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At a Glance
Helps older dogs with behavioral problems associated with old age
Manages symptoms associated with Cushingโ€™s Disease
Once a day dosage


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At a Glance
Helps older dogs with behavioral problems associated with old age
Manages symptoms associated with Cushingโ€™s Disease
Once a day dosage

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Comprehensive Guide to Selegiline

Meet the Aged Behavioral Problem Manager: Selegiline!

Selegiline is a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) that manages behavioral problems associated with middle-aged and older dogs, such as Parkinson's disease, Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (senility), and Cushing's Disease. Selegiline is a daily oral tablet for both dogs and cats.

How does Selegiline work?

As a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), Selegiline helps in significantly enhancing the concentration of a nervous system messenger chemical known as dopamine, which is used to treat cognitive dysfunction (caused by aging), anxiety, and phobias in animals. Higher levels of dopamine stimulate brain receptors and cognitive processes.

Selegiline contains several ingredients - selegiline hydrochloride, citric acid, lactose monohydrate, maize starch, magnesium stearate, povidone, and talc. Selegiline Hydrochloride (HCL) is an antidepressant that treats Parkinson's disease and depression.

Maize starch in pet foods aids those pets that are suffering from corn allergy. Povidone is a topical cleanser that supports the healing of wounds and skin irritations. Magnesium stearate, povidone, and talc are natural additives. Citric acid is a common additive and a natural functional compound for pet health and wellness.

How is Selegiline administered?

Selegiline is a 5 mg tablet or capsule that is administered orally once a day with or without food. Dogs are usually given in the morning and cats in the evening.

The recommended starting dosage for treating Cushing's disease is .45 mg per pound which is taken in the morning. The recommended starting dosage for Canine C.D.S. is usually .20 to .45 mg per pound.

It may take one month to show significant improvement; however, if no improvement is seen in two months, increase the medication's dosage to .90 mg per pound. Consult your veterinarian for any specifics and adjustments for administration.

What are the potential side effects of which you should be aware?

Selegiline's common adverse reactions include vomiting, disorientation, aggression, hearing loss, decreased appetite, hair loss, trembling, or diarrhea. Overdose symptoms are hypersalivation, panting, or dehydration. Immediately, consult a veterinarian or emergency clinic if any above side effects or any allergic reactions occur.

What are the precautions of which you should be aware?

Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications, vitamins, or supplements that your pet is taking.

The following animals have not prescribed Selegiline:

  • Those that are allergic to it

  • Those that are pregnant or lactating

  • Those that have Cushing's disease

  • Those have a pituitary tumor

  • Those that are taking SSRI antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants, narcotics, or other MAOIs

  • Those that have an adrenal gland-based Cushing's disease

  • Those that are aggressive pets

Frequently asked Questions
What Is Selegiline?

Selegiline is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. It's a medicine used to treat cognitive dysfunction in dogs and also cats. Vets also prescribe it for pituitary-dependent Cushing's Disease; however, there are no reports to prove its effectiveness.

Selegiline is an effective medication to treat canine cognitive dysfunction associated with aging. Usual symptoms include lack of responsiveness, reduced general awareness, unlearning habits, and memory loss. If you see such signs in your dog, visit the vet as soon as possible to treat the condition.

Does Selegiline Work for Dogs?

Selegiline or L-Deprenyl is the only medication approved by FDA for canine cognitive dysfunction in dogs. While the medication has been proven to help dogs with this dysfunction, the effect varies from dog to dog. Some dogs may show improvement as early as four weeks, and some may take up to 12 weeks. The good news is that most dogs show some improvement in just four weeks, with continued improvement as time passes.

Technically, Selegiline doesn't cure canine cognitive dysfunction but is intended to improve the quality of life for both the dog and the parent. The medicine does this by increasing dopamine levels. Selegiline for dogs is also approved for treating Pituitary Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism (PDH) caused by a pituitary tumor.

What Is Selegiline Used to Treat?

Selegiline is an oral prescription medication meant to treat senility and cognitive dysfunction in dogs. Notably, Selegiline is the only drug approved by the FDA to treat senility in dogs. Vets also prescribe medication to treat Cushing's disease induced by a pituitary tumor. The medicine falls under the antidepressant classification and is designed to improve the quality of life for the dog. It does so by increasing the dopamine levels in the brain.

What Class of Antidepressants Is Selegiline?

Selegiline is classified as Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors or MAOI. The medication works by increasing the level of dopamine in the brain. For the uninitiated, dopamine is a natural substance required to control movement.

Selegiline is a low-cost, generic form of Anipryl for use in dogs. The medicine is metabolized into methamphetamine, amphetamine, and L-desmethylselegiline. In higher dosages, the medication also inhibits MAO-A, which may result in some anti-anxiety results.

