Jump to content
BC Boards
TDFOSTER

Prozac -Benefits - Side Affects

Recommended Posts

Numerous of you have been following Jade for over a year and some of you know that she was started on Prozac. I have some questions for those of you who have used Prozac on your dog.

 

 

What changes were you seeking in their behavior? Did you get those changes? What type of side affects did you notice? Did/does your dog still take Prozac? If you decided to not use Prozac if it was recommended, Why? And did your dog eventually come off Prozac or was it a life time process?

 

I thought I would start this as a new topic because Jade's page is so long already.

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond

 

Teri

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a dog that I put on Prozac for about a year. We had moved from a fairly rural house to a tightly packed suburban house and he was scared of certain noises - he'd get a panicked look, shake, sometimes try to hide. Sometimes the noises were things I couldn't even hear and there was no real pattern to it. He also started breaking out of crates which resulted in some broken teeth. The vet and I hoped that the Prozac would help him deal with the sounds and stop the destructive behavior. It took about 6-8 weeks but he did stop being so sound sensitive and he was able to be crated again. As for side effects, he definitely lost some of his spark (that's the best way I can describe it). He was always great at catching a frisbee but on the Prozac he'd still try to catch it but would miss more than usual and sometimes when he'd land after jumping for it he'd lose his footing. After about a year I decided to wean him off the Prozac to see if he would be ok without it and he was. I didn't like the dog he was while on it but it definitely broke the cycle of the behavior.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shoshone came from a horrific background - a put-them-in-jail kind of background. She did okay, for the first several years, but when we moved to a smaller, noisier home with less outdoor access and the cats had to become inside only cats, the stress got to her. She started lunging at Samantha and went for the cats several times.

 

After a consult with a local behaviorist, my vet gave prescribed clomicalm, which is an anti-depressant that works a bit differently than Prozac. It took about 6 weeks, and the first week or so she was a little sleepier than usual. The effects were gradual. The big change that we could see came when a friend with Tourette's syndrome dropped by. Patti makes noises - little yips and such - and slaps her thigh frequently. When ever Patti had visited before the clomicalm, Shonie left the room and wouldn't come back in until Patti was gone.

 

Patti loves dogs, and would always get down on the floor with the other 2 beasts. Suddenly, there's Shonie in Patti's lap, mugging for cookies.

 

We kept her on it for the rest of her life. With her background and basic personality it seemed best.

 

Prozac doesn't work for every person or dog. Don't be afraid to ask for a different class of anti-depressant if you don't see a change in Jade in a couple months or so. And see if you can get generic prescribed, much cheaper.

 

Good luck!

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Years ago, I had a female border collie who started working on a lick granuloma. The vet prescribed Prozac and withinn just a few days she stopped licking that spot. I kept her on the med for the rest of the summer and took her off in the fall. I was suprised at how quickly it worked for her. When I was took Prozac, it was several weeks before I noticed any difference in my attitude.

 

Although the Prozac stopped the licking, nothing else about her changed. She was still the "suck the life out of the party, fun police"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a rescue BC that has been on prozac for many years. Among other issues, the dog was very dog reactive. The dog looked for monsters everywhere. A DVM behaviorist diagnosed the dog with generalized anxiety disorder. The prozac took the edge off and helped the dog to recover faster after seeing a trigger. It was by no means a magic bullet and I had been warned about this by my regular vet who had told me that clients looking for a quick fix are very disapointed. The prozac was augmented by an enormous amount of behavior work--it was a lifestyle and went far beyond a one hour a week private lesson. In fact, I dumped the trainer because it got to the point where she was of no help.

 

I managed to put a couple of agility titles on the dog (in very carefully chosen venues) after being told that it couldn't be done. It took maybe 4 years to get that dog into the ring at a show. I stopped trialing her after I realized that she was holding her shit together for me. The prozac did not change the essential nature of my dog. It will not turn a fearful dog into a social butterfly, but will help the dog to be more comfortable in social situations. AFTER A LOT OF VERY HARD WORK. YEARS OF HARD WORK. A large part of this was developing a relationship with the dog, so the dog knows that you have its back and nothing bad will happen. And if something bad should happen (a dog coming into my dog's space), it wasn't the end of the world. Developing this type of trust takes years, not weeks or months and it doesn't come in a pill.

