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Is your pet usually nervous or stressed during veterinary visits? Talk to your veterinarian to see if a PVP–pre-visit pharmaceutical–might be an option. These medications are used in addition to training, behavioral, and/or environmental modification to treat veterinary-related fear, anxiety, or stress and are not generally meant to be used as a replacement for heavy sedation that causes sleepiness.

When implemented with a behavioral treatment plan, these medications can increase the odds of a successful visit. They help reduce the stress and anxiety related to exams, new sights and smells so the veterinary team can work to change the way your pet feels during these important health visits, and you can feel more comfortable knowing your pet is less fearful. If your pet is anxious about veterinary visits, your veterinarian can recommend a plan to help make exams less stressful.

It’s also common for pets to experience stressful events at home, such as storms or fireworks. Similar to PVPs, there are several medications that your veterinarian may suggest for your pet during these events, and most are known as “quick” acting, meaning it will take about 1-2 hours to see the full effect. For most pets, the medication leaves their system within 8-12 hours.

A trial use with the medication in your pet at home prior to the stressful event so you can watch for potential side effects or negative responses may be recommended. This can allow for adjustments to the dosage or a change in medication before it’s actually needed.

After the trial, your veterinarian will want to know:

  • How soon does the medication take effect in your pet? (e.g. 1 hour)
  • What effects are seen? (e.g. less barking out the window)
  • How long did the effects last? (e.g. returned to normal behavior after 7 hours)

Share this information with your veterinarian so they can advise you on the next steps. Keep in mind that these medications will NOT create a “zombie” pet. If this is seen, this is considered an abnormal side effect, and the veterinarian should be contacted immediately.

Talk to your veterinarian for recommendations if your pet has a history of situational anxiety or stress.

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