Due to the nature of the medication, Selegiline should not be used with Amitraz, which is also an MAO inhibitor and a bunch of other medications. Some examples of medications to be avoided with Selegiline are Bupropion, Tramadol, Ephedrine, tricyclic, and tetracyclic antidepressants.

What Are the Side Effects of Selegiline?

There are several side-effects of Selegiline in dogs ranging from mild to severe. The most common side effects of Selegiline are vomiting and diarrhea. If these side effects persist, stop administering the drug for a few days and then start again at a lower dose.

There are also nervous system stimulation side effects like restlessness, salivation, repetitive behavior, and hyperactivity. Some rare side effects include trembling, shivering, pruritus, and deafness.

Does Selegiline Cause Hair Loss?

No, Selegiline doesn't cause hair loss in dogs, which is a common misconception. Hair loss is not listed in the side effects caused by the medication. The medication is used for canine Cushing's dysfunction, which causes hair loss, thin or fragile skin, recurrent skin infections, and more. In case your dog is experiencing hair loss after administering Selegiline, consult a veterinarian immediately.

What's the Difference between Selegiline and Rasagiline?

Selegiline and Rasagiline are both classified as MAO-B inhibitors and licensed as such in North America. Selegiline and Rasagiline are both relatively selective and irreversible, with significant differences in their metabolites. While Selegiline is metabolized into amphetamine derivatives, Rasagiline metabolizes into aminoindane.

The difference between the two is that Rasagiline is around 10 times more potent than Selegiline in inhibiting MAO-B. The higher potency of Rasagiline is balanced through dose adjustments. For example, the approved daily dose for Selegiline is 5-10mg, whereas it's 1mg for Rasagiline.

Can Selegiline and Cabergoline Be Used Together?

Cabergoline and Selegiline can be used together as they don't have any chemical interaction. However, it's always best to consult a vet before administering any drug to your pet. Cabergoline is a dopamine-2 receptor agonist with anti-prolactin effects. It's useful for dogs showing signs of pseudopregnancy and post-spay aggression due to high levels of prolactin.

How Long Does It Take for Selegiline to Work in Dogs?

Selegiline hydrochloride is usually administered once a day for two months, and if the condition doesn't improve during this time, the dosage is doubled for an additional month. If you don't see an improvement in your dog's condition even after that, your vet would suggest some other form of treatment.

According to recent data, most dogs show improvement after a month of medication, and some take only a few days or weeks. Most often, dogs continue to show progress for the first three months.

Concluding Thoughts

The most important thing that you should know about Selegiline is that it treats behavioral problems and cognitive dysfunction, such as Parkinson's disease, Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, and Cushing's Disease, caused by your pet's aging.

DISCLAIMER: FDA law restricts Selegiline only on order or prescription of a licensed veterinarian for the best pet health care advice. Ask your veterinarian or consult with one of our pet care specialists at 1-800-844-1427, if this is a suitable product for your pet and your home. This informative article is not meant to substitute for the diagnosis, treatment, and professional advice from your veterinarian or other qualified professionals regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website. Our medications are FDA-approved and/or EPA regulated when and as required by law.

  • Epilepsy & Neural Health Pharmacy
  • Senior Life Stage
  • Oral Application
  • Cat Pet Type
  • Dog Pet Type

Why is my older dog misbehaving all of a sudden?

Older dogs may develop medical conditions that can affect their behavior. Pain, discomfort, or cognitive decline could lead to changes in their behavior. It's a good idea to take your dog to the vet for a thorough examination to rule out any underlying health problems. Dogs are creatures of habit, and any sudden changes in their routine or environment can cause stress and anxiety. This could include changes in the household, such as the addition of a new pet or family member, moving to a new home, or changes in their daily schedule. These changes can disrupt their sense of security and lead to behavioral issues. As dogs age, they may experience cognitive decline similar to human dementia. This condition, known as canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) or doggy Alzheimer's, can result in disorientation, confusion, changes in sleep patterns, and altered behavior. Older dogs still need mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If their daily routine lacks regular exercise, playtime, and mental enrichment, they may exhibit restlessness, boredom, and destructive behavior. Older dogs can develop separation anxiety, especially if they have been used to constant companionship or have experienced recent changes in their living situation. They may exhibit destructive behavior when left alone or show signs of distress when their owners are away. It's possible that your dog's misbehavior is a result of a breakdown in communication or a lack of consistent training. Older dogs may forget or become less responsive to commands they once knew, or they may simply need a refresher course on proper behavior.

How do you treat senior dog anxiety?

