Choosing the right pharmacologic therapies for fear and anxiety in small animal patients
Psychoactive medications or supplements are critical components in treating many patients with fear and anxiety issues. The goal is to improve welfare, decrease unwanted behavioral manifestations of these emotions, and to facilitate learning of new behaviors and emotional responses. Choosing a medication or combination of medications depends on both the intensity of the animal’s reaction and factors related to the trigger. If the triggering stimulus occurs unpredictably or frequently, and/or is associated with a high baseline anxiety, a maintenance antidepressant is typically prescribed alone or in combination with other medications. Situational medications are best for triggers with a predictable onset and duration. These distinctions are not always clear and case examples will be provide demonstrate various options.
- 1. Identify the type of dosing and classes of medications/supplement best used for specific triggers or problem behaviors
- 2. Understand the basic mechanisms for major types of anxiolytic medications/supplements.
- 3. Understand appropriate use of medication combinations for anxious or fearful animals.