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Fearful To The Extreme - August 18, 2015 Pupdate Post #36


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I am thrilled to say that the last two days have brought a breakthrough. Barkley is going out to the porch and screen enclosed pool area all on his own. Today he went out in the backyard and peed! Looks like DH is going to be leading the way to Barkley's recovery since he feels most comfortable venturing outside at noon. But, hey! I'll take it.

The behaviorist comes on the 23rd. Thank you all for your advice and support and please send healing thoughts to this frightened boy.

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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Just a thought about the light: one of my dogs is frightened, as far as I can tell, of shadows. She doesn't mind me holding a flashlight, or seeing the light, but if something causes a shadow, she will try and avoid the beam. Moving it also bothers her, quite likely because that makes shadows. Don't know if this is what happened with your guy, but thought it was worth mentioning.

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My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

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Wonderful update!

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When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship. ~ W Scott Lineberry

Always Greyhounds Home Boarding and Greyhounds With Love House Sitting

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Rebecca, I'm wondering if there may be something associated with darkness. Barkley was acting as if he wanted to venture outside again last night, but he acted like if he couldn't see, he wasn't "going there". We'll see if the behaviorist believes it has a physical or emotional cause. Until then, I will ask DH to see if he can lure him out in the dark.

 

Barkley made another step toward recovery this morning; he woke up from his breakfast induced coma (DH was long gone to Thursday golf) and immediately indicated that he wanted to go out. Without speaking or looking at him, I opened the back door and walked out onto the porch then into the pool area, opening both doors in order to give him a choice. He followed, went out into the yard, walked to his favorite spot and peed a gallon! Good boy!

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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Very Good Boy!!!

baby steps for mr. Barkley :beatheart

lorinda, mom to the ever revolving door of Foster greyhounds

Always in my heart: Teala (LC Sweet Dream) , Pepton, Darbee-Do (Hey Barb) , Rascal (Abitta Rascal), Power (Beyond the Power), and the miracle boy LAZER (2/21/14), Spirit (Bitter Almonds) 8/14

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Barkley's eyesight still concerns me. But these are very good updates, good boy.

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

3 days post behaviorist. AD (the behaviorist) was pretty incredible. The most impressive part of his visit was when would give instructions to us and then describe how Barkley was going to react. Dead on every time. Three quarters of the session was educating the humans about the grey wolf since our dogs share 98+ percent DNA. Pack dynamics, breeding habits to ensure the future of the pack, etc.

 

We were given specific things to do, modifications in our behavior/reactions to his most annoying attempts to control us and exercises to help him overcome his fear of the leash. Poor boy was so stifled in his first home that when he was surrendered and landed in a foster home where the dad didn't like him and the mom worked long hours, his reaction was to try to be the alpha while dealing with his fear. Two more foster homes welcomed him and added to his confusion before we came along. Our tried and true methods of assimilating a new dog were too relaxed for him, so his fears took over. The falling in the driveway incident with DH sent him over the edge.

 

I am assuming the role of alpha in baby steps. Barkley is going outside for me with minimal effort. He' not asking to go out yet but I'll take it. And after a couple of corrections is actually not nosing or barking at the bedroom door when he wants to eat at 4 am!!! He is wearing 3 feet of a leash (with the loop removed) when someone is in the house with him and he is not afraid of it. AD explained that while Barkley is attempting to get around the house while dragging the strip of leash and stepping on it, he believes we are controlling him. Interestingly, he doesn't pace while wearing it, which he used to do for hours each day. Now he just goes to bed.

 

We are a long way from having a dog that will eagerly go for a walk or for a ride in the car, but we have the tools and the continued support of AD to move toward those goals. If you would like to know more about AD, go to www dot rrre-dog dot com.

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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Very glad to hear that your boy is responding well, and that you feel less overwhelmed! :yay It sounds like you are well on your way to integrating him into your household! Kudos to all of you!

 

Take the wolf=dog stuff with a grain of salt though. Humans share that much DNA wth chimps, and yet no one even suggests we are the same creatures with the same habits and needs. And, while dogs do pack up, they are not "pack" animals per se, so the "alpha" leadership theory isn't applicable. It's not even applicable for wolves according to recent research. Clear rules and boundaries, along with consistent application, will help everyone in the house do better.