Treating senior dog anxiety involves a combination of management strategies, environmental adjustments, and medication. Provide a secure and comfortable space for your senior dog. This could include a designated area with their bed, toys, and familiar items. Make sure they have a quiet retreat where they can go when they feel anxious or overwhelmed. Dogs thrive on routine, and it can help reduce anxiety in senior dogs. Stick to a regular schedule for meals, walks, playtime, and other activities. Predictability and structure can provide a sense of security for your dog. Engage your senior dog in regular mental and physical exercise. This can include puzzle toys, interactive games, short walks, or gentle play sessions. Mental stimulation helps keep their minds active and reduces anxiety. Employ calming techniques such as gentle massages, music designed for dogs, aromatherapy, or the use of anxiety wraps or shirts. These techniques can help promote relaxation and alleviate anxiety symptoms. In severe cases of anxiety, medication prescribed by a veterinarian may be necessary. Anti-anxiety medications or supplements can help alleviate anxiety symptoms and improve your dog's overall well-being. Selegiline, also known as L-deprenyl, is primarily used for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) in dogs, which is similar to Alzheimer's disease in humans. While selegiline is primarily used for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) in dogs, there is some evidence to suggest that it may have a secondary effect in reducing anxiety. Selegiline acts by inhibiting the breakdown of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine. It can potentially have a positive impact on mood and anxiety levels in dogs by increasing dopamine levels.

How long does a dog live with Cushing's disease?

The life expectancy of a dog with Cushing's disease can vary depending on several factors, including the underlying cause of the disease, the age and overall health of the dog, and the effectiveness of treatment. There are two main types of Cushing's disease in dogs: pituitary-dependent Cushing's disease (PDH) and adrenal-dependent Cushing's disease (ADH). PDH is the more common form, accounting for about 80-85% of cases, and it typically has a better prognosis compared to ADH. The mainstay of treatment for Cushing's disease in dogs involves medications that help control the overproduction of cortisol. The two commonly used medications are trilostane and mitotane. Trilostane works by inhibiting the enzymes involved in cortisol production, while mitotane selectively destroys the cortisol-producing cells in the adrenal glands. Selegiline (L-deprenyl) can be used to manage some symptoms associated with Cushing's disease in dogs, particularly polyuria (excessive urination) and polydipsia (excessive thirst) commonly seen in affected dogs. Selegiline is an irreversible selective monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B) inhibitor. By inhibiting MAO-B, selegiline increases dopamine levels in the brain, which can have a positive effect on water balance and reduce the excessive water intake and urination seen in dogs with Cushing's disease.

What is the behavior of a dog with Cushing's?

Dogs with Cushing's disease may exhibit various behavioral changes due to the hormonal imbalances caused by the excessive production of cortisol. Dogs with Cushing's disease often experience polydipsia (excessive thirst) and polyuria (excessive urination). They may need to go outside more frequently or have accidents in the house. Many dogs with Cushing's disease develop an increased appetite, known as polyphagia. They may appear constantly hungry and may beg for food or scavenge more than usual. Some dogs with Cushing's disease may exhibit restlessness, pacing, or an inability to settle down. They may appear anxious, agitated, or exhibit signs of discomfort. Dogs with Cushing's disease may experience disruptions in their sleep patterns. They may have difficulty falling asleep, wake up frequently during the night, or exhibit restless sleep. While increased appetite and thirst are common, some dogs with Cushing's disease may also experience lethargy or weakness. They may have reduced energy levels and appear less interested in exercise or play. Some dogs with Cushing's disease may exhibit changes in behavior or temperament. They may become irritable, moody, or more reactive to certain stimuli. They might also display increased vocalization or become more anxious or fearful.

What are the three stages of Cushing's disease in dogs?

Cushing's disease in dogs, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is generally described in three stages based on the progression and severity of the condition. In the preclinical stage, the dog has hormonal changes associated with Cushing's disease, but clinical signs may not be evident or may be very mild and nonspecific. Laboratory tests, such as cortisol measurements or an adrenal function test, may reveal abnormalities indicating the presence of Cushing's disease. However, the dog may not exhibit noticeable symptoms yet. In the symptomatic stage, the clinical signs of Cushing's disease become more apparent. Dogs may exhibit various symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, weight gain (especially in the abdomen), hair loss, thinning skin, muscle weakness, panting, lethargy, and susceptibility to infections. These signs result from the excessive levels of cortisol in the body. Diagnostic tests, including blood tests and imaging (such as an abdominal ultrasound), can help confirm the diagnosis during this stage. In the refractory stage, the dog's condition becomes more difficult to manage, and the response to treatment may be limited. Despite appropriate therapy, the clinical signs may persist or worsen. It can occur due to several reasons, including the development of treatment-resistant tumors or other complications. In some cases, additional treatment options or adjustments may be necessary to manage the dog's symptoms effectively.

Selegiline hydrochloride, citric acid, lactose monohydrate, maize starch, magnesium stearate, povidone and talc.

Selegiline Hydrochloride


Selegiline Hydrochloride is a type of monoamine oxidase inhibitor. It helps treat the signs that are due to the cognitive dysfunction disease in cats and dogs. It has also been used greatly for Cushing's disease, a pituitary-dependent condition. There are certain phobias and anxiety in combination with other medications.

