Buspirone HCl (BuSpar®) for Dogs and Cats

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Overview of Buspirone HCl for Dogs and Cats

  •  Buspirone HCl, commonly known by the brand name BuSpar®, is an anti-anxiety drug used for dogs and cats.  
  • Behavioral disorders in dogs and cats, including fearful behavior, are common reasons for veterinary visits. Veterinarians are placing increased emphasis on training and behavior, and animal behavior specialists have adopted drugs used in modifying human behavior for animal use. Buspirone is one of these drugs.
  • Unlike other anti-anxiety medications, buspirone does not have any muscle relaxant or anti-seizure properties. Once treatment is started with BuSpar, it can take one week to see its effectiveness. Therefore it is not recommended for acute stress situations. 
  • Buspirone binds strongly to serotonin receptors in the brain, but the exact mechanism of its action is not clearly understood.
  • Buspirone reduces anxiety and may cause mild sedation.
  • Buspirone is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but may be prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.
  • Brand Names and Other Names of Buspirone HCl 

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: BuSpar® (Mead Johnson)
  • Veterinary formulations: None
  • Uses of Buspirone for Dogs and Cats

  • Typical uses of buspirone include management of anxiety or abnormal behavior related to a fear of thunderstorms or loud noises in dogs.
  • The drug also has been used to treat anxiety and fear in cats.
  • Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, buspirone may cause side effects in some animals.
  • Buspirone should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug. 
  • This drug should be used with caution in working dogs as it may affect their performance.
  • Buspirone should not be used in dogs and cats that have been diagnosed with liver or kidney disease.
  • Buspirone may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with buspirone.
  • Side effects, including increased friendliness, increased playfulness, agitation post-pilling, and increased assertiveness/aggression, are sometimes associated with the use of this drug.
  • How Buspirone Is Supplied

  • Buspirone is available in 5 mg, 10 mg and 30 mg tablets.
  • Dosing Information of Buspirone HCl for Dogs and Cats

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The typical daily dose in dogs is 5 to 10 mg per dog, two or three times daily. Occasionally the drug may be combined with other sedative or tranquilizing drugs.
  • Buspirone has been administered to cats at an initial dose of 5 mg per cat twice daily. The dose may have to be increased in some cases.  Dose in cats can range from 2.5 mg to 7.5 mg two to three times per day. 
  • The duration of administration of buspirone depends on the condition being treated, the pet's response to the medication, and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.
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