Reid found this LAT piece entitled "Fido's Little Helper," a reference to the growing trend in giving psychoactive medications to pets. Laugh, but we do buy them sweaters. And last week I saw a commercial for a gourmet cat food with parsley in it. Parsely!
So, Prozac and parsley. I don't want to know what's next.
But I'm posting on this to admit that my wife and I actually gave a dose of Prozac (under veterinary supervision) to our late kitty, Tiny Shorts. It wasn't just her name that made her crazy; she was ticky right from the start. We found Tiny abandoned in an office air conditioning vent at about ten days of age. We raised her and enjoyed her peculiar ways until last year, when she died of kidney failure.
On most days, Tiny Shorts was an ordinary cat. But about three times a year, she would flip out and spend several days buried under the covers of the guest bed, refusing to eat or even move. This was alarming, and especially distressing to my wife. But it didn't stop me from dropping the word "catatonic" into the conversation at least once a day.
As one such episode stretched nearly into a week, we knew we needed to do something. We had guests coming for the weekend. Our vet suggested this medication, which we used and which seemed to do the trick. She may have come out of it on her own; we don't know.
Knowing Patrick would have something interesting to say about all this, Reid cc'd him. Patrick writes:
"My best friend in college was a huge muscular Chippewa Indian fellow (a very gentle soul) who was a psych major and he made cats schizophrenic by randomly shocking them when they went for the food bowl. The experiment, as I recall, had to do with mental illness, consistency, and rewards. I just remember thinking it was wrong, and being surprised that animals could be made nuts so quickly by such a relatively small stress.
"When I first got Jack Russell terriers, and laser light pointers came out, I was told to never play a laser light on the floor as the Russells would chase it -- they are very prone Compulsive Disorder. Sure enough, a few years ago I was at a friend's house and he had two Russells that chased shadows and imaginary shapes on the carpet. Yow!
"Right now, almost all of the drug companies that make anti-schizophrenia medications are under investigation for illegal off-label marketing of their drugs to dementia patients. The drug do not help dementia, but an alzheimer patient is not likely to complain, and Medicare and Medicaid will foot the bill. About a billion dollars (at least) in False Claims Act settlements are stacked up behind these frauds, which stand as proof that the drug companies will sell anything to anyone (even a dog) if they can make a buck. That said, see points one and two above -- some animals really ARE nuts, and really do need meds. This statement may or may not refer to people in my immediate family. :)"