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I think we are going to try medication... any other suggestions?


sweet_ceana
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So I've finally got DH on board with the idea of trying medication for Ceana. We completely got rid of her crate in August, and that has helped, but she still has issues that are effecting the quality of her life. When upset, she still gets combative. She will make cujo faces, growl, drool and make a lot of noise snapping the air, but it is all an act. She's just trying to scare you away. She will not bite, believe me I have given her all the oppertunity. She snaps her jaw near you, and averts her eyes and has her head down and to the side. It took me a while to realise she didn't want to hurt anyone, just to make everyone go away. Poke was never concerned when she would do that to him, and as I began to take my emotions out of it I realised while it looked scary, it was the equivelent of someone covering their eyes, cowering and just swinging their fist yelling empty threats.

 

We have found ways to pull her out of what we call "bad space." (DH worked at an inpatient treatment facility for teenage girls with severe mental illness and bad space is the term they would use when someone's illness was enveloping them) If you start to "tickle" her and make funny noises it pulls her out of it. She will down, sit, and high five in this state which also seems to help a bit. It distracts her and sort of lessens her reaction. She also likes to be sung to. If you sit down next to her and sing a song she will stop, lie down in your lap belly up/to the side and eventually relax. She ususally slowly lessens her growly noises into low rumbles and stroking her coat to the beat of the music quickens the calm down. My poor looney girl.

 

She has her good days and her bad days, but these past two weeks have been particularly bad. We had a foster dog, who was adopted yesterday, who was a scaredy boy. She didn't like that he was always scared, and she fed off of it. She was very upset with him at first. He would get scared, and then she would start to get upset because if he was scared there must be something to worry about. Eventually she would start growling at him because she didn't like how he made her feel. I was worried this would happen. The folks who had him were at the end of their rope. He would fight with their dogs and lunge at strangers. He would cower and hide in public and gaurd anything of value. We agreed to take him in because when you are that frustrated and upset it is hard to make any progress, you're mentally and emotionaly exhausted. (We know that from experience w/ Ceana) Once you take out the emotion and stop taking it personally it is amazing what you can accomplish, and how the dog reacts to you. He was a soft boy and so we used very gentle corrections. I have a feeling he was being corrected too firmly out of frustration. (I saw him being alpha rolled etc...) We built up his confidence over the last two weeks. While he was still a cautious dog he wasn't terrified. As his confidence built Ceana's bad days lessened, she actually tried to play with him his last day, but he made it obvoius that we hadn't have come as far with Ceana as we hoped.

 

She has within the last month decided that if we are trying to make her come inside or get out of a room she wants to be in that she will be combatitive. We just avert our eyes (looking her in the eyes always makes her worse) and walk up on her using pressure to move her in. It is slow and noisy, but it works. Our current vet told me not to worry about her since we have progressed far enough to have an exam without a muzzle. She didn't even want to listen about the reactions at home. "She seems fine, just keep doing what you are doing." I can't help but think that these episodes make Ceana miserable, and they cannot be a good for her. Yes we can go to the dog park, a walk,a hike and the vets without issues that are blatently obvious, (There is still fear, just not beligerent) but there has to be something better for her. No one wants to be that stressed, they want to be relaxed and happy. I think we are going to be switching vets. There is one by our house that the rescue works with, that we LOVE. DH has agreed that we should speak with her and get her opinion of medication for Ceana.

 

So wish us luck, DH is very against medication unless it is the last option, I think it is. I don't think we can modify her behavior permently. I know we can manage without medication, but I think there is room for improvement only chemical balance can bring. I am still working on getting DH on the behavioralist band wagon, but he has his reservations. I am hoping the vet we like and he has tons of respect for will suggest a vetrinary behavioralist. I think hearing it from her will hold a lot of weight.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions? Any insight into medication?

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I know how DH feels. I'm against medication for the most part. Maybe it's because my mother took so many pills that she rattled. And we're pretty sure my mother-in-law's so-called Alzheimer's was the result of all her medications. In both cases, most pills were to alleviate the side-effects of the original pills. And it grew like Topsy.

 

But I do take both T3 and T4 for my hypothyroidism. My body won't produce what I need, so I have to get it another way. And I did take doxepin when I went through depression. It put my body back on a normal track. And, because I did take it a while, I don't need it anymore.

 

They say that God doesn't make mistakes. But, aside from His need to work a bit harder on the design of knees and elbows, He's got a few other bits that can be less than perfect. So He gave us the medical profession to give us a bit of help.

 

Anyhow, if you want to know more than even your pharmacist can tell you about a medication, try https://online.epocrates.com/public/portkey/

 

Don't know they cover pet meds. They do have info about the metronidazole we have for Fergie. Except I get an exception report about a server exception today. Man, I hate error messages that are meaningless to the peron who gets them. Bane of my editing existence.

 

BTW, my favorite ever was "Take a dump and send it to your service representative."

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Definitely check the thyroids. Perhaps point out to DH that the two of you have done EVERYTHING possible to help Ceana, and what you've got now is a dog who is better off because you're better able to read her and manage her environment. Ceana has not changed much, from what I read of your posts.

 

I didn't want to take medication for depression, fought against it for years. When I started taking the appropriate medication, I swear to God, it was like I'd been living with dark sunglasses on my whole life, and had removed them for the first time. I could finally deal with reality. The probability is that I'll need an anti-depressant the rest of my life, because my brain chemistry is wonky, and that won't change.

 

Shoshone, our poster dog for anti anxiety meds, is flat out happier today than she was without medication.

 

If an expert thinks the best idea is for Ceana to try some medication, what could it hurt?

 

Hope you can find the answers you and Ceana need.

 

Ruth

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Just a thought before starting her on something, have you ever tested her thyroid levels?

 

I would second Maralynn on the thyroid test too. That said, I have Nellie on thyroid meds (she tested low but within normal range and I chose to treat anyway) and Ben (who has some similarities to your Ceana) on Prozac. Honestly the difference in both of them has been dramatic. Don't get me wrong, they both still have their issues but for both of them, their thresholds are noticeably higher now.

 

If you have discussed it and you and your vet believe that medication could help, go ahead and try it. If you decide you aren't happy with it, you can always taper her back off based on your vet's directions. I thought long and hard before medicating Ben but feel that it is in his best interest based on my observation of changes in his behavior. He is less stressed and anxious now. We had achieved what he was capable of achieving through training before and the addition of the medication allowed him to make tremendous progress once his anxiety wasn't getting the way. Both of them still require management, but the medication has given both of them a higher quality of life.

 

Ben's medication made him very groggy for the first couple of weeks but the vet said that was normal and he returned to normal activity levels after about 2 weeks. I'm sure that varies depending on the medication but don't be too quick judge the effect until her body has had time to adjust to the new medication.

 

Lisa

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