 

I tried to unsuccessfully wean my dog off the prozac 2-3 times. During the last attempt, we were close, but I was forced to bump the dose back up after bringing a puppy into my house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blackdawgs, Thank you for sharing. I do understand that the Prozac will not change Jade into the perfect dog. What I hope to see is as you suggested to help take the edge off so that she can focus some. It is hard to work with her when the very slightest sound has her dropping down or cowering or running away. I hate it that we have to put her on it but if it gives her a chance then that is all I am asking. I sort of know in my heart that Jade isn't going anywhere. We either get her to a point that she can be a somewhat functioning dog or we put her down...and not taking the putting her down lightly. I already have over a year wrapped up in her so I am not giving up easily. I pretty much know also that she would just never do well somewhere else.

 

And I know that every day for the rest of her life there is going to be work to do with her.

 

I brush my teeth every morning and night with the electric tooth brush.....she still cowers and walks away from me as I am using it. We have tried several different ways to try and desensitize her to no avail. Again, hoping the Prozac will help us help her so she doesn't have to be so scared.

 

She is a beautiful dog...not just in physical appearance but in heart when she can forget to be scared. I get to see glimpses of it. If you could see how she is with my 81 year old mom. And if you could see how she is every night with the Shitzpoo who has his own set of issues...she goes out with him every night and makes sure he gets back in the house. So I know there is a good dog in her soul...but I digress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well then, I'd say that it is time for a doctor to doctor conversation between your vet and a DVM behaviorist about treatment (medical and behavioral) of such extreme sound sensitivity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ruth, Thank you for the idea of a different anti-depressant. When we can determine (she has been on the prozac long enough) whether the prozac is helping or not, if I feel it is not, I will ask about this one.

 

Blackdawg we are having those conversations on an ongoing basis but they want to try to give the prozac some time and see if there is any difference. We are also giving her a holistic type of chew that is supposed to be good for calming and the brain.

 

Teri

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, I know of several dogs who've had really amazing results with a combination of Prozac (or another med) and behavior modification.

 

It's just like with people; some do extremely well with it while others don't respond as well. You've got to give it a fair chance (which I can tell from what you write that you're doing) and assess it's effects on your dog, not someone else's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Teri, I don't think anyone has suggested this, so I will. Try keeping a journal. It's very helpful when there's so much to notice and keep track of that one's brain feels just the tiniest bit overloaded.

 

Note when she started the Prozac, and any thing about her behavior. Also what other stressors occur during the day. Heavy machinery sounds all day, a car back firing, vet visit, visitors in the house, etc. It's great to have all that info at hand when discussing things with the behaviorist and the vet.

 

When Shoshone was so calm and friendly with Patti, who has Tourette's, I grabbed her prescription bottle to check the date. It was exactly 6 weeks after we started medicating her.

 

Good luck, and bless you for doing all this for Jade.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

 

My Luke developed a lick granula and the vet prescribed clomicalm which stopped the licking but also stopped Luke from listening on the trial field. Wendy Vollhard suggested an nutritional supplement and I discontinued the drug and started supplementing. Luke didn't need the drug anymore and was his old self on the trial field.

 

When a behaviorist or vet, who may or may not ever have trained a dog to a high standard, offers a solution to various dog unmannerliness that pill bottle is very easy to suggest.

 

I have some sympathy. We are a pill culture, often the client is clueless and the dog lives in a dog unfriendly household. But I do think pills should be a last, not the first resort.

 

Donald McCaig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Noise sensitivity that interfers with daily living is a biological problem, NOT "unmannerliness".

If you read the origional thread, the OP spun her wheels with this dog for a year before turning to the pill bottle. First resort? Hardly.

No one here (hopefully) would deny insulin to a diabetic or an antibiotic to a child with a strep throat or an antibiotic to a person with a raging infection, so why should a person or animal with anxiety that interfers with daily living be any different?

This is a chemical disturbance in the brain, not "unmannerliness".

These drugs are lifesavers for those that need them.

 

When a behaviorist or vet, who may or may not ever have trained a dog to a high standard, offers a solution to various dog unmannerliness that pill bottle is very easy to suggest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^ This.

 

I wouldn't reach for the pill bottle first, either. But it seems silly to ignore a useful tool when it's appropriate and will help speed things along.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've both prescribed it to patients and used it with my own dog (PTSD) for many years. In both my personal and professional experience, side effects are rare and generally not see if the dog is on the correct dose. I have a working dog who has taken it for nearly 8 years who is most definitely not dull, clumsy or any way poorly affected.

 

The point of using it is to reduce the physiological fear/panic response so the dog is capable of being trained and counter conditioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An interesting dichotomy:

 

On one hand, yes, we are a pill-popping culture.

