anti-anxiety medications

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Maxy24, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    At what point do you think a dog needs medication for anxiety? And who is qualified to make that decision? Can a vet do it himself or is a trainer/behaviorist of some sort necessary? What are the major side effects of most anti-anxiety meds?


    I ask because I feel maybe Tucker would benefit from medication. Every time a dog walks by the house he flips out. If you stand up too fast he flips out, if you shout to someone in the other room he flips out (and flipping out usually involves barking and chasing one of my cats), if the cats try to play or get into a fight (if he even sees them glaring at each other or sees one wagging it's tail) he goes after them. On occasions when he's heard them playing (can hear their bodies thumping on the floor) but has been in the bathroom with me, he'll start crying, pacing the room, and eventually barking at the door to get out.
    He has separation anxiety (though certainly not as severe as other dogs). On walks he now flips out when we walk by other dogs (if they are large or if it's small but I don't let him go say hi) and it's extremely hard to keep him under threshold. He goes nuts every single time the mail man comes. If he hears the UPS, Fedex, or mail truck go down our street, even if it's not stopping he bolts to the window, no matter what he was doing at the time. If he hears voices but can't find the source, like when he hears my parents talking upstairs, he flips out.

    As you may know, he is stranger aggressive. If someone comes to the door he absolutely looses his mind. If you hold his collar he chokes himself to the point where he has a coughing fit. If the glass door is shut and someone is on the other side he slams himself into it. If he were big enough he'd probably go through. If a stranger were to reach for him he would bite them. But if people are over and we confine him he will bark and slam into the door for the entire time. I also would expect he may destroy something or poop while confined. It takes hours for him to warm up to a guest.

    So my thought are maybe meds would make him less reactive, less on edge all of the time. I've worked with him on not barking out the window or not barking when he can hear voices but I honestly think he cannot help himself. I've tried working on self control stuff in training sessions but he always does perfectly fine.

    How would I go about finding out if he would be a good candidate for medication?
     
  2. stardogs

    stardogs Behavior Nerd

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    Personally, I'd prefer that people seek out a vet behaviorist for medication help as they are the most up to date on the options available.

    As a trainer, I dont have the medical background I feel is required to give specific recommendations on medication use, but I have told clients that I think they should consider it in conjunction with behavior modification.

    Regular vets are really hit or miss unfortunately - I have some clients whose vets are awesome and totally up to date on behavior meds and some that are in the dark ages and prescribe Acepromazine or recommend Benedryl for behavior cases, some have gone so far as to tell my clients that they just don't love their dogs enough, they don't need medication. >.<
     
  3. skittledoo

    skittledoo Crazy naked dog lady

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    Actually I've been thinking about looking into the meds route with Bamm for almost few months now since I've heard how much it's helped out another Chaz dog to bring down the crazy reactive behavior just enough so that the training can be worked on. In Bamm's case there is not a treat that is high value enough to bring his attention back to you when he sees a reactivity source. Once he sees whatever he intends to react to it's all over. We have tried click to calm, LAT, etc and started with much smaller distractions and worked up to bigger distractions. Small distractions he is fine with but things he usually actually reacts to... It's like he gets into his own little zone and you can't reach him anymore to even work on the training side of things. He reacts to both dogs and some people.

    My boss told me she had seen most dogs on meds end up much worse though which is interesting. So... I'm kind of on the fence as to whether I should talk to my vet about putting him on meds or not.

    I'll be paying attention to this thread.
     
  4. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    Boo has anxiety pills for visits to the vet and for times when fireworks are going off. They were prescribed by our regular vet. Honestly, I couldn't tell you if they really make a difference. She's still uncomfortable at the vet and with fireworks. Granted, she doesn't actually need them as a matter of safety- she just gets extra clingy during fireworks/thunderstorms and has to be dragged into the vet clinic. That said, we'll continue to use them periodically because they don't seem to have any negative effects on her.

    Just my experience.
     
  5. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    My answers in blue :)

    It seems like your boss likes to try and talk you out of this all the time. I don't understand it. Does she not see that Bamm has severe issues that AREN'T getting better? Doesn't she see that there is a good chance that this could completely change his life for the better?
    And honestly if dogs are medicated and ending up worse, something wrong is happening. I wonder if she is seeing these dogs before hand and working with them through the process, or if she is going off people who tell her that their dogs are worse with meds, which again, something is not being done right if the dog is chronically worse.

    I know I've said this before, and it probably sounds extremely cheesy and exaggerated, but I'll say it again because it is 100% the truth.

    If given the choice of having Frodo live 10 more years in his previous state, or 1 more year on medication and then he would die. I would, without even having to think about it, choose the 1 more year. Because he is functioning, happy dog now. He gets to go places and do things that I would not have even dreamed of being able to do 6 months ago. It's amazing.

