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Old 05-04-2011, 09:17 PM
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Default Anti-anxiety meds?

I am thinking about putting Chloe on some sort of anti-anxiety medication. I've been meaning to get her on one for quite awhile now, I just don't think of it until she has an "episode", and then I never can because I'm always short on cash.

She has what I believe is generalized anxiety. Anything outside the "norm" causes her to go in to spastic overdrive. Sound phobia, car stress, visitors, new dogs, being thrown off her routine, being confined away from the family when that isn't "normal" (if she views it as acceptable she's just peachy and chill - she stays at home all day alone and is fine), getting a bath, getting blow dried, being crated, being groomed...she just freaks. Her eyes dilate, she starts panting to the point of hyperventilation, she paces, she whines, she shakes, she jumps all over people and acts frantic (people assume she is being overly friendly, and that is it in part, but I think the other part is that she's so over stimulated she's over reacting)...she's a mess. And when she gets in that mind set she is much quicker to over react (and with her, that typically means aggression) to a stimulus than she would in her normal frame of mind.

For example. Here is a picture of when my brother came out to lunch with one of his/his roomate's pup, Stella. Jake was happy. Stella was happy. Apollo was fascinated. Chloe was an anxious mess.


I don't know much about treating for generalized anxiety, and I wondered if anyone else had experience with it. I wouldn't expect the meds to be a fix all, but it would at the very least get her in the frame of mind to where I could work with her. Is there a certain drug that would be better than another for day to day anxiety medication, not something that is just a phobia kind of thing? She'd be on the meds daily, long term.

I like to have a game plan in mind before I talk to my vet when it comes to medications, because I've found over the years they tend to not tell me about potential side effects that the drugs have that I would rather avoid...
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:51 AM
Rebecca4614 Rebecca4614 is offline
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I've had my dog training clients use both ClomiCalm and Reconcile (doggie Prozac!) in dogs with debilitating anxiety problems. The results haven't been consistent, unfortunately. Some dogs seem to improve a great deal, others don't show any improvement at all. It would certainly be worth discussing with your vet to see if you should give it a try, though, especially if your dog is stressed to a point that her quality of life is suffering.

Another option you might want to consider is a Thundershirt, which is a snug vest that's used to treat anxiety and fear in dogs. It sounds weird, but it often produces magical results! It might not be the perfect solution in your case, since your dog sounds like she has quite a bit of anxiety on an ongoing basis, but you definitely might find it helpful at times of particularly high stress.

I've used the Thundershirt on dogs with fear of thunderstorms/fireworks and on dogs with crate stress, anxiety about being left alone and carsickness. So far, I've seen pretty consistent good results, but there are definitely some online reviews for people that found it wasn't effective, so there's no guarantee it'll work on every dog.

It's pretty reasonably priced at 36 bucks and you can get it on Amazon.com right now with free shipping, so it might be worth a shot.

Of course, lots of exercise and obedience training helps dogs with anxiety issues, too, but I'm assuming you're already doing that!

Good luck with your dog!!
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:40 AM
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the thundershirt seems to be the general consensus it seems. I have the same issues with Bamm though his separation anxiety seems to be the worst with him.

Here's my thread if you want to read other people's thundershirt suggestions
http://www.chazhound.com/forums/t134684/
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:47 AM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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I would suggest going a natural route first before actual behavior modification medication. Rescue remedy, DAP and thundershirts have all worked well in my experience. However, they either work for your dog or they don't but you don't know until you try.

Most behavior meds need to be giving on a long term basis, meaning they are not effective until they have been given a while and must be weaned off when you discontinue them.

Prozac is supposed to have the fewest side effects. However, my brief stint with it produced excessive lip licking, lethargy, disinterest and possibly aggression in my dane.

