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Maya - New Extreme Fear Of Flies


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Guest PiagetsMom

Maya's never been a fan of flies, but it's never been a huge issue. We can go forever without a fly in the house, but a couple of days ago we had one find it's way inside, and tonight, dang it, we had another. For some reason - maybe it persistantly buzzed her the first night? - she's reacting with extreme fear.......running through the house trying to get away, panting heavily, and shaking badly. Even when we've managed to kill the bugger, she's still spending an extended time in fear - I know she doesn't know that it's gone even if we do.

 

I've tried consoling her and it doesn't help. I've tried reassuring her and then ignoring her - she will eventually retreat to a bed somewhere and pant and shake until she tires out and falls asleep. And, she won't forget - she'll still be looking to see if it's around tomorrow.

 

I feel silly even asking for advice, but watching her like this is very upsetting. I know regardless of how careful we are we can't always avoid the random fly that gets in, but what the heck can I do to help her with this? :(

 

Here's my girl at the moment in our bedroom panting and shaking....poor baby.

 

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I'll send Summit and Kili over to save the day. They love flies. They are the mighty, mighty fly hunter extraordinaires!

 

 

(Sorry, not helpful. :()

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I don't know, would a short walk help?? It might get her mentally away from the stimulus and allow her to "reset" a bit and maybe forget about it/not be consumed with worry? That's the only thing I can really think of. Or a car ride, if she likes those. Something fun and distracting!

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Summer was fine with flies until the day she tried to bite a wasp. Now she hates them all and will get all frightened, although not as badly as your baby. I wonder if she did the same thing at some point?

 

I like Rhea's distraction idea. I assume the fly is gone.

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Guest PiagetsMom

I don't know, would a short walk help?? It might get her mentally away from the stimulus and allow her to "reset" a bit and maybe forget about it/not be consumed with worry? That's the only thing I can really think of. Or a car ride, if she likes those. Something fun and distracting!

 

Yes, we've taken her outside - that didn't help. Maya's a really sensitive girl......there is no "little" thing with Maya, everything is a "big" thing.

 

I'd hate to think we'd have to give Benadryl every time we have a fly in the house, but I'm wondering if I should I try a Benadryl to see if it would calm her down. :dunno

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If I were going to use something to calm her down, it probably wouldn't be Benadryl. There are a lot of things you can try:

 

thundershirt

DAP

Melatonin

Anxitane (l-theonine - it's an amino acid that seems to help a lot of dogs with general or specific anxieties)

 

You could try simple classical counter-conditioning - feed constantly while the fly is there, stop feeding when the fly disappears. But if she's that scared, you'll probably need to give something to calm her first. Then once she can be calm, do the counter-conditioning so that you won't have do the other stuff indefinitely.

 

If none of those work, then you might talk to the vet about something like Xanax. Or if she's that easily scared by numerous things like you mentioned, you might look into something like a low dose of Prozac. I'd try the Anxitane first though.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Mutt PUdge is my fly hunter. Currently the rest of my dogs aren't bothered by then. Previous ones have hidden under the bed to get away from them.

 

Rather than spray to kill or swat to kill, we put clear, clingy fly strip tape on a few windows. Got it at Walmart.

 

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Guest PiagetsMom

If I were going to use something to calm her down, it probably wouldn't be Benadryl. There are a lot of things you can try:

 

thundershirt

DAP

Melatonin

Anxitane (l-theonine - it's an amino acid that seems to help a lot of dogs with general or specific anxieties)

 

You could try simple classical counter-conditioning - feed constantly while the fly is there, stop feeding when the fly disappears. But if she's that scared, you'll probably need to give something to calm her first. Then once she can be calm, do the counter-conditioning so that you won't have do the other stuff indefinitely.

 

If none of those work, then you might talk to the vet about something like Xanax. Or if she's that easily scared by numerous things like you mentioned, you might look into something like a low dose of Prozac. I'd try the Anxitane first though.

