Antidepressants are medications that are very common in many households. These medications are usually prescribed to treat depression and other conditions in humans. It’s also used in veterinary medicine to treat dogs and cats.
But what happens if you accidentally drop one and your dog eats it?
What is in Zoloft?
Zoloft, also known as sertraline, is an antidepressant medicine that used to treat a number of health issues including depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, and more. Sertraline works to improve mood, sleep, appetite, and improve energy levels. It can also help to relieve fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts, and more.
This type of antidepressant is called an SSRI, which is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. SSRIs are used to increase the levels of serotonin (which is a type of neurotransmitter) in the brain. Rather than being reabsorbed, serotonin is made available to carry messages between neurons. This is the way Zoloft and other SSRIs work to relieve depression and other conditions.
Zoloft, or sertraline, is also used in veterinary medicine. It’s used to treat such issues as aggression, anxiety, compulsive behaviors, and more. The doses are smaller than those recommended for humans.
Antidepressant Poisoning in Dogs
It can happen that your dog accidentally finds a pill that was dropped, and then eats it. Or he could even gain access to his own medication and eat too much.
Either way, Zoloft can poison dogs if the dose is too large. In fact, SSRIs are one of the most common poisonings in dogs.
Symptoms of Sertraline Poisoning in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has ingested too much Zoloft:
- Uncoordinated movements (your dog may walk as if they’re drunk)
Diagnosis & Treatment of Zoloft Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog has ingested Zoloft, then it’s a good idea to call the vet immediately. No matter if your dog swallowed one of your pills, or one of his own, you need to call the vet. The issue is that your human dose of sertraline will be an overdose for your dog.
The same goes if your dog takes this medication but has eaten the pill too close to his normal dose. That’s also an overdose.
Once at the vet, they may choose to induce vomiting. This helps to get the medication out of the dog’s system. Another way to help your dog get rid of the medication is through gastric lavage or an enema.
Next, the vet will perform a physical exam, and may also order blood tests. Your vet may also do an EKG to check your dog’s heart.
After this treatment will involve getting the medication out of your dog’s system (as mentioned earlier). When your dog is stable, the vet may want to keep him overnight for observation. They’ll monitor your dog to make sure he’s doing OK and has no other harmful symptoms.
Most dogs recover fairly well once the medication is out of their system. The key here is to get treatment as soon as possible after a dog’s swallowed a pill. Dog’s who receive fast treatment have the best prognosis for a long, happy life.