There are other meds out there, I don't know very much about them though, it would be wise to contact a behaviorist with a DVM on choosing meds as most veterinarians arn't well-versed in this department.
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:55 PM
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I've thought about a thundershirt, but would she just have to wear it all the time? I typically know when her triggers will happen, but it isn't just one specific thing that is causing her to act out, it is very generalized.
I also can't groom her with the shirt on and I am really, really hoping to avoid drugging her with ACE in order to get her groom done without her spazzing. She reacts very strongly to it and even just giving her a little bit sets her out of sorts for 24 hours easy. It isn't so much that she is impossible to do (we can get her done muzzle/drug free as long as I'm there to help hold her and be the one to bathe/dry/brush her), but she hyperventilates the entire time and I know she is in distress. It hasn't gotten worse, but after three years of taking her there we haven't made any further improvements, either, and this seems to be as far as I can get with her.

I don't know, maybe it is just her temperament...but I just really wish I could help her. Most of the calming medications and remedies I know just treat a situation where there is only a specific anxiety and it can be predicted - Chloe has a much more general, anxious disposition. And I firmly believe it is because of her poor coping abilities that she reacts so strongly to things.

I can't, unfortunately, afford a behaviorist. One session (and a phone follow up) will run me $300-$500. That is money I absolutely do not have.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:19 PM
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ace is an awful choice for anxious dogs- it's just a sedative, it does nothing to relieve anxiety. it also scrambles the senses, which i have to think makes scary experiences even more scary.

i had good results with clomipramine (generic for clomicalm) with my old dog harv. he took it specifically to augment xanax for thunderstorm/noise phobia, but while he was on it, he was definitely more comfortable about the rest of stressful things in life. i didn't appreciate any negative side effects in him.
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:15 PM
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Or old school human med options like Buspar or Elavil .... pretty cheap now because you can get in generic and they are anti anxiety meds, not sedatives. (And I totally agree with the NO ACE comments .... I've never seen a good reaction from an ace sedated dog when it was given for anxiety - it almost seemed to make the problems worse!)
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
ace is an awful choice for anxious dogs- it's just a sedative, it does nothing to relieve anxiety. it also scrambles the senses, which i have to think makes scary experiences even more scary.
Oh, no, the Ace wouldn't be to make her any more calm...it would just be to knock her out so we could get her done without her making a nuisance of herself. I use it on the 4th of July when neighbors are shooting of fireworks and we are out of town, as both Rose and Chloe are loud noise phobic.

I hate using it and would only use it as a last resort. We have a sheepdog that comes in for grooming that his owners give a mild dose of ace to before we groom him as an alternative to sedating him. So instead of freaking out the entire time and trying to attack us when we go to do his feet he just sort of stands there.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:40 AM
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I'm shocked that a behaviorist would cost that much! (Not doubting you, just had no idea.) What about a APDT trainer with experience in anxiety? She could help recommend training exercises. (That's what I did for help with B's mild SA. And it cost just over $100/hour.) Perhaps it makes sense to do training plus medication?

Anyway, I have a friend whose very anxious (previously neglected/abused) dog takes Prozac as needed. I can definitely notice a difference with him when it kicks in. They seem to have good results with it.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey08 View Post
I'm shocked that a behaviorist would cost that much! (Not doubting you, just had no idea.) What about a APDT trainer with experience in anxiety? She could help recommend training exercises. (That's what I did for help with B's mild SA. And it cost just over $100/hour.) Perhaps it makes sense to do training plus medication?

Anyway, I have a friend whose very anxious (previously neglected/abused) dog takes Prozac as needed. I can definitely notice a difference with him when it kicks in. They seem to have good results with it.
I haven't been able to find anyone in my area. Purdue University is the only local behaviorist place, which is probably why it is so expensive. lol We have two options for trainers in this area - Petsmart and a boarding kennel/training facility that does do private consultations but I know nothing about them. There is one obedience club (definitely not behavior modification) and one behaviorist (aka, PU). Although actually, I'm pretty sure the head behaviorist on staff at Purdue is leaving to go overseas. I was hoping to take some classes with him next semester (and Dr. Garner), but they're both leaving this summer.

But if you can find anyone around Lafayette IN that could be of some use, let me know. I haven't been able to turn up anything.
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