 

She was in the middle of a bully stick when the episode happened tonight - if I can't distract her with a bully stick, there's nothing I'm going to be able to feed her.

 

I've tried DAP with Maya previously without any results. I've never tried Melatonin, and I've never heard of Anxitane - not sure where I could get it, but I'll do some research. I'm hesitant to try something like Xanax or Prozac - we've had her on similar drugs previously with a veterinary behaviourist, and had to discontinue use when her behavior escalated in a negative way.

 

I'm sorry if I'm being difficult.....I always roll my eyes at people who dismiss, for one reason or other, every suggestion that is given. This is such a random thing, and not something we could prepare for in anticipation of, such as a thunderstorm, etc. I hadn't considered a thunder shirt - would that be beneficial after she's already in a full blown panic attack?

 

It's been an hour and a half - I'm in our computer room with both pups.....Mirage is sleeping, and Maya is on her bed still panting and shaking :(

Edited by PiagetsMom
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You can get Anxitane on Amazon although I will say, it's *much* more expensive than a human supplement would be and they're basically the same thing except that the Anxitane is made into a tasty chewable for dogs. Not sure if there's any additional QC in terms of how it's made. As far as I could tell, there wasn't, at least compared to reputable supplement brands. So you could in theory start her on Anxitane and if it helps, switch to a human capsule, or just go with the human version. I was planning on teh former until Amazon screwed up my order so I think I may just do the latter.

 

Anyway, it's worth a try. The reviews on Amazon give you an idea of how much it's helped some dogs and there are actually a couple of studies out there supporting it's use. Dosage would be 100 mg 2x/day. I would probably just put her on it and see how it helps her in general and with this, although it appears some people have had success using it as needed (supposedly it builds in the system though).

 

As far as the thundershirt, in theory it's better to have it on ahead of time. You could try leaving it on her while you're home for a few days and just see what happens. If it seems to help her, then maybe she just wears it when you're home. :dunno


ETA: The melatonin is also worth a try although my impression is the Anxitane may be more effective, actually helping to relieve anxiety while I think Melatonin just sort of sedates. Having said that :blah Melatonin did help Neyla (calmed her enough that she started to take kongs) so try one, or the other, if it doesn't work, try the other I guess. ;)

 

Zoomdoggy has or had this issue with her pup, Flower. I'll bug her to chime in as well.

 

And I'm very sorry you're dealing with this. I know how much it sucks to see your dog so anxious and feel helpless. :(

Edited by NeylasMom

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I'm in love with Xanax for Joe's thunder problems. Since she's sensitive, I'd probably try it when she's ok first.

 

The Thundershirt just annoys him -- he lays down when he sees it it so I can't put it on. If I can find it, you're welcome to give it a try. PM me if I should start digging around.

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I'd try Xanax. That might get her to where you can try some of the counter-conditioning exercises. Poor pupper, and poor person too :( .

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest PiagetsMom

Thanks Jen.....I appreciate the info!

 

Riverhound, it's kind of you to offer Joe's shirt. I've seen them around here so if I decide to try one I'll just pick one up....but, thank you! :)

 

I guess I'll give my vet a call in the morning and ask him about the Xanax and the Anxitane. We're going to need some kind of help for her - this can't be good for her.

 

DH took her out again for a walk......I'm going to go have a glass of wine :french

Edited by PiagetsMom
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Wingnut developed a fear of flies this summer sometime. I have no idea what brought it on. He runs around like a crazy hound and then tries to go up and hide in the bedroom. I've even killed them and shown him the carcass and he's never convinced it's really the fly.

 

He's not as bad as your girl, he will eventually forget about it until the next time. I'm hoping by the time spring rolls around he's forgotten about it totally.