 

On the other hand, there are legitimate, medically proven, organic mental illnesses that respond to proper medications like any other disease responds to its medications and therapies.

 

Those who have experienced mental illnesses with loved ones, pets, or in themselves, understand this concept with ease. Unfortunately, many who have not had first hand experience can be quick to judge.

 

And yes, I've successfully used a variety of anti-anxiety medications in dogs and cats. Some have had tremendous responses and others have had little or no benefit. Give the meds time, use concurrent behavior modification, and have reasonable expectations. If the result is not what you're seeking in that the side effects are too much or the drug doesn't seem to be effective, try a different dose or medication.

 

Contrary to the belief of many, this often can be a long journey instead of a "quick and easy fix."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, one more thing. Like Blackdawgs wrote, there is a huge difference between "unmannerliness" and mental illness.

 

There is a huge difference between a dog or person who *chooses* not to act accordingly versus one who physiologically *can not* do so.

 

That they are one in the same is over-simplified, biased, and completely incorrect. Not to mention close-minded and very disrespectful.

 

The key is being able to sort out which case is which so that the patient gets the treatment it needs :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

 

I believe that like shock collars, medications can be - literally - life saving. I also think both are often reached for too quickly because we are a technophiliac, pharmaphiliac culture.

 

I've used both and would use them again but . . .I've had fearful sheepdogs, excruciatingly sound sensitive dogs and dogs so neurotic (and human aggressive) many pet homes would have had them put down. Given a life that made dog sense, they adapted.

 

I am too familiar with several serious forms of human mental illness; I've seen it "cured" with mild side effects, I've seen it managed, I've seen it resist medication. I have two friends (with financial resources) who adapted.

 

We and our dogs have a very high percentage of common genes and one would expect that some dogs would exhibit symptoms similar to human disorders (and be cured by similar pharmacology) But I do not believe our sheepdogs suffer the same degree of mental disorders modern Americans do and am convinced many pet owners cannot, literally, see the dog at their feet. If practitioner's choice is between getting the owner to see the unmannerly dog (and training it) or prescribing medication, medication may be the practical choice.

 

Emily has trained dogs to the highest standard and is certainly able to "sort out which case is which". Many, if not most, vets and behaviorists don't have Emily's knowledge and most pet owners understand pills better than they understand dogs.

 

When my Fly was in her worst behavior period, my wife Anne asked herself what she'd do if I died and she had to deal with Fly. She and her vet decided, they'd just "Prozac the hell out of her". Not, perhaps, the best solution but better than killing Fly.

 

Donald McCaig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When Dean's noise phobia first became apparent, I resisted turning to medication for quite a while. At first I thought I could train the problem away. I had, after all, successfully desensitized and counter-conditioned a dog who was seriously fearful of dogs and people to a point of near-normalcy. I really thought I could handle the issue through training.

 

By the time I realized that I couldn't have been more wrong, Dean was such a mess. After a thunderstorm, he would spend about three days in shellshocked state, panting, drooling, and he was unable to recover from it. And everyday sounds, like the sound of a horn on television, started to set off his panicked state.

 

I got plenty of well-meaning advice. "Don't expect him to be fearful and he won't be." I think that one irks me the most. My dog is having a relatively serious physical reaction to certain sounds and this is supposedly because I expect it? "Play with him". At the first rumble of thunder, trust me - there is NO play. "Make him work through it". Trying to make him continue to do anything when he is in that state would be like trying to make someone with a broken leg "work through" the 100 yard dash without medical treatment.

 

I finally went to the vet about medication. First vet said "no" and suggested desensitization. The thing is - you can't desensitize effectively when you can't control exposure to the trigger.

 

Finally, I found a vet who would work with me and we tried clomipramine. It gave him his quality of life back. It didn't solve the problem out of hand, but it enabled him to recover relatively quickly after a storm or other noise-phobic event.

 

He was on it for years and it did him a world of good. He was actually weaned from it several months ago, and so far is doing really well. Based on what I have seen the few times he has heard gunshots since then, it does seem that he has developed coping skills that still work for him now without the meds. Thunder season will be the true test, but I think he's going to be fine. But if he's not, I won't hesitate to go back to medication.

 

Like Emily said, sometimes (not always) those who haven't dealt with this sort of thing first hand don't really understand the issue fully. This isn't a choice on the part of the dog. It can't be fixed with good manners. And it is very different from dealing with fear, anxiety, or nervousness in a dog that does not have an underlying brain chemistry issue.