    So yeah, I would say that I like medication just a little. :)
     
  6. skittledoo

    skittledoo Crazy naked dog lady

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    Her recommendation was that I rehome him or euthanize. I would rather try medication and see if it helps. The main thing that got me considering medication more was when you told me that with Frodo it calmed him enough so that you could actually make a breakthrough to him on the training side of it. Bamm is so smart and he loves working and training when it comes to everything else. If I could make that breakthrough like you did with Frodo when it comes to the reactivity then maybe just maybe we can finally make a lot more progress in areas I have almost but given up on.
     
  7. stephsousa

    stephsousa New Member

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  8. monkeys23

    monkeys23 New Member

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    Definitely try meds. They help a LOT of dogs. I'd definitely go the vet behaviorist route too.

    We tried them for several months with Scout. She was on clomipramine. It didn't really do anything for her and luckily we didn't see any side effects either. Scout's kind of an odd duck though, so I certainly would not discourage you from trying meds!!! :)

    DAP really helps Scout and last Friday I started her on Bach Rescue Remedy. I'm doing four drops on her food morning and night. She hasn't had any super goosey days since starting, but that could be coicidence because it hasn't been that long. Eh, I don't care that she's weird I just care that her quality of life is good. So far DAP has been the most helpful thing we've tried. And of course we're always doing training (CU and BAT) to help her too. Been doing that since I took her in. ;)
     
  9. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I just feel like he's ALWAYS on edge, particularly indoors. He will take treats and they will prevent a reaction if you start before he barks almost always, though sometimes I have to convince him (like I've thrown them into his face before to get him to notice their existence). Once he starts barking though he will either ignore the treats or bark, take a treat, bark, choke, and bark some more while choking. He thinks what he is doing is super important though, I really think he believes his safety is dependent upon him making as much noise as possible.


    The biggest obstacle for us is price of a vet behaviorist. Not sure when that will be feasible.
     
  10. AllisonPitbullLvr

    AllisonPitbullLvr New Member

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    Definitely vet behaviorist. As has been said above, regular DVM's just don't receive enough education on behavioral meds to make good, clear, concise recommendations-- not because they don't understand the meds, but evade they don't understand the underlying issues.

    Also, here is a pretty decent article that explains a lot of them:

    http://dogaware.com/articles/wdjanxiety.html
     
  11. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    Clonidine has been a literal life saver for Bailey. Last weekend she needed a bandage change so I asked my mom to give her a dose of Clonidine about three hours before our appointment. For the first time in her life, Bailey was able to be relaxed, not shaking, and responsive to cues. She laid on the floor of her own free will while her leg bandage was changed. I'd never seen her like that at the clinic, ever. She's usually a shaking, quivering, super sad mess trying to race out the door. Compare that to an impromptu veterinary visit on Saturday night to REchange the bandage. I didn't have enough warning to give her Clonidine and she was an absolute mess. I had to physically restrain her and she trembled the whole time.

    Even if medications aren't prescribed, I feel like the discussions I had with our veterinary behaviorist are invaluable. She shed light on some situations I hadn't thought enough about... and it was just wonderful.

    I rambled a lot but basically...
    This, this, and this. Oh, and this one is really important (and relevant), too.
     
  12. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I appreciate all of your thoughts and the links, they were very helpful. My dad called yesterday and said mom opened the door to get something from the mail woman and Tucker ran out and bit her, thankfully he was unable to actually hurt her (small dog, tough pants). I am absolutely livid with my mother, I'm sure Tucker was loosing his mind right beside her so I don't know what possessed her to open the door, we always leash Tucker before opening the door for anybody he does not know and like. 80% of the reason I hate being away at school is because I am constantly worried about how things are going with him at home, I don't trust my parents to manage him, that is the sort of stupid mistake that could have resulted in him being put down if he had been able to actually hurt her. Managing him really isn't that hard, it's not like his triggers are unpredictable or his warning signs subtle.


    I'm thinking of asking for them to stop buying me presents and to save the money to get him a consultation. I am just afraid they'll spend hundreds of dollars on a consultation and meds and it won't do anything (or will make things worse). Especially since they don't know a thing about behavior modification (and don't seem interested in learning). To me it's worth the risk, I just don't think they'll see it the same way, and it's their money.


    How would I go about finding a vet behaviorist? Or a vet who knows a lot about meds? Does anyone know one in MA?
     
  13. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    http://veterinarybehaviorists.org/

    :)

    MASSACHUSSETS

    Sheila Segurson D’Arpino
    DVM, DACVB
    Center for Shelter Dogs
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    sdarpino@arlboston.org
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    I provide legal consultations
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  14. stephsousa

    stephsousa New Member

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    Maybe try supplements first

    Supplements is also an option. There are several specifically for anxiety and they use natural ingredients. Here is a link to a few: http://www.luckydogvitamin.com/health-concern/anxiety.html. My dog reacts similarly and i've often thought of trying some of these products. I use other products from this site for my dog but i haven't tried the anxiety products just yet. Let me know if you decide to give them a try and how they work out.
     

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