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Prozac for dogs, almost

Picture: Shane Heenan
Veterinarians estimate that 17% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety. This treatable condition, which results in problematic behaviors when a dog is left alone, doesn’t have to strain relationships between pets and their owners. © Shane Heenan

Depression and related disorders it seems are relatively widespread – even affecting animals.

To combat this problem in dogs, Eli Lilly and Company, which is the maker of Prozac, has created a product to lessen separation anxiety in dogs.

And, the company plans to launch a new business group focused on companion animal health. The group, evolving at Lilly for more than seven years, will produce innovative medicines for dogs and cats under the Lilly brand name.

The launch of the company’s first prescription medicine for pets will see Reconcile, a beef-flavoured chewable tablet that helps treat dogs for separation anxiety, released soon in the United States pending regulatory approval.

The medicine is supposed to be used in combination with behaviour management training to help dogs that have difficulty being separated from their owner or family members.

Reconcile uses the same compound as the human antidepressant Prozac

The 130- year-old pharmaceutical company has also announced a $250,000 endowment to the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine to fund an annual lecture series to support veterinarians’ understanding of physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of the human-pet bond.

“Veterinarians are essential allies to the millions of us who experience the human-animal bond … from the very dawn of time until now and well into the future … human-animal companionship is at the very core of our instincts not only for mutual survival, but mutually rewarding relationships.”

In announcing the gift, Eric Graves, director, companion animal health, said it is no coincidence that the company’s first announcement focuses on support for the veterinary profession and increasing appreciation of the human-pet bond.

Much of that value lies in the rich library of the company’s proprietary molecules, which Lilly scientists have been evaluating for pet use over the last seven years, according to Stephen Connell, D.V.M., manager of technical, academic and consumer services. Companion animal veterinarians also will value the company’s emphasis on technical and case management support and its commitment to be a trustworthy and reliable business partner. Elanco Animal Health, the Lilly food animal division, has served livestock veterinary practitioners since 1954.

Answers That Matter

Lilly is applying the same “Answers that Matter” philosophy to its companion animal products as it has to meet needs in human medicine.

“We appreciate that the companion animal sector is a dynamic marketplace, and our value to the profession will be measured by the performance of our products and our people,” said Graves, noting that the company’s first product introductions are expected within the year, pending approval by the FDA.

These medicines will address serious conditions that negatively affect both pet health and the human-pet bond.

 

Originally published on Farmnews in April, 2007

 

 

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