Antidepressant Drug Toxicity in Dogs

Overview of Canine Antidepressant Drug Toxicity

Increased recognition of human depression and advances in human medical therapy for depression has increased the amount of humans using antidepressant medications. Because of this, pets are also getting help from the same prescription medication for a variety of animal behavioral problems. Due to the availability of these drugs and potential for exposure, accidental animal toxicities have increased.

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), last year they managed hundreds of such cases. APCC experts have noted the following medications to be potentially harmful:

What to Watch For

Signs of antidepressant drug toxicity in dogs may vary depending on the amount ingested, time since ingestion, size/weight of your dog, and type of medication ingested. Symptoms of intoxication may include any or all of the following:

Dogs may act as if they are intoxicated. These signs develop within 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion depending on the type and amount ingested.

Diagnosis of Antidepressant Drug Toxicity in Dogs

There are no specific tests to diagnose ingestion or overdose of antidepressant medications. Diagnostic tests may be recommended to help eliminate other causes of your pets symptoms and to determine detrimental effects of the medication. Recommendations may include:

Treatment of Antidepressant Drug Toxicity in Dogs

Treatment for antidepressant toxicosis includes one or more of the following:

Home Care

Remove your dog from the source of toxicity. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog to have consumed un-prescribed doses of antidepressant medications. Your veterinarian may recommend you induce vomiting in your pet by oral administration of hydrogen peroxide. Transport your pet to your veterinarian as per their recommendations.

Preventative Care

Never give human medications to your dog without consulting your veterinarian. Keep all medications out of the reach of pets.

Use prescription medications only as directed.

Most important: Do not allow your pet to roam unsupervised. Pets that are allowed to roam unsupervised are more likely to encounter all sorts of drugs or toxins. In most cases of roaming dogs, owners are not aware of what they could have ingested and deal with a sick pet that may have a life threatening toxicity.