Special Precautions

The use of the drugs for pets that have an allergy to Selegiline Hydrochloride should not have the drug. The pets that are on other monoamine oxidase inhibitors should also not have this medication in conjugation. Ideally, avoid applying drugs like meperidine, alpha-2 agonists, tramadol, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, or tramadol.

Caution is advisable for applying the drug to pets with any debilitating diseases. Lactating and pregnant pets should be treated with caution for keeping them safe as the studies are still on to establish the drug's effect on such pets. Potential abuse of the drug among human beings is high, and therefore, it is advisable to keep the medication in safe conditions to avoid its misuse.

Mechanism of Action

The action of the drug takes place to take care of the monoamine oxidase type B inhibition and other monoamine oxidases at higher doses. The approved formulation of the drug helps to carry out this job successfully to treat canine cognitive dysfunction and Cushing disease in dogs. The actions help to inhibit the dopamine in the central nervous system.ย 

The action of the pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism can happen with the increased dopamine levels in the brain that impacts the ACTH release. It ultimately results in the reduction of cortisol levels. The secondary effects can include the inhibition of the metabolism of phenylethylamine. L-methamphetamine and l-amphetamine are the two metabolic that help in extending the above contribution to the pharmacologic effects.

Known Drug Interactions

Caution is advisable for giving the medication with drugs like amitraz, tetracyclic antidepressants, amitriptyline, tricyclic, bupropion, trazodone, cyclobenzaprine, tramadol, ephedrine, SSRIs, meperidine, pseudoephedrine, metoclopramide, phenylpropanolamine, ย and opioids,ย 

Brand/Generic Equivalents

Not meant for dogs with aggression issues.

Possible side effects include:

Decreased appetite, drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, fatigue, confusion, restlessness, hearing loss, trembling, itching, hair loss, anemia (pale gums). Repetitive behaviors (ex. walking in circles, obsessive interest in something). If your dog suffers an allergic reaction such as hives, swelling of lips, tongue, or face, or difficulty breathing seek immediate emergency veterinary medical attention and discontinue dosages. Other less serious side effects may occur such as nausea or upset stomach, diarrhea, or headache. If these, or any other side effects seem unusual or bothersome to your animal talk to your veterinarian.

Never use Selegiline in animals that are allergic to it or administer the drug to pregnant or nursing animals. Do not use the medicine in dogs that have Cushingโ€™s disease caused by some reason other than a pituitary tumor. Avoid prescribing Selegiline in combination with SSRI antidepressants (fluoxetine), tricyclic antidepressants (clomipramine), narcotics such as meperidine, ephedrine or other MAOIs, insulin, phenytoin, sulfonamides such as Albon, and phenothiazines such as acepromazine. Selegiline is rarely administered to cats. The medicine should only be used after making a proper diagnosis of pituitary-based Cushing's disease. Selegiline is not recommended for adrenal gland-based Cushing's disease.ย 

Possible interactions may occur with ephedrine or other MAOI's. Discontinue selegiline at least 14 days prior to starting treatment with some narcotic pain killers (ex. Demerol), phenylpropanolamine, SSRI's (ex. fluoxetine) and tricyclic antidepressants (ex. amitriptyline). Some narcotic pain killers (ex. Demerol), phenypropanolamine, SSRI's (ex. fluoxetine) and tricyclic antidepressants (ex. amitriptyline) should not be used within 5 weeks of administering selegiline.

If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian.

Selegiline is used to treat Cushingโ€™s disease or hyperadrenocorticism and canine cognitive dysfunction (senility). A monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), Selegiline helps in significantly enhancing the concentration of a nervous system messenger chemical known as dopamine. The higher levels of dopamine stimulate the receptors in the brain, thus augmenting different kinds of cognitive processes.ย 

The major side effects of selegiline include vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, disorientation, hair loss, and shaking. The symptoms of overdose usually include salivation, panting, dehydration, and death.ย 

Ask your veterinarian or consult with one of our pet care specialists at 1-800-844-1427.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website. Our medications are FDA approved and/or EPA regulated when and as required by law.

Selegiline is usually available as 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, and 30 mg tablets. The recommended starting dose for the treatment of Cushing's disease is 0.45 mg/pound to be given in the morning. If the condition of the pet does not show any considerable improvement within 2 months, do increase the dosage of medicine to 0.9 mg/pound once a day. If the situation persists within 1 month of the increased dose, make a thorough diagnosis of the pet. The usual dose for Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is 0.2-0.45 mg/pound. It could take up to one month or more for any substantial improvement. Give your dog the recommended dosage (typically one pill) every morning.

Store in a cool, dry place.

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Answer some questions during checkout and weโ€™ll contact your vet and verify the prescription for you. You can also mail us the written prescription.

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