New products from Purina and BI target stress in veterinary patients

December 11, 2018
dvm360, dvm360 January 2019, Volume 50, Issue 1

New anxiety relief products for dogs can improve stressful situations

Canine anxiety causes stress for both pets and owners, but two new products can provide relief for this common condition. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets has launched a probiotic supplement-Calming Care-for managing anxiety, and the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine has also approved Boehringer Ingelheim's Pexion (imepitoin tablets) to treat noise aversion in dogs, according to releases from both companies.

Purina's Calming Care targets anxiety at the gut, using the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium longum (BL999). According to Purina research scientist Ragen T.S. McGowan, PhD, “Scientific evidence has shown that manipulating gut bacteria through probiotic administration can have a positive influence on anxious behavior in both rats and humans.”

The Purina Pet Care Center conducted a 15-week blinded, placebo-controlled crossover study, which administered BL999 to 24 Labrador retrievers that exhibited anxious behaviors. Over 90 percent of dogs showed improvement in their anxious behaviors over the course of the study, the release states.

“In addition, dogs in the study showed reduced salivary cortisol concentration, decreases in heart rate and increases in heart rate variability in response to various stimuli-all of which were considered physiologic evidence of improvement,” Dr. McGowan explained in the release.

To maintain calm behavior, Calming Care requires ongoing use and is packaged in sachets for once-daily administration.

Pexion, manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim, specifically treats anxious behavior caused by noise aversion. Dogs with noise aversion may become distressed after hearing loud noises like fireworks, traffic and gun shots, and they will react by hiding, vocalizing, panting, shaking or trembling, vomiting, urinating or defecating, according to the company release. 

A study of dogs that had previously demonstrated noise aversion behaviors during fireworks evaluated Pexion's effectiveness. Owners of 66 percent of the dogs receiving Pexion rated the treatment effect as excellent or good, while owners of 25 percent of dogs receiving the placebo rated the drug reported the same effect, the release notes.

Pexion is available in 100-mg or 400-mg scored tablets, and should be given to the pet twice daily beginning two days before an expected noise event-such as the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve-and continued through the event.

Common adverse reactions observed in the study include difficulty standing and walking, increased appetite, lethargy and vomiting. Of 90 dogs that received Pexion as part of the study, three pet owners reported that their dogs exhibited aggressive behaviors while taking the drug, according to the release.

Pexion will be available by prescription only.

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