America: Land of Doggy Doping

The business of pet pharmacology is booming
By Lev Weinstein,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2008 7:07 AM CDT
America: Land of Doggy Doping
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis produces Reconcile, an anti-anxiety medication for the canine set.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt)

Americans spent $49 billion on their pets last year, with an ever-growing percentage paying for treatment of  behavioral issues with tailor-made psychotropics, reports James Vlahos in the New York Times Magazine. Frustrated owners are feeding dogs drugs like Reconcile—beef-flavored Prozac—-for "mental illnesses that eerily resemble human ones," from separation anxiety to compusive disorder. There are even doggy diet pills.

"Owners want their pets to be more like little well-behaved children," says one industry observer.  "People always want the magic pill,"  a veterinarian adds. For some, however, drugs may be the only thing saving a beloved out-of-control animal from euthanasia. "It's a lifesaving thing," says another vet. (More medicating pets stories.)

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