Are you concerned about your pet’s wellbeing? You’re not alone. As a proud pet owner, it can be concerning to know that antidepressant medications may be harmful to our pets. In recent years there have been reports of antidepressant toxicity in pets which have left many people wondering if these medications are safe or even necessary for the overall health of their animal companion. Thankfully, research is helping us understand more about antidepressants and how they affect our pets. Read below to learn about the potential risks associated with giving antidepressants to animals so you can make an informed decision on whether or not they are right for your beloved pet.
How Can Antidepressants Affect Pets?
Antidepressants are typically a class of medication called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or SSRIs. This type of medication can be used in veterinary medicine to address behavioral problems in animals. While it can be an effective treatment for some animals, for others even regulated doses can result in moderate to severe clinical signs. With accidental ingestion or overdose, sedation or central nervous stimulation, lethargy, and anorexia can be seen. With larger doses, serotonin syndrome can be seen. Serotonin syndrome is caused by medications that build up elevated levels of serotonin in the body.
Antidepressant Poisoning Symptoms
If a pet ingests a large dosage of antidepressants, they can experience poisoning. Potential signs to watch out for include:
- CNS sedation or stimulation
- Abdominal pain
- Dilated pupils
If your pet has accidentally ingested or overdosed on antidepressants, contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for immediate medical assistance. Transport your pet to the veterinary clinic so they can receive treatment. Treatment will include your veterinarian inducing vomiting. If needed, your pet will be sedated. IV fluids will be provided to address dehydration. Thermoregulation and, if appropriate, cooling measures will be conducted. Supportive and symptomatic care will be given after initial treatment is administered.