BETHESDA, MARYLAND – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a troubling report which suggested that veterinarians in the U.S. are overprescribing stimulants to pets. “Medications to treat Pet Attention Deficit Disorder (PADD), such as Ritalin & Adderall, are being virtually handed out to animals,” announced NIH Director Dr. Sri-Sheshadariprativadibayankaram.
In what is being described as an “epidemic” within the animal kingdom, creatures are being brought into veterinarian clinics by their owners due to concern about their lack of attention. “We have heard cases of dogs suddenly stopping in the midst of a game of fetch to start sniffing each other’s butts,” said Dr. Sri-Sheshadariprativadibayankaram. “And don’t even get me started on cats. Approximately 99.7% of cats meet PADD diagnostic criteria employed by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA).”
Pet owners, however, passionately disagree with the grim assessment by the NIH. Ruth Parker, owner of 7 cats, offers a different perspective. “I feel like my little kitties often start, but rarely complete, tasks like swiping at yarn I dangle in front of them. And I’ve noticed that my male cats aren’t as attentive as my female cats. Sometimes they’re even hyperactive and it’s just… You know, tough on our household. Something has to be wrong with my pets,” said the tearful cat owner, before her voice trailed off, prompting her to cope with her emotions by posting another mind-numbingly useless photo of one of her cats on social media.
Dr. Sri-Sheshadariprativadibayankaram raised further questions about the Pet ADD phenomenon. “These animals are being diagnosed based on questionnaires which can easily be ‘gamed’ by the patients. For example, a vast majority of the pet respondents (other than parrots) answer a single question on the screening questionnaire, thereby qualifying them for the PADD diagnosis. And monitoring for controlled substance abuse & diversion is even more challenging because many of these animals refuse to comply with providing urine samples for drug screens. We hear reports of pets ‘accidentally’ dropping all their pills into the toilet and then their owners demanding that their veterinarians refill their prescriptions early.”
Until there are modifications made to the AMVA PADD diagnostic criteria, however, it appears that rampant stimulant use in the U.S. is simply the new norm. “Pets and their owners need to take a long look at themselves in the mirror, and I know that’s a tough pill to swallow,” offered Dr. Sri-Sheshadariprativadibayankaram.