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Wow I thought I was the only person in the world who had a dog afraid of flies. My lab mix, Raven, became deathly afraid of them a few years ago. It started when my oldest girl would snap at them, and those snapping jaws startled and unsettled Raven so much that she began to associate the anxiety with flies. Long story short, she reached a point where if she even heard or saw a fly she would get severely stressed, huffing, panting, trembling, going outside to escape (through the dog door). A few times it was so hot outside that I would finally trap her inside because I was worried about heat stroke, and that just seemed to compound her anxiety about the flies.

 

I even have an old picture I snapped of her when one was in the room a few years ago:

 

ravencrn2.jpg

 

 

I tried everything I could think of. I tried to get happy/distract her, do treat and train exercises when a fly was in the house, and so on. Nothing helped, in fact she just seemed to get worse with me trying to distract her. I finally settled on just trying preventative methods. In the summer I keep clear fly trap things in my windows around the house, like these http://www.amazon.com/Catchmaster-904-Clear-Window-Trap/dp/B001QBRGYA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383100569&sr=8-1&keywords=indoor+fly+trap+window

 

And then I keep a fly swatter and as soon as I see any flies I just try to get it disposed of ASAP. I don't say anything to her at all or even look at her. She runs outside when I'm hunting it down but she seems to come back in fairly quickly now and settle down once she sees it is gone. With doing these things, she actually seems better than she once was. I'm sure it helps too that my oldest girl no longer snaps and chases flies around the house as she is too elderly now and does not even hear them.

 

I don't know if any of this will help you but you are not alone in this odd problem!

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Guest PiagetsMom

Well, 3 hours later and Maya's still breathing heavily, but she's at least resting - very much awake, but resting. She's gone from every room in the house, shoved herself between our dresser and our bed, and has ended up back in the front sitting room - where it all started. I think the second walk may have helped.......either that, or she's just exhausted.

 

My girl, Piaget, was always afraid of flies, but never anything like this. Thanks to everyone who was quick to reply :grouphug My sympathies to anyone else who has a pup with this issue - it's hard to watch. Hopefully we'll be better prepared for the next time it happens.

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It is very distressing to see them so torn up and be utterly helpless. :grouphug I used to feel very upset and helpless when Raven got torn up and she too would stay upset for hours. I'm glad Maya is resting and I hope her anxiety dissipates.

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Guest Waterdog66

Maybe she had an encounter or two with a Horse Fly. (Or a Deer Fly) They do inflict very painful bites and make a huge buzzing noise in flight :D

Whenever I hear a loud buzzing, that is the first thing I think of. (Having Been Bitten by a Horse Fly a couple of times)

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Guest PiagetsMom

Yes, these were bigger than just a regular fly, although probably not a horse or deer fly.

 

I talked to the vet today and I'll be picking something up at the pharmacy to have on hand if it happens again.

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Guest grey_dreams

 

I've tried DAP with Maya previously without any results. I've never tried Melatonin, and I've never heard of Anxitane - not sure where I could get it, but I'll do some research. I'm hesitant to try something like Xanax or Prozac - we've had her on similar drugs previously with a veterinary behaviourist, and had to discontinue use when her behavior escalated in a negative way.

 

 

Just wanted to chime in about possible adverse affects of Xanax on some animals. For some animals, Xanax has the exact opposite effect and makes them even more anxious and psychotic. If she had an adverse reaction to Xanax previously, it would be wise to carefully (re)consider trying it for her again. Personally, I completely support your hesitancy to try it again (JMHO).

 

The L-theanine might help (although it didn't help Zuki), and melatonin might help (has helped my pack). You might also try Biotics Research De-Stress, which is the US-equivalent of Zylkene. It contains a decapeptide isolated from milk. Zylkene was a miracle for us (2 galgos and 1 cat) when we were moving internationally and flew from Amsterdam to Chicago. You might also try the herbs chamomile and passion flower (have helped Zhivaya).

 

It's hard to watch them be so anxious :( Hope you can find some relief for Maya.

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The antidepressants/antipsychotics are all different. You can't predict from trying similar drugs that a different one won't work in a helpful fashion.