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

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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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I'm glad Barkley is doing better, and it's hard to argue with success, but I agree with greysmom. Much of what tends to be attributed to 'dominance' or 'alpha' is simply a matter of providing a consistent routine and firm guidelines. You really don't have to think about it in terms of him trying to control you, or you controlling him. That perspective can sometimes result in a negative attitude toward the dog, which doesn't help anyone.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

Ollie (whippet), Gracie (whippet x), & Terra (whippet) + Just Saying + Just Alice

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I am really disheartened to hear the advice you received from this so-called "behaviorist" who clearly actually doesn't know about animal behavior because what he's telling you is incorrect, though some of the things he is having you do may inadvertently have an effect. Curious what this person's qualifications are. You can only call yourself a behaviorist btw if you have a graduate degree in the field. Anyone else labeling themselves as such is being disingenuous at best. Sorry I'm not mincing words here, but I am concerned for you and Barkley.

 

I am especially concerned that as far as I can tell, his eyesight has still not been checked out. My immediate thought was that he is blind and I still think that a very likely possibility.

 

By the way, dogs don't try to control us, they try to control the environment. Just as we try to control our own environment. That's why reward based training works. Dogs will happily learn to do the things we like when they realize it gets them more of the things they like.

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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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  • 3 months later...

It has been almost 4 months since asking for help from the GT contributors who have much more experience than I. I thank those who contributed positive, supportive replies.

 

Barkley is doing well. He has been taking short walks once a day for about a month and with each walk, he is becoming less focused on me and treats and more aware of the sights, sounds and smells around him. Using my 45 years of pet ownership experience and years of positive reinforcement based obedience classes with my other dogs and lots of love and patience, that terrified boy is becoming more comfortable in a world outside of the walls of our home. He certainly has a long way to go, but I'll take what he gives every day and be thankful. He is never going to be a normal dog. My goal is to make his "normal" the best it can possibly be.

 

Barkley has had no meltdowns since March. He is becoming more affectionate in his own way, being more open to physical contact such as being brushed, massaged, ear scritches, trimming nails, etc.

During his journey of healing, Barkley has made it perfectly clear that he will always be anxious, so we sought help from our holistic Vet who agreed that all natural remedies had been exhausted and she prescribed Xanax. I have been experimenting with doses and timing for the past 10 days but am not satisfied with the results. Barkley's anxiety manifests itself in pacing. He has been known to pace for 6 hours non-stop. A 2mg dose of Xanax twice a day knocks him out for 6 to 8 hours and then the pacing begins. The 2mg pills are scored in 2 places, so giving him two segments or 1.3mg twice a day doesn't knock him out but the pacing begins earlier. Increasing the 1.3mg three times a day renders the same results as the full 2mg dose. Is Xanax a medication that takes longer to provide results than some others? My impression is that Xanax was as much for crisis control as for long standing, predictable anxiety. Yes? No?

 

I am looking for suggestions of other medications currently being used successfully by others for chronic anxiety. What doses, frequency, side effects, etc? Thanking you in advance for your input and for not jumping to conclusions until you have walked a mile in my shoes.

Edited by duncan41

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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I am so glad you are making progress, but have for advice for medications.

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The handsome boy Brady, mid-morning nap. The sun, the sun feels so, so, so good.

I can't keep my eyes open ... ... Retirement agrees ...

... and the Diva Ms India, 2001 - 10/16/2009 ....

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My Katie has generalized anxiety. I've had her on Prozac (generic) for years now, and it has made a huge difference. It does take a long time to get to therapeutic levels... I think they recommend giving it at least 4 weeks before you start deciding about whether you need to tweak the dosage or go to a different drug altogether.

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My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

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You might really consider a veterinary behaviorist if he's still that anxious and you are introducing medication. They are best equipped to help you both with finding the right med or combination of meds and dosages, as well as a plan for behavior modification.

 

I definitely don't think Xanax is a good first choice unless you are using it for specific triggers like thunderstorms. Somethings like Prozac would be more appropriate.

