Fear Free Pre-Visit Pharmaceuticals

As part of our commitment to Fear Free medicine, the NSVH team may prescribe anti-anxiety medication(s) to help make your pet more comfortable with their veterinary visits.

These medications were prescribed to make your pet more comfortable about his/her visit to the vet and to decrease your pet’s fear of specific procedures such as vaccines, blood draws and nail trims.

Is this medication a sedative?

This medication was NOT prescribed to sedate your pet. While some sedation can be a normal side effect, the primary function is to decrease your pet’s fear and anxiety so he/she can have a pleasant, Fear Free experience.

What should I expect?

There are many types of anti-anxiety medications and a wide variety of doses. Individual animals will respond differently to medications. As a result, we can see a range of normal responses from our pets. Once your pet takes this medication, in addition to a decrease in anxiety you may see any of the following: drowsiness, dilated pupils, elevated third eyelids, slow movements, reluctance to move around, wanting to nap, and a slight instability walking (particularly up or down stairs.) Although uncommon, occasionally pets may be more sensitive to these medications, leading to some more noticeable side effects such as substantial drowsiness that may last for several hours, mild urinary incontinence (leaking or accidents), hyperactivity, pacing, whining or agitation.

If present, do not be alarmed! Any side effects should resolve over the course of the day and these medications are extremely safe and used frequently. Please don’t hesitate to call and let us know if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s response.

My pet seems really sleepy after the first dose. Should I still give him/her the same dose as prescribed for the next morning?

YES! It is normal for your pet to seem very tired/lethargic at home. Once your pet returns to NSVH, adrenaline may “override” the effects of the PVP’s. Therefore, it is important to give the exact doses at the exact times written on your pet’s prescription label for maximum effectiveness.

How do I know if the medication is going to work?

We recommend doing a “trial run” with the medication at home, to gauge how your pet responds before their next veterinary visit. It is recommended that you give the medication as directed, and see how your pet responds to something that would normally cause him/her stress or anxiety. If your pet still seems anxious, then we may need to increase or adjust the medications before the next veterinary visit.

What if it doesn’t work?

Due to the individual responses and the variety of medications and doses, we do not always get the response we are looking for the first time. In these situations, your veterinary team will discuss with you the next. We will create a plan that works for your pet’s unique needs.

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