 

In addition, with some of these medications, a smaller dose may work better for generalized anxiety than a larger dose, and may help to avoid undesirable side effects.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest PiagetsMom

I'll just update in that when I spoke to my vet and we talked about the options mentioned here, he wasn't really familiar with the Anxitane beyond saying it was a holistic type of substance that he wouldn't necessarily be opposed to my trying for Maya. He also mentioned that a larger than usual dose of Benadryl might have helped - I did give Maya a dose of Benadryl during her panic attack, but evidently the 25 mg wasn't really enough to help. His approach for something like this would be something along the lines of Valium, which would only be given when needed, and he did call in a prescription for that.

 

I don't know how Valium would compare to the Sertraline and Prozac that we've previously have tried for Maya, but those were given on a daily basis and gradually increased, unlike the Valium which would only be given for a panic attack......probably should ask.

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I don't know how Valium would compare to the Sertraline and Prozac that we've previously have tried for Maya, but those were given on a daily basis and gradually increased, unlike the Valium which would only be given for a panic attack......probably should ask.

Totally different drugs with potentially totally different effects like Batmom mentioned. Sertraline and Prozac are both SSRI's, while Valium and Xanax are Benzodiazepines. You may find this article on anxiety medications helpful.If you think you're going to use the Valium, I suggest giving her a dose on a day when there are no flies and you will be home so you can observe the effects, if any, when she's not already fearful. Also, keep in mind that those types of drugs reach their peak around 3 hrs or so in so again, I'd do it when you'll be home all day and can keep an eye on her.

 

My two cents on the Benadryl although I hinted at it above, why use something not intended to treat anxiety for an anxiety-related problem when there are other options? Yes, Benadryl has a sedative effect, but it isn't intended to alter brain chemistry in a way that might help you counter-condition and improve the behavior over the long term. If it were me, I would try the L-anxitane or Zylkene (haven't heard of that one, going to have to investigate it) first (why go full blown anti-anxiety meds if one of these will help) and if that doesn't work, then use the Valium although I don't think you should feel bad at all about just going to the Valium given how fearful she was if you'd prefer it. I might actually do both - put her on something like the L-anxitane twice daily and then use the Valium as needed. When her anxiety is totally controlled then you start eliminating things one at a time.

 

Incidentally, I find it interesting that your vet had you try 2 anxiety meds in the same class, rather than switching to something like Chlomicalm or Amitriptiline (both TCAs) when the Sertraline or Prozac didn't work (whichever you tried first).

Edited by NeylasMom

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest PiagetsMom

 

 

Incidentally, I find it interesting that your vet had you try 2 anxiety meds in the same class, rather than switching to something like Chlomicalm or Amitriptiline (both TCAs) when the Sertraline or Prozac didn't work (whichever you tried first).

 

I can't answer that question, Jen - she was the professional and I assumed she knew what she was doing. We started with the Sertraline, which had no positive affect and seemed to actually increase her anxiety/nervousness, and then moved to the Prozac - which had a very negative result. We could have tried something else, and the behaviorist would have been on board with that, but after a particularly disturbing incident with me and Maya, it was my choice to discontinue meds. I realize I may have given up too soon, but at the time I felt that the medication was producing more negative than positive results. I'm relieved to hear that the Valium is not in the same class of drugs.

 

I'm assuming his remark about the Benadryl wasn't about it being a first choice go-to, but more along the lines of "If it's all you've got, it might have helped", and since I didn't have anything else here, it was what I resorted to.

Edited by PiagetsMom
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Valium is similar to Xanax. The Xanax is usually a bit less sedating, which is useful if you have stairs. But, all dogs are different.

 

We use Xanax for thunderstorm phobia. It helps. Doesn't make the problem disappear and hasn't gotten us quite to the point where we can effectively do any behavior modification, but has a distinct calming effect. We no longer fear that our phobic dog will have a heart attack or overheat during long storms.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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