.

At least one-third of pet owners report that their dog suffers from noise aversion1. Common clinical signs include panting, trembling, cowering, and escape behaviour, which can result in self-trauma as well as property damage.

Fireworks are one of the top triggers for noise aversion in dogs.

However, only 40 per cent of pet owners seek treatment from their veterinarian; 20 per cent look for solutions on their own, while the remaining 40 per cent of dogs suffering from noise aversion do not receive any treatment.

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