Saturday 28 November 2015

Canine behavioural disorders made simple

If you believe it, the drug companies have explained why their drugs work in dogs with cognitive dysfunction syndrome, separation anxiety and obesity (see The Bonkers Institute for Nearly Genuine Research).

Sunday 8 April 2012

This blog's been in abeyance for some time, but I'm prompted to post by a message on ISEPP Discussion Group linking to an article that juxtaposes Dr Stephanie Schwartz and the Russian Dog Wizard. Who would you choose for your behaviourally challenged dog?

Friday 24 April 2009

How much money can be made by patenting drugs for animal behaviour problems?

Dr Nicholas H Dodman has three patents for pharmacological solutions for people not being able to cope with their cats, avoiding the cats being put down. This is what the advertising blurb for his book The cat who cried for help says. It identifies three main types of problems in cats:

emotional behaviors such as inappropriate elimination, excessive vocalization, and clawing on furniture;
and compulsive behaviors such as hair pulling.

He says behaviours can be changed by using a combination of behaviour modification and in some cases drug therapies, so he does not just focus on medication. The emphasis is on treatment with psychoactive medications as an alternative to lethal injection.

Dr Dodman is also working with Accura Animal Health that plans to bring fluoxetine to market as the first F.D.A.-approved treatment for canine aggression. Canprazol is the trade name. The drug is designed for two significant behavioural sub-markets for companion animals encompassing the majority of behavioural problems:

(i) dominance aggression and
(ii) separation anxiety.

Unruly, destructive or aggressive behaviour as well as house soiling are said to be among the most common problems in dogs.

Dominance aggression is estimated, according to Accura Animal Health, to affect around 23 million dogs worldwide. Accura prides itself on developing the first patent protected product for the treatment of dominance aggression.

Accura is also developing a patent protected drug for companion animals for obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is based on a human product that has apparently been used for a number of years. Stereotypical animal obsessive compulsive disorders are said to be patterns of movements or behaviours which are repeated without variation and which seem to occur for no clear reason.

How much money will the patents make?

Friday 27 March 2009

Dogs get treatment with failed Alzheimer's drug

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is supposed to be caused by physical and chemical changes that affect the brain function in older dogs. Dogs with CDS may show signs of confusion and/or various other behavioral changes that are not a normal part of aging. According to, a Pfizer advertising website, Anipryl (selegiline hydrochloride) may be the answer to recapture the good times between you and your senior dog.

The website recommends that "Senior dogs should be observed more closely, because changes in normal appearance, activity and behavior all can be signs that veterinary attention may be needed. Always contact your veterinarian if you notice anything unusual in your dog's appearance or behavior."

Selegiline can be used in humans in Parkinson's disease, either alone or as adjunct to levodopa with dopa-decarboxylase inhibitor. It has been tested for use in Alzheimer's disease, but there is no evidence of any clinically meaningful effect. To quote from the Cochrane review summary, "Despite its initial promise, i.e. the potential neuroprotective properties, and its role in the treatment of Parkinson's disease, selegiline for Alzheimer's disease has proved disappointing. Although there is no evidence of a significant adverse event profile, there is also no evidence of a clinically meaningful benefit for people with Alzheimer's disease. There would seem to be no justification, therefore, to use it for Alzheimer's disease, nor for any further studies of its efficacy in Alzheimer's disease."

If it's no good in humans, why's it licensed in dogs? I suppose this means it at least has a market.

Saturday 21 February 2009

Bugs and beasts before the law

Nicholas Humphrey wrote the forward for a 1987 edition of this 1906 book and elaborated it for an chapter in a book.

I think some powerful influences escaped Health and Safety laws when there weren't any and blamed it on animals.

We often act as if animals had thoughts, feelings and desires that resemble those of people. Still not a reason to give them antidepressants.

Friday 6 February 2009

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Off label use of Eli Lilly drugs

I hope Eli Lilly haven't been promoting Reconcile for off label use because they have been with olanzapine (in humans). See BMJ story.

Silly thought?

Is the reason why drug companies are moving so much into the animal market because they are not making much in humans anymore?

Monday 26 January 2009

Mad not bad

If your dog may do one or several of the following:

Chew destructively
Bark or whine
Inappropriate urination and/or defecation
… or worse

it is not bad but has separation anxiety.

So says Eli Lilly and company.

They reckon that "separation anxiety results when your pet becomes so upset by your absence the stress causes him to behave badly". Their own research shows that "separation anxiety affects 10.7 million or 17 percent of dogs in the United States" and that "veterinarians estimate nearly 60 percent of cases go undiagnosed". There's no academic reference for this data. For animals the findings do not seem to have to be subject to peer-review in journals before they are quoted as facts. Further evidence that animals are getting a worse deal about antidepressants than humans.

How do you reconcile this?

Eli Lilly, the manufacturers of Reconcile, state that "separation anxiety is a clinical condition in your dog's brain". Drug companies are usually more circumspect about making this claim in humans. They generally admit that the theory that mental disorders are caused by chemical imbalance is merely a hypothesis. They suggest that disorders like depression may be caused by an imbalance of chemical messengers in the brain and there may be a problem in depression with the balance of the serotonin system that affects the cell to cell communication (my emphasis). Of course, many people, both doctors and patients, go further by acting as though this hypothesis is true. Why are Eli Lilly so much more certain about this hypothesis with animals? Perhaps it doesn't matter if they are wrong. All the more reason for this campaign.

As with Clomicalm, the evidence is that Reconcile is only effective with behaviour modification. So it may not work on its own. And yet the FDA has licensed it. Doesn't the FDA understand about amplified placebo effects? Next step please to call the FDA to account.

Sunday 25 January 2009

Packaged facts

Packaged Facts say "the U.S. market for pet medications is going gangbusters ... companies are now branching out with new consumer-targeted pet medications, such as ... Eli Lilly’s Reconcile for separation anxiety." Their report only costs $3300 to download online. It's not worth that much to me.

Any information about American Pet Products Association?

American Pet Products Association

Anyone know anything about Novartis marketing strategy?

NY Times story about Pill-popping pets. The advantage of treating pets with antidepressants is that it avoids euthanasia.

New blog

Two posts on the Critical psychiatry blogspot led to this offshoot blog. One was about a parrot treated with antidepressants after its owner died. The other was about Jacques Chirac being rushed to hospital after he was bitten by his dog. It transpired that the Chirac's dog had been treated with antidepressants.

These incidents have led to the setting up of an unfunded, unaffiliated campaign. Please let me know what you see as being the key issues and become a follower of this blog.