 

My only regret is waiting as long as I did to get him appropriate meds. I would never do that with a physical issue. I won't do it again with a mental issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I refuse to prescribe behavioral meds for generalized anxiety unless the client also commits to behavioral modification. There are highly qualified trainers I refer to who are comfortable working with me and the client to treat the pet. We decide as a team if the drug is working or if dose adjustments need to be made. I've seen miracles thanks to the behavior drugs. Clients who won't follow through don't get refills.

 

ETA, my dog would be dead without them. He stopped eating and lost half his body weight. He would not go outside to go to the bathroom. He used to wake up from nightmares screaming. He had no quality of life. It was a long road of many years of counter conditioning and training to get him to where he is today, but he would not have lived long enough for that to matter if it had not been for his medications.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I refuse to prescribe behavioral meds for generalized anxiety unless the client also commits to behavioral modification. There are highly qualified trainers I refer to who are comfortable working with me and the client to treat the pet. We decide as a team if the drug is working or if dose adjustments need to be made. I've seen miracles thanks to the behavior drugs. Clients who won't follow through don't get refills.

 

Oh yeah . . . I did do the behavior modification work with Dean. I didn't mean to imply that I was unwilling to do desensitization counter-conditioning with him. He was able to do that - and a lot more - once he was on the meds, and we did quite a lot of work together over many years, and he made tons of progress because of that training. :) I made my fair share of mistakes, too, but we found what worked for him, and we put the work in.

 

The first vet wanted me to do behavior modification without the meds, and any training along those lines only made things worse. The second vet did prescribe meds and recommended behavior modification, and once the meds started to get his brain back in order, he was able to respond to behavior modification.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey everyone, Thank you so much for all your comments and suggestions. I have started on numerous occasions to try and respond to everyone and then get interrupted and lose everything I have posted so I am going to try again but probably in much less detail.

 

I am sorry that some felt that Jade' issues where manners...I only wish for her that they were because they would have already been taken care of with all the training and trainers that have been involved with her.

 

I love the idea of a journal...which I am going to try and get started on but I also feel that the postings here and the e-mails to Paula are a journal all in of itself.

 

Jade is doing much better and I believe it is the affects of the Prozac and the supplement. She is still very fearful of sudden movements and noise and we have had some "shutdowns" in the past couple of weeks but I very definitely see improvement in her and Paula also sees that. I detailed more in the original posting if you want to read that.

 

Emily thank you for helping to clarify that Jade is not willfully misbehaving. Others have their opinions about the shock collars, the pincher collars, etc...I personally do not like them nor will I ever introduce them to any dog I have. I get that some believe they are beneficial...I also watch Caesar and have seen his methods. And personally fell into believing some of it until I did my own research.

 

I am so grateful to everyone who posts here and on the original posting. There is always food for thought for me and even reinforcement that I am doing the right things for Jade and when I am not, being put in my place and making corrections.

 

This is an awesome board and I hope that I will continue to learn from everyone who is on here.

 

Thanks

Teri

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so happy to hear that you're seeing a positive difference in Jade! I'll bet you's start to see even more and faster improvement now that she's having less anxiety. Personally, I think you've made the right decisions with the meds. . . . and in rejecting harsh methods and equipment with her. Kudos to you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

. We are a pill culture, often the client is clueless and the dog lives in a dog unfriendly household. But I do think pills should be a last, not the first resort.

 

I have a slightly different perspective.

 

I have owned a dozen dogs or so in my adult life and have had 2 that were medicated: one for very severe thunderstorm phobia and one for a generalized anxiety issue.

 

In both cases the meds were given after time with a trial of other choices, and in both cases my dogs became more anxious, more fearful and had decreased quality of life dealing with their fears.

 

My current general anxiety dog has shown such a general improvement that I feel very bad that I resisted for as long as I did, and I realize he was suffering.

 

In addition, I developed an anxiety disorder as an older adult. I had panic attacks, nightmares, assorted other issues seemingly out of nowhere. I had a full medical work up and no one could give me a reason. I suffered myself for some time. I was afraid of side effects and resisted meds for a year. I became tireder, more stressed and my behavior affected my dogs and my husband.

 

Once I was given medication, the panic attacks gradually stopped and I stopped anticipating them. I started sleeping better, feeling more optimistic and generally healthier. I wish I had taken them sooner. I am still me, just me with less irrational fear.

 

Yes, I understand the idea that we don't want to throw meds at every issue, or that they are a panacea. But if my dog is suffering from fear, and it impacts his or her life, I will no longer use it as a last resort. Why? Why would I not want to make things better as soon as I could and keep my dogs anxiety and fear and related behaviors worse?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...