25 February 2008

Suicidal Pets Get Anti-Depressants, Beef Flavoured Xanax Hits Underground Club Scene

A leading British veterinarian says pets at risk of self-harm are increasingly being prescribed anti-depressants because they cannot discuss problems in their lives with others.

Romain Pizzi, a zoo and wildlife medicine specialist with the The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, says that more and more pets were being prescribed Prozac.

Pizzi told tells the Telegraph that tropical birds seemed to have been the most affected by depression. Ya think? They were meant to soar above starry turquoise oceans instead their wings are clipped to live with old ladies in Dyker Heights cages.

Pizzi assures prescribing a pet Prozac is the absolute last resort saying they first try and change the environment of the animal and make sure it has more stimulation and toys. However, he continues, “when we have ruled out underlying medical problems, we try to break the cycle by using Prozac… which is given to the parrots in liquid form. It doesn't cure all animals, but around two-thirds respond to the treatment. In a small number of cases things will go well until we wean them off Prozac and the problems return.”

Pizzi said the severity of some pet’s depression often put their lives at risk. “Typically if people go out to work all day their parrot will get very bored and frustrated and eventually develop depression,” he said. “Symptoms often include plucking out their feathers or self-harming, which is obviously very dangerous. When cockatoos in particular are depressed they can start to self-mutilate and peck their own legs to the bone."

Some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies have also recognised the need for anti-depressants for animals. Last year, Eli Lilly released a chewable anti-depressant for dogs onto the US market. The manufacturers even gave the “Reconcile” drug a beef flavour. Pfizer has also created a diet drug for dogs, as well as motion-sickness medicine for all pets.

With Eli Lilly’s “Reconcile” already on the market, choices of other drugs and flavours can’t be far off! I can see it now: Sun dried tomato Xanax with a fresh Prozac mozzarella lightly drizzled with a balsamic Paxil reduction. Prego!

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