Meds- Take 2

Unfortunately for us Vito's anxiety has actually increased while on Clomipramine.  He has been on it for 25days and was on Alprazolam (Xanax) for 17days but that was having zero effect. 

The Ugly

The biggest difference we have noticed is that Vito has become a nervous wreck while crated at the obedience club and at trials.  We have worked very hard and this has always been one area where Vito has seemed normal.  As long as he was crated in a high traffic area Vito has been comfortable with being left in a crate for up to 2 hours with out being checked on.  But the past month it has all changed and now Vito is back to whining and trembling when crated even if I am sitting a foot away. 

The Bad
Vito's appetite has also decreased and he wasn't that food motivated to begin with.  We were supposed to start feeding him out of food dispensing toys and leaving him alone while eating.  In theory the food toys would require more engagement and keep his brain busier than just chewing on bones.  Well Vito has zero interest in eating his stuffed kongs while crated at work even though he can see me.  Often he has zero interest period.  He likes his orange food ball but at times will just push it around and ignore the kibble falling out.  The Kong Wobbler is ok but insanely easy to get out food and again he's just not that interested.  Vito likes the Tug a Jug the most but still not enough to eat when he doesn't want.  During training sessions it is not uncommon for Vito to work for the click but refuse the actual food.  Interestingly enough the harder I make what we are working on the more likely Vito is to actually eat the food as a reward.  It's as though he thinks he really earned it so better eat it.

Vito has been sleeping a lot.  I don't know if this is due to the medication or not since I was  honestly worried about him before the medication started.  Hard to say if he is sleeping more now or not.  He certainly isn't bringing me toys and harassing me to play and I can't remember the last time he played tug with Chuckles.

To add to the other changes Vito has been even more reactive.  He's reacting to people in situations that normally wouldn't cause any reaction.  Typically Vito is only reactive in quiet settings when there is a big change in the environment.  Loud dog shows rarely cause outbursts but a person walking into a quiet room and waving does trigger him.  This past month Vito has reacted several times at the busy obedience club and to almost every person entering the building at work.


The Good
On the positive side, we have been resuming our SA protocal and have been doing several short departures that have all gone well.  Most of our absences have been between 10-30min and during ALL Vito has chewed on his bones and has been completely relaxed.  We have done 2 "long" departures of 55min and 75min and Vito was also fine during them. 

I don't know if the goodness has been due to the medications or not as we had worked up to 2.5hrs absences at one point before he started getting worse this past August.  The main difference these past trials is that Vito has been eating his bones everytime we leave them instead of just for 10 minutes.  His longest time of chewing has still been 50minutes which is consistent with his highest time before the meds.  He still has not slept while we were gone which would be HUGE for Vito but he hasn't really been left alone long enough to do so.

At work there has been zero change in anxiety level.  I'm going to put it under the good category since he did not get worse at least :)  Still doesn't want to go in his crate during my training of the other dogs, still stands at the baby gate the entire time he is penