Animal Welfare Professionals

  • 1.  Trazodone in the shelter

    Posted 10-29-2021 08:51 PM
      |   view attached
    Hello all-

    Is anyone using trazodone in the shelter for 2-3 days after intake? Is anyone familiar with this paper?
    #Behavior,TrainingandEnrichment

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    Christine D. Calder DVM
    Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
    Calder Veterinary Behavior Services
    www.caldervbs.com

    Veterinary Behaviorist
    Behavior Specialist, MPF
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  • 2.  RE: Trazodone in the shelter

    Posted 10-30-2021 09:00 AM
    We do.  Yes I'm familiar with it.  Most well known behavior experts are on the fence on if it actually impacts anxiety long term.  

    Carol Sumbry  ACDBC, CPDT-KA

    Associated Certified Behavior Consultant/Certified Dog Trainer 


    Sent from iPhone 





  • 3.  RE: Trazodone in the shelter

    Posted 10-30-2021 09:25 AM
    Hi Carol,

    Thank you for your reply!

    Trazodone is not typically used as a long-term medication when treating anxiety. It really should only be used situationally or sometimes we will use it in conjunction with other long-term medications such as an SSRI for long-term use. 

    If trazodone is needed daily then a longer acting medication should be considered instead (SSRI or TCA).  You will get less variability in behavior with a maintenance medication in those situations. 

    Here is another study that looked at nocturnal behavior is shelter dogs:

    van der Laan, J. E., Vinke, C. M., van der Borg, J. A. M., & Arndt, S. S. (2021). Restless nights? Nocturnal activity as a useful indicator of adaptability of shelter housed dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 105377.

    The above study found that dogs tended to be more restless the first 2 nights at the shelter compared to day 12 and more restless overall compared to pet dogs kept in the home.  Trazodone for the first few days may help these dogs sleep better in the shelter environment reducing anxiety and stress while improving welfare. 


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    Christine D. Calder DVM
    Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
    Calder Veterinary Behavior Services
    www.caldervbs.com

    Veterinary Behaviorist
    Behavior Specialist, MPF
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  • 4.  RE: Trazodone in the shelter

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 11-01-2021 10:14 PM
    Hi Christine,

    There were some challenges with that trazodone study which limit my confidence in the results.  First, they only administered one to two doses. We know that previous studies show that dogs are significantly stressed for more than 24 hours after admission, so i question the feasibility of the trazodone being the cause of the effects found in the study.  

    Second, they compared dogs from different years, not a control group within the same time period.  There are so many other things that could have resulted in  changes in # of ill dogs and length of stay in the shelter.   

    So, while i appreciate the work that they did, the results don't make me confident that we should be giving trazodone to all dogs on intake, for 1-2 doses.   But i do like trazodone as aid for shelter stress associated with intake. 

    Sheila

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    Sheila Segurson, DVM
    Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
    Maddie's Fund
    9258608284
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  • 5.  RE: Trazodone in the shelter

    Posted 11-01-2021 10:22 PM

    Sheila,
    Sounds like we need to do another study. :)
    We we're administering for 7 days upon intake. In some dogs it helped tremendously and others no so much. 
    Christine



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    Christine D. Calder DVM
    Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
    Calder Veterinary Behavior Services
    www.caldervbs.com

    Veterinary Behaviorist
    Behavior Specialist, MPF
    ------------------------------