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Indications To Do A Behavior Medical Workup

Behavior Medicine Workup

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Putting the Treats in Treatments - Becker

- Offering Behavior Medicine -

Behavior Medication
Placebo Introduction
To say a medication is "compounded" means the pharmacy has made a "custom preparation", usually of multiple (compound) components.  One type of compounded medication is mixed inside a pet "cookie".  The slogan is "We put the Treat in Treatment."  The word "placebo" means the pill or cookie has everything but the medication.

The most common approach is to order a one month supply of medication, plus a set (6) of placebos of the same flavor.  (Chicken, Beef, Liver, tuna, or fish).  If the pet is known to be "finicky" then order a set (about 6) of each flavor you think will work.  For REALLY finicky pets, some owners order only the placebos for testing, but the shipping cost is the same to include the medication.  Judgment call.  We recommend a one month supply so you can get started, and by the time you have used 2 weeks, you will need to order a 2 month supply to allow time for shipping and handling.

When first starting medication, we recommend you start with the placebo alone (of the same flavor as the medication), at the same time of day (usually in the morning).  For the placebos, ideally you would give it in the evening as well to fit in more repetitions.  If the pet readily "gobbles" the cookie, you can move to the medication after one day.  For most pets we recommend giving the placebo twice a day for 3 days to establish a routine.  Then start the medicated cookies.

The reason to do this is that many of the medications are slightly bitter.  If you don't use the placebos first, you won't know if it was the taste of the medication, or the cookie that was rejected.  By giving the placebos first, the pet is in a routine, and if the pet rejects the medicated cookie, we know it was the taste of the medication.  If that occurs, then test or order a set of several other placebos to see if you can find one the pet particularly likes - maybe enough to accept the medication.  The other alternatives are to try putting rejected pills into other food like cheese or tuna.  You can try dissolving the rejected medicated treat into some soup, or mash it into some other food.  Try to make it as easy as possible to repeat every day.


There is one other consideration.  YOUR body language.  When giving either the placebo test, or the medication, the pet will be interpret your body language.  Be sure to smile, and act relaxed.  Use the same body language you would for any other treat.


Other options are having the medication compounded into a liquid to mix with some other liquid food; or the pill or liquid can be put directly into the mouth but some dogs or cats fight this, and it impacts the bond.  "Transdermal" means the compound pharmacy puts (a new batch) of the medication into a different carrier agent that you smear on a hairless area of skin (usually the inside of the ear flap) and the carrier helps the medication move through the skin, and into the bloodstream.  This is relatively unreliable since the skin's major function is as a barrier.

By giving the placebos first, the pet gets into a routine. Then if the pet rejects the medicated "cookie," we know the reason is the taste of the medication.

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