New drug treats dogs who suffer with anxiety from loud noises

New drug treats dogs who suffer with anxiety from loud noises

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We've all heard of scaredy cats, but dogs often lose their cool when they hear loud noises. Some dogs actually develop an anxiety disorder from it.

Now there's a new drug that could help keep your canine calm.

Therese Kopiwoda says her 9-year-old border collie, Jed, is a happy pup. That is until he hears cracks of thunder. Fireworks are no picnic either.

"If I put my hand on him, I can feel his heart beating really quickly. So it's really...I mean, he's having a panic attack," said Kopiwoda.

Research shows nearly half of dog owners report similar behavior. Jed suffers from an anxiety disorder called noise aversion. Veterinarian Heidi Meier says it's brought on by loud sounds and she sees it a lot.

"Some of the dogs you might see who are exhibiting anxiety - could be ears back, panting, hyper-vigilant, excessive lip-licking, hiding,' said Meier.

But there's help. The FDA recently approved a new drug called SILEO, and it's the first drug approved to treat noise anxiety in dogs.

"The really nice thing with this particular medication is that it takes away the anxiety without causing sedation or drowsiness," said Meier.

SILEO is a gel you apply near your dog's gums. The FDA says you can give your dog SILEO up to five times during an event - saying it's "safe and effective for alleviation of acute noise aversion in dogs."

Kopiwoda used it on the Fourth of July and shot video of Jed's reaction.

"He laid still. I could tell that he heard the fireworks, but he wasn't panting really hard, ya know, he wasn't drooling," said Kopiwoda.

There are other methods for treating pups with noise aversion. Traditional anti-anxiety meds work. So do herbal remedies and compression jackets, like the Thundershirt.

Kopiwoda says she's tried most, but SILEO works the best.

"Just being able, ya know, to see him lay comfortably. It just really, it really makes me at ease and makes me feel like I'm being a better pet parent."

SILEO comes in a syringe and costs about $25. Depending on the size of your dog, each syringe can last several doses. Meier says the medicine will make some dogs vomit, but she says it's infrequent.

Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved