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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that its Center for Veterinary Medicine has approved Pexion, a Boehringer Ingelheim prescription pet medication that can be used to treat noise aversion in dogs.

This anxiety medication for dogs is intended for dogs who are “sensitive to loud noises such as fireworks, street/traffic noises and gun shots,” according to the news release.

Common symptoms of noise aversion in dogs include hiding, vocalizing, panting, shaking or trembling, vomiting, urinating or defecating on the spot.

In an effectiveness trial using 90 client-owned dogs that have previously displayed noise aversion behaviors, the use of Pexion as a treatment for loud noise events was tested. Each dog was given either Pexion or a placebo twice daily for two days prior to New Year’s Eve firework displays and then continued treatment through the holiday.

The owners were responsible for evaluating the overall effects the medication had on their dog and scored their pet’s reaction to the noises as well as recorded any side effects they witnessed. The trial found that 66 percent of the owners with dogs who took Pexion scored the treatment as excellent or good.

According to the FDA’s release, the most common adverse reactions seen by dog owners were ataxia (difficulty walking or standing), increased appetite, lethargy and vomiting. However, in three of the 90 cases, owners reported that their dog began to show signs of aggression. The FDA says, “Certain drugs used to reduce anxiety, such as Pexion, may lead to lack of self-control of fear-based behaviors and may therefore result in a change in aggression level. The label information accompanying Pexion notes the recommendation that owners should carefully observe their dogs during treatment.”

American Veterinarian reports that, in Europe, this drug has already been approved as an alternative therapy to reduce seizure frequency in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. However, there has been an application submitted to expand the Pexion label in Europe for the treatment of noise-related anxiety as well.

Pexion will be available by prescription at a pet pharmacy, and you will need a licensed veterinarian to determine if Pexion is the appropriate treatment for your dog.

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