 

In the meantime, you say you've exhausted all natural aids. Do those include: thundershirt, DAP collar, Composure, & l-theanine?

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

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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Since Barkley cannot/will not travel, the Veterinary Behaviorist is out of the question.

 

Yes, the DAP collar, Composure and L-Theanine were tried without success. Barkley would not allow anyone to put a thundershirt on him.

 

 

My Katie has generalized anxiety. I've had her on Prozac (generic) for years now, and it has made a huge difference. It does take a long time to get to therapeutic levels... I think they recommend giving it at least 4 weeks before you start deciding about whether you need to tweak the dosage or go to a different drug altogether.

 

What were Katie's symptoms? Was Prozac the first and only medication that was prescribed? Any side effects?

 

Edited to add: Sorry I did not see the link to the blog about your journey with Katie. I will be reading it with interest!

Edited by duncan41

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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Since Barkley cannot/will not travel, the Veterinary Behaviorist is out of the question.

 

...

 

FWIW, many Veterinary Behaviorists will do in home consultations.


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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FWIW, many Veterinary Behaviorists will do in home consultations.

 

I did look into that. The minimum charge for a consultation from the closest Veterinary Behaviorist is $800.00 which does not include mileage or travel time which would be 4 hours each way. It's not within my budget.

Edited by duncan41

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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I dont know why I'm even bothering with this, but one of the veterinary behaviorists in my area will consult for free on any case if it's the vet who contacts her.

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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 dont know why I'm even bothering with this, but one of the veterinary behaviorists in my area will consult for free on any case if it's the vet who contacts her.

 

My Vet would be more than willing to contact anyone who would be able to help Barkley.

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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Jen, would you prefer to communicate directly with my Vet? I can send her info to you by pm.

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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Using anti anxiety medications with dogs is just like using them with people - some drugs work better for some people than others, same with dogs. If xanax isn't working for Barkley you should talk with your vet about a different class of anti anxiety medication. Prozac would be one to try for generalized anxiety. Valium is also popular but will likely give much the same result as xanax since they are similar. I had good results with my girl with Paxil, but what really worked for her was Trazadone. She wasn't anxiety free, but she was MUCH happier and nearly like a "normal" greyhound, at least inside the house with her family.

 

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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Thanks, Chris. How many adjustments did you make to the Trazadone dose before finding the right one? How long did you wait before making an adjustment? What was the initial dose and how much did you add or subtract to reach the level that works. I spoke to my Vet on Friday about Trazodone and learned that she has no experience with it. That's the reason for all of the questions.

Linda, Mom to Fuzz, Barkley, and the felines Miss Kitty, Simon and Joseph.Waiting at The Bridge: Alex, Josh, Harley, Nikki, Beemer, Anna, Frank, Rachel, my heart & soul, Suze and the best boy ever, Dalton.<p>

:candle ....for all those hounds that are sick, hurt, lost or waiting for their forever homes. SENIORS ROCK :rivethead

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Jen, would you prefer to communicate directly with my Vet? I can send her info to you by pm.

I'm not a vet behaviorist and I can't evaluate your dog in person since I'm so far. Have you checked to see if the one closest to you (or any in your state really) will consult with your vet? Since your vet isn't particularly experienced with anxiety meds it would make sense if she could at least consult for that. If the ones in your area wont, the one here in MD who will is Dr. Meyer. No idea if she does out of state consults though - expect there may be licensing issues there. I hope you can find someone who will as you shouldn't have to come here to ask about which med, dosages, etc. We are not vets, went don't know your dog or see her behavior, we are not equipped to give you that info, and for someone like me who is a certified trainer it would really be unethical to do so. Not criticising you at all for asking, just want to see you get the help you and your pup need. Meds can be tricky and in more serious anxiety cases like the one you are dealing with you may need to use more than one. When you're in a situation like that that isn't as straightforward, I feel strongly a vet behv is the appropriate choice though I completely understand they can be cost prohibitive. One thing to consider though is whether that cost is worth it over the lifetime of the dog vs what you might spend trying different meds, trainers, etc. Just a thought. Here though the initial consult is outrageously expensive it includes all of the phone and email followup, which can be quite extensive. I can tell you from the consults I've done that that money doesn't go far when all is said and done. Not that that's much comfort when you're shelling out the money. ;)

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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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Thanks, Chris. How many adjustments did you make to the Trazadone dose before finding the right one? How long did you wait before making an adjustment? What was the initial dose and how much did you add or subtract to reach the level that works. I spoke to my Vet on Friday about Trazodone and learned that she has no experience with it. That's the reason for all of the questions.

