Trazodone: for more dogs,during and after hospitalization

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trazodone for dogs

Anxiety, which can turn into aggressiveness, and hyperactivity not necessarily related to anxiety, are disorders of the behavior that can affect well-being and safety of patients during the period associated with hospitalization, whether it is the hospitalization itself or the transport to the clinic and back home. in addition to sometimes significantly compromising the psychological well-being of patients (an aspect of management
the care that is still often neglected due to a lack of
of problem perception or knowledge for the
correcting), anxiety and hyperactivity can represent a danger to health and safety, both
both patients and caregivers:
- aggressiveness can lead to bites from the
medical staff;
- agitation during hospitalization can cause
environmental trauma (e. g. cages, walls,
protruding irregularities on surfaces, various objects);
- postoperative hyperactivity can cause
broken orthopedic implants (among others
surgical complications);
- anxiety can cause panting,
possibly associated with aerophagia and which may  induce gastric dilation/torsion;
- Anxiety can have long-term negative effects
on tolerance to future handling in the environment
hospital;- etc.

The treatment of anxiety associated with transportation and hospitalization should be preventive, where possible (when the visit is scheduled), and start before them, as soon as the
home. It is, therefore, necessary to have an anxiolytic drug effective, relatively safe and easy to administer for most people, which excludes drugs in front of being injected and favors oral medications. among the most important drugs conventionally used in pre-medication to calm patients, not all of them are anxiolytic:
- acepromazine: exists in oral form but is not anxiolytic, masks anxiety by sedation
(so does not change the animal's emotional state,
which makes the experience also negative for
him only if he had not received anything), can be associated with ataxia and undesirable hemodynamic effects in some patients;
- (dex)medetomidine: does not exist in the formulation oral has an anxiolytic effect but possibly associated with sedation, ataxia, and effects undesirable hemodynamics;
- diazepam: anxiolytic, available in oral form,
but can cause excitement and dysphoria when administered alone.
Antidepressant medications can represent an alternative to
reduce the level of anxietyof patients. The problem is that it is generally necessary to administer for several days before obtaining the optimal effect on behavior. Trazodone is an antidepressant drug used in therapy and which has the great advantage of having a very short period of time for action. This medication can be administered orally about two hours before the start of the treatment the period of anticipated stress, on an ad hoc basis
or in maintenance if necessary. Trazodone is also useful to reduce the level of activity (without however reduce the level of consciousness at standard doses)
hyperactive dogs during the postoperative period,
when there is a risk of negative interference with the results of the surgical procedure (e. g. implant failure - orthopedic). A study conducted in dogs
and published in August 2014 in J Am Vet Med Assoc a showed that the use of trazodone during the weeks convalescence following orthopedic surgeries improved their level of calm and tolerance to the containment.

The often effective dose is 3 mg/kg PRN to BID but may increase as necessary to 7 mg/kg or more.
Trazodone is inexpensive and available in human pharmacy (tablets of 50, 75, 100 and 150 mg). Since trazodone, like many other antidepressant drugs increase the serotonin level in the central nervous system, it drug interactions should be kept in mind with other drugs or substances with a similar effect, in order to avoid possible toxicity
(serotonin syndrome).

Preventive treatment of anxiety and hyperactivity
of patients has not yet become part of the
veterinary care, nevertheless the benefits provided by with respect to patient well-being and safety and of medical staff certainly, justify changing
our practices in order to reach a higher level in
our standards of care.

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