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Separation Anxiety- What Medications Have Worked For You?


Guest jeffys
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Guest jeffys

We are currently fostering Thor, an almost 6 year old greyhound. We also have Teddy, a 9 year old male, and Ripley, a 5 year old female. Thor has been with us for 2 years, Teddy for 5 and Ripley for 4.

Thor and Ripley both have separation anxiety, Teddy does not.

We noticed that both Thor and Ripley did better around Teddy, and if we left the house with Teddy one of them (we couldn't be sure who, but think it might be either) would pee or poop in the house.

Thor has bitten Teddy and Ripley both a total of 5 times. We realized that this always happens when we are entering the house- he gets too excited upon our return and reacts by biting them. After the last time this happened we have begun, upon vet recommendation, to keep Thor's basket muzzle on when he is unsupervised in the house. We are also doing some behaviour modification, immediately removing him from the presence of the other dogs when we enter the house, closing him in an empty room with one of us and doing some redirection and training.

Ripley has been doing well on Clomipramine (Clomicalm) and we are now able to close her upstairs alone while we are out without incident. This further minimizes both the anxiety feedback that Thor would get from her, and potential biting incidents.

We had tried Thor on Clomipramine and it seemed to be working fairly well for about 6 weeks, but then he developed a stomach sensitivity which was narrowed down to the Clompiramine and we had to stop it.

What drugs have you seen success with in your separation-anxiety prone dog?

As an aside- we are not able to crate Thor- he hurts himself trying to get out and will pee in the crate almost immediately. He will not enter a crate even with high value treats. If we close him alone in a room he will destroy the room, even if we leave him with beef bones and kongs full of treats, which he will ignore- he will focus on gnawing on the doorknob and door frame and tearing through drywall around openings.

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I wish I had good suggestions for Thor. I only ever used Clomipramine (along with valium to start with). But a friend (Jen) has a noise-phobic greyhound (Reagan) and has found drugs that leave Reagan less stressed (as well as finding drugs that make her worse--ack!). Jen's blog posts about Reagan's fears and Jen's treatments are here.

 

Good luck.

15060353021_97558ce7da.jpg
Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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Clomipramine is a tri-cyclic antidepressant and one of it's side effects is stomach pain. Marketed as "Clomicalm" for veterinary use, it has been effective in treating SA in many dogs. But just as with people, each dog reacts individually to anti-anxiety medications. Others have had more success with amitriptyline/Elavil.

 

Since Thor reacts badly to TCA's (tri-cyclic antidepressants), you should talk with your vet about another class of drug, either benzodiazepines (alprazolam/Xanax, diazepam/Valium, etc), or SSRI's (Selective Seratonin Re-uptake Inhibitors - such as fluoxetine/Prozac and paroxetine/Paxil). These are off-label uses of human drugs, for the most part,so your vet should be familiar with them, or ask for a referral to one that does.

 

Benzo's tend to be short-acting and need re-dosing every 6-8 hours to remain effective. For this reason, they are not generally used for SA, but for definitive anxieties like storm phobia or fireworks. SSRI's can take between a week and a month to reach a clinical dosage in the body, but are only taken once a day. They are more often used for long-term treatments. Sometimes a Benzo can be used in conjunction with an SSRI, especially in the build-up period for the latter.

 

It can take some trial and error to find the drug and the dosage for a particular dog. For our spook, we tried Clomicalm and Prozac with little to no effectiveness. Alprazolam was somewhat effective, but not completely. We finally have settled on Paxil with good results. She also takes alprazolam for situational anxiety like fireworks and car trips.

 

Good luck!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Guest jbbuzby

My SA male was on fluoxetine for a year and half or so. I think this helped take the edge off a bit, but certainly did not solve the problem alone.

 

What has been more helpful is these Canine Calm Treats from Vetri Science. A vet here in Denver introduced them to us, and since trying them, I've been actually weaning my male off of fluoxetine altogether because of how well it works. It's $15 a bag on amazon for 60 treats, and dogs greyhound-sized can get 2 per day, though I give him just one in the morning, and will only give him another in the evening if we plan to go out for any reason. I recently moved to a new apartment and have had a lot of changes in schedule, but these have seemed to help A LOT. Before we used them, we kept coming home to accidents, inappropriate chewing, etc. When used in conjunction with a long walk, a stuffed kong, and a normal departure schedule, these have worked really well and surprised me! He seems a lot calmer and accepting of us leaving, but I don't notice a change in energy...he just seems like himself minus the anxiety.

 

Might be worth a look!

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Guest jeffys

 

 

 

Clomipramine is a tri-cyclic antidepressant and one of it's side effects is stomach pain. Marketed as "Clomicalm" for veterinary use, it has been effective in treating SA in many dogs. But just as with people, each dog reacts individually to anti-anxiety medications. Others have had more success with amitriptyline/Elavil.

 

Since Thor reacts badly to TCA's (tri-cyclic antidepressants), you should talk with your vet about another class of drug, either benzodiazepines (alprazolam/Xanax, diazepam/Valium, etc), or SSRI's (Selective Seratonin Re-uptake Inhibitors - such as fluoxetine/Prozac and paroxetine/Paxil). These are off-label uses of human drugs, for the most part,so your vet should be familiar with them, or ask for a referral to one that does.

 

 

Our vet was worried about giving Thor an SSRI since he had seen that it can release latent inhibitions and since Thor also has a severe problem with fear aggression (well, he did when he first came to us, we've done A TON of work around it but still don't want to mess with that) we are worried about that side effect. Then I saw elsewhere that benzodiazepines can also release latent aggression. Have you heard about any of this? Now I'm leaning towards asking for Buspar with Xanax as needed.

Interesting about the Canine Calm Treats- we'll have to try those as well. We actually have feline calming treats that have helped one of our cats who had a nervous licking problem (that along with feline diffusers- we also have canine ones in the rooms the dogs are in)

Thank you!

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Well, you know he has a problem with TCA's already, but you don't know what, if any, side effects either benzos or SSRI's will cause. If you already have a plan to manage his aggression in place, I would be at least considering a trial of one of them. With treatments like this, sometimes you just have to try a few different things to find one that works.

 

Consider that if he is less anxious in general, especially around your leaving and coming home, his overall aggression may lessen as a result.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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