As more and more reports roll in of city shelters inundated with dogs that ran away due to the noise from New Year's Eve fireworks, it's no wonder the first FDA-approved noise anxiety drug for dogs is gaining in popularity. Sileo, approved by the FDA in May 2016, promises to ease your dog's noise anxiety for a few hours.
Unfortunately, it doesn't come without its risks, and what vets are saying will probably make you think twice before trying it out on your anxious pooch.
While Sileo seems to offer the ideal quick-fix for your nervous pet, vets are warning homeowners to think twice before using it without vet assistance.
In an interview with ABC Action News, Dr. Christy Layton of Timberlane Pet Hospital and Resort in Plant City, Florida, explained why Sileo may be calming dogs, but it's only giving vets reason to be anxious.
"We use it very cautiously here simply because it does have a very significant affect on the heart rate," Layton said of Sileo, "and so we always worry about that, especially in an at-home setting."
The dangerous possibility of slowing down the heart rate causes vets like Layton to fear an at-home overdose, which could result in death.
"Sileo, aka dexmedetomidine, has a low risk of complications, but those complications are serious," Barchas explained. "I'm not yet ready to prescribe it for at-home use."
He added, "Sileo is a new product, and it is the first product that is FDA-approved for the treatment of noise phobia in dogs. However, it is not a new drug at all. Rather, it is a new formulation of a drug that has been around for quite some time — dexmedetomidine."
Dexmedetomidine is used as a sedative and has pain-killing properties. In fact, it's considered so safe that variants are even used on people. But Barchas warns about reading the fine print here — safe under the supervision of a doctor. Barchas believes Sileo is perfectly safe under a vet's supervision, but when it is taken home, things could get complicated.
If an overdose does occur, without a vet's assistance, the dog's life could absolutely be at risk.
Until further testing is done about its safety at home, Barchas said he doesn't intend to prescribe Sileo.
Sileo is a gel in a syringe that is administered between your dog's gum and cheeks for quick absorption. It is not meant to be swallowed, according to the directions, as swallowing can make it ineffective. If your dog does swallow the gel, administration should not be attempted again for two hours.
Normandale Vet Hospital in Minnesota shared a helpful YouTube instructional video about the proper way to give your dog Sileo.
Before trying Sileo, we recommend trying other solutions that are proven safe and effective.
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