• 5mg, per tablet
  • 5mg, per capsule

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.

Additional information


5mg, per tablet, 5mg, per capsule



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