Motion Sickness

imgresDoes your pet get motion sickness during car rides? The signs of motion sickness in dogs and cats are drooling, and vomiting. Sometimes it is accompanied by anxious behaviors such as excess vocalization, pacing and panting. Motion sickness occurs when conflicting signals from the eyes and inner ear are sent to the brain. The result is varying degrees of nausea. So what can we do about it? In cases where anxiety is the suspect cause you can try behavior modification. This involves desensitization or getting the pet used to the car. This can be done by bringing the pet to the car for short periods of time. Once the pet sees that nothing bad is going to happen you can gradually increase the amount of time in the car and begin taking short drives working your way up to a drive to the vet or groomer. If behavior modification doesn’t work there are several different medications to chose from. Benadryl is a safe and inexpensive option. This is a good option to start with. Side effects include sedation and rarely hyperactivity. Another option is Diazepam, also know as Valium. This medication is indicated where anxiety is a big factor. Valium can cause sedation and increased appetite. Valium needs to be used with caution in cats as some cats can develop liver disease as a rare but serious side effect. Acepromazine is another option. Acepromazine is a tranquilizer but also helps prevent nausea associated with motion sickness. It is great for long car rides or plane trips. It needs to be used with caution in older animals because it lowers blood pressure. It does cause significant sedation so physical activity is usually out of the question for the day. If using this medication for a long car or plane trip a trial dosing is recommended at home a few days before to make sure the pet handles it ok. A very small percentage of animals will become aggressive on Acepromazine. Another option is Dramamine. Dramamine can cause mild sedation. If you want to avoid sedation then Cerenia is a great option. In additon to being an effective medication for vomiting Cerenia is the only approved medication for the prevention of motion sickness in dogs,. For more information on Cerenia check out: . If you are planning on traveling with your pets it is always a good idea to plan ahead. If you feel that your pet may need medication for motion slickness contact your veterinarian to discuss available options.


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