Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor, an antidepressant medication that is perhaps best known by the trade name Prozac® for humans and Reconcile® for animals. It is a common prescription used by veterinarians to treat a variety of behavioral problems and other conditions in cats and dogs.

Veterinary Uses for Fluoxetine

Fluoxetine is most commonly used by veterinarians to treat dogs and cats suffering from certain behavioral problems, such as separation anxiety, aggression, territorial urination and obsessive compulsive disorder. Another use for this medication is as an alternative treatment for itchiness for cases in which more conventional treatments have proved ineffective.

How Is Fluoxetine Supplied?

Fluoxetine is only available with a prescription from a veterinarian. The medication is available under the brand name as well as various generic and compounded formulations, which can be obtained through a veterinary compounding pharmacy. Fluoxetine can be compounded in oral tablet, capsule, transdermal gel, chewable tablet and liquid form and in a wide range of concentrations.

In order for Fluoxetine to work as intended, it is very important to follow the prescribed directions. If a dose is missed, administer as soon as it is remembered, or if it is too close to the next scheduled dose, just re-start the schedule with the next dose. Do not administer a double dose in order to make up for the missed dose.

Fluoxetine Possible Side Effects and Precautions

Fluoxetine is safe and effective for use in veterinary medicine as long as it is administered under the guidance of a veterinarian. However, some animals may experience certain side effects. Heavy panting, shaking, restlessness, loss of appetite, lethargy or hyperactivity and general nausea are among the possible side effects. If the animal ingests an abnormally large dose, seizure may occur.

This medication should be avoided in animals that have exhibited an allergic reaction to it previously. It should also be avoided in animals with a known history of seizures.

Fluoxetine may interact with some medications including digoxin, buspirone, phenylbutazone, diazepam and monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as selegiline. To prevent or reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction, it is vital to discuss the animal’s drug regimen with the treating veterinarian.