Hi everyone! It's been awhile since I've been on GT. I'm hoping you all might be able to help with a Truman question.
We recently had Truman to the vet for his annual check-up. She decided to run some bloodwork, as Truman has seemed a little more (what I lovingly describe as) "grumpy" within the past year. He's always been high-strung, hyper, and snarky, especially when it comes to other dogs. At home, he's typically very low-key. But we've noticed more instances of snapping both at Sterling and I, as well as our cats and other greyhound, Wolfgang. This wasn't totally uncharacteristic before, but in the past year, his threshold seems a lot lower. I chalked most of that up to getting older and turning 7 (gasp!) next month. [Those of you long time GT'ers will remember 14-week-old Truman puppy pictures.] Another thing to mention, Truman also had a fairly extensive neck surgery a little over a year ago to correct a herniated disc. Following that surgery, he had experienced some weakness and neurological deficits. But after a long course of physical therapy, I'd say he is about 90% better in terms of his range of motion, stamina, walking/running normally, normal weight, and reversing the muscle atrophy.
So... getting back to this annual appointment. The vet decided to run a thyroid panel, thinking we could rule out an endocrine issue. Then, his Total T4 came back at 0.7, which my vet described as "rock bottom." He doesn't really exude any other symptoms of being hypothyroid (normal weight, coat isn't an issue). But based on his short-fuse, agitation, and what feels like more episodes of aggression with other dogs, the vet decided to try Soloxine (0.8mg, twice daily) for a month to see if we noticed any positive improvements. Well, it's been a month, and it actually seems like the behavior has gotten worse! He seems more touchy than ever with space, food, whoever looks at him the wrong way. Last week, Sterling tried to walk the dogs on the walking trail, and Truman got so worked up (snarling, barking, lunging, snapping) at a dog running with its owner, and minutes later still would not calm down. Sterling finally just cut the walk short and took him home. An average "incident"with him is a few bows and deep barks/growls if the other dog passes too closely. This time seemed much different, as he was total Cujo, and would not recover, even 10 minutes later, when the threat of the other dog was fully removed.
I guess I have a few questions, broken down by parts. First is the thyroid. I can find nowhere in his file (140 pages) that Truman ever had thyroid testing before. So while 0.7 seems low, maybe that's his baseline that he was doing (reasonably) well at. Could this new aggression be stemming from the Soloxine? If so, can I take him off immediately? And if not, should I follow through with an internal medicine doctor? It just so happens that Guillermo Couto is working Pittsburgh now, so if needed, I could do a consult with him, then send out for a more specific thyroid panel through MSU. Go through Hemopet? In order to run that panel, do I need to keep him on the Soloxine or discontinue?
Part two concerns the possibility that his "old man grumpiness is still some residual pain or discomfort from his neck surgery. While he isn't showing any obvious limping, yelping, trouble being touched or handled, maybe there are other things to consider? Like he's becoming more aggressive because something is making him feel physically that he's not 100%. Should we consider another round of PT? Adequan injections, supplements, NSAIDs. If he's grumpy because he doesn't feel well physically, where do I start with that?
Lastly, the behavioral health. Truman has been on 40mg Prozac for years. I believe it's helping in some capacity, because anytime we've tried to discontinue, he becomes much for anxious and compulsively licks himself. Should we consider a consult with a veterinary behaviorist to discuss changing/tweaking with his Prozac? I'm not as well versed on psychosomatic pharmacology as I once was. Any new developments that I'm missing med-wise with owner- and dog-on-dog-aggression?
In two weeks, we'll be traveling to vend collars at Grapehounds NY. For the first time in six years, I'm considering not bringing Truman. Whatever is the basis for his agitation, aggression, grumpiness, whatever, I don't want to exacerbate it with a hundred dogs in one place. After years of obedience training, one thing we can say is that he listens well... we've always been able to manage his "hang-ups" in these situations. I just feel conflicted the behavior has started to get more concerning, I don't want to put Truman or any other dog at risk. Any advice on where to begin? Sorry this turned into a novel. I'm looking forward on your stories. Thanks in advance!