 

Also seconding what Jen just posted above^^^ This is my experience only.

 

Our Cash was a true spook and it took quite a few years to get to the point where she was "normal" with us inside the house. Outside, even in her own yard, she would often get frightened by weird things - blowing branches, a very windy day, loud vehicles driving by, strangers in the street. One day a stick laying on the ground would be cause for a freak out, and an hour later, she would walk past it without a glance. She was always on-leash, even in our own yard, because she would get scared and her response was always to run away. I spent hours outside waiting for her to calm down or get tired enough for me to catch her, terrified she would become frightened enough to jump the fence and be gone.

 

We ourselves were also not familiar with dealing with a highly anxious dog. And treatment was still very basic even though this was *only* in 2008. Off label use of human anti anxiety medication was still not much done, and there was virtually no information for regular vets. It was all just experimentation. We tried desensitization training, obedience (useless as she was too scared), all sorts of homeopathic remedies, adopting another female dog, and others I can't even remember! Though looking back, I know we didn't try and DAP products, and that might have helped her, especially in the beginning.

 

Our vet at the time was also not familiar with a lot of anxiety medication. We started with Clomicalm since that is a dog specific Rx. No change, even with a couple dosage tweaks over several months. Next came Xanax. This was some help and she began to calm down and bond with us a bit. She was able to learn some obedience at home - the biggest thing for her was learning a "watch me" command. Once she figured that out, and gained the confidence to look me in the eyes, she took a big leap forward.

 

Remember that the whole purpose of medication is to allow your dog's brain to be receptive to training. With anxious dogs, a lot of that is building their confidence and helping them to feel secure.

 

We switched vets a few years ago, and she was much more familiar and comfortable with prescribing AA meds. We switched Cash to Paxil - at the regular dose for her weight - and that was another big leap forward. We began to see more of her personality and she seemed much more happy and secure. She was able to go on vacations with us and enjoy herself (after an adjustment period in the new place). She would accept treats from certain non-family people.

 

Then several greyhound people that we know began using Trazadone and having really good results. We switched Cash to this (again at the dose for her weight) and it was, literally, a miracle for her! Such a big change! We could get through 4th of July and New Year's without a major meltdown. She began to play with her brother and sisters, and play with toys. She still had spells of "freaking out" but they were much more managable.

 

Trazadone is a human medication and it's use in veterinary medicine is off label and still a bit new. It is generally quite safe, with few side effects - though there are some, and have been some bad reactions. It's also relatively cheap.

 

One thing you might consider if a veterinary behaviorist is not an option, is have your vet refer you to a good canine neurologist. A consult would (hopefully) be much less than $800, and they should be familiar with current research and usage of anti anxiety medications.

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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I agree with Jen's posts. Chris' idea of a neurologist is an interesting option too. Understandably, if you can't afford a veterinary behaviorist (or neurologist) and your regular vet isn't experienced with these medications, perhaps your vet would refer you to another general vet who has greater experience working with canine behavior medications.

 

If interested in the meantime, here is an informative link about Prozac labeled for veterinary use called Reconcile: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?A=2742

 

One of our hounds was on generic Fluoxetine (Prozac) for severe separation anxiety. Vet started her on a low dose that was gradually increased over multiple weeks. Eventually, after reaching an upper-range dose for her size, her dose needed to be gradually reduced back to a mid-range level due to a reduction of appetite and lethargy. The lower to mid-range dosage worked best for her. The medication worked well to relax her anxiety enough to allow her mind to be receptive to alone training. Thereafter, the medication was slowly tapered down to full elimination. Post-treatment we welcomed her improved happy spirit and improved appetite.

 

Xanax increased her anxiety. Clomipramine did not work for her. My vet wasn't comfortable prescribing Trazadone for her at that time. As others mentioned, each patient is different.

 

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