Overview of Sertraline for Dogs and Cats
- Sertraline, commonly known as Zoloft®, is used to treat aggression, fearful behaviors, and anxiety-related behaviors in dogs and cats.
- Behavioral disorders in dogs and cats are a frequent reason for veterinary visits. Unacceptable or dangerous animal behavior problems are also a common grounds for euthanasia.
- Recently, veterinarians have placed greater emphasis on animal training and behavior modification, and specialists working in the field of animal behavior have increasingly adopted drugs used in human behavior modification for animal use. Sertraline is one of these drugs.
- Sertraline works by blocking serotonin receptors.
- Sertraline is an antidepressant that is chemically unrelated to other antidepressants. It is best known by its trade name, Zoloft®.
- Sertraline is considered to be a very safe drug.
- Sertraline 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 it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.
Brand Names and Other Names of Sertraline
- This drug is registered for use in humans only.
- Human formulations: Zoloft® (Pfizer)
- Veterinary formulations: None
Uses of Sertraline for Dogs and Cats
- In dogs, sertraline is used to treat aggression, fear-based behaviors (such as storm phobia/noise phobias), anxiety-based behaviors (such as separation anxiety) and compulsive disorders (such as acral lick dermatitis/lick granuloma and compulsive tail chasing).
- In cats, sertraline is used to treat aggression, excessive fearfulness, urine marking (urine spraying), and compulsive behaviors (such as psychogenic alopecia, tail chasing and woolsucking/pica).
Precautions and Side Effects
- While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, sertraline may cause side effects in some animals.
- Sertraline should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
- Sertraline should be used with caution in patients with blood disorders, liver disease and in patients with a history of seizures.
- Its use should be discontinued in any patient that develops seizures while receiving this treatment.
- The most common adverse effects are poor appetite, lethargy, and tremors. Other side effects include agitation, itchiness, dry skin, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Sertraline may interact with other medications. Consult your veterinarian to determine if your pet is receiving medications that may interact with sertraline. Such drugs include central nervous system depressants.
How Sertraline is Supplied
- Sertraline is available in 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg tablets.
- Sertraline oral concentrate is available in a multidose 60 mL bottle. Each mL of solution contains 20 mg of sertraline. The oral concentrate must be diluted prior to administration.
Dosing Information of Sertraline for Dogs and Cats
- Medication should never be administered to an animal without first consulting your veterinarian.
- The usual dose for sertraline in dogs is 1.25 to 2.5 mg per pound (2.5 to 5.0 mg/kg) orally every 24 hours.
- The cat dose is 0.5 to 2.0 mg per pound (1.0 to 4.0 mg/kg) orally every 24 hours.
- The clinical effect may not be immediate, depending on the condition being treated.
- The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication, and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless directed otherwise by your veterinarian.