Effects of trazodone on behavioral and physiological signs of stress in dogs during veterinary visits
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"Help us examine a drug to keep your dog calm for vet visits!"
Animal: Dogs
Age: 1-10 years
Healthy Pets: Yes
Keywords: trazodone, anxiety, veterinary
Type: Drug
22 Participants
Background and purpose
The objective of the study is to determine whether a single dose of trazodone prior to a veterinary visit, compared to placebo, is effective in reducing behavioral and physical signs of stress.

If trazodone is found to be effective, it can be used to improve both the physical, as well as emotional, health of dogs visiting veterinary clinics.
What happens in this study

We will screen for and recruit dogs with a history of displaying signs of stress and anxiety during veterinary examinations.

Dogs will be randomly assigned to receive either trazodone or placebo for the first visit. One week later the dog will receive the other treatment.

At home, the owner will measure the heart rate of the dog 3 separate times. Before the scheduled veterinary visit, the owner will give their dog the treatment (trazodone or placebo).

Upon arrival at the hospital, the researchers will place a harness with a heart rate recorder on the dog. The researcher will examine the dog and draw blood for stress hormone levels, and be evaluated for anxiety via direct and video observations.

Pet owner responsibilities

Owners will be required to bring their dog to the veterinary clinic for 2 separate visits, and give either placebo or trazodone before the visit. They will be required to measure heart rate at home. They will need to shave the hair of their dog on the chest (1X12 inches) prior to the first visit.

Participation requirements

Inclusion criteria are dogs who:

  • Are healthy and between 1 to 10 years of age
  • Weigh 5 to 45 kg (11 to 100 lbs.)
  • Have no history of seriously biting veterinary professional
  • Have no serious aggression issues
  • Have no severe car anxiety or motion sickness
  • Can tolerate being shaved and wearing a harness
Benefits and risks of participating
We will give a smart bowl valued at $50 after the second visit.

This study has been assessed to pose no significant risk to participants. Your dog may experience sedation for 6-8 hours. Your dog may exhibit stress-related behaviors associated with the veterinary visit and transport as historically noted by the owner.
Study duration and period
We expect your dog's participation in this trial to last 2 hours.
Recruitment period
From July 1, 2019
UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
1 Garrod Drive
Small Animal Clinic - Behavior
Davis, CA 95616
Research Topic
  • healthy

Have any questions or want to learn more? Leave your contact details below and the research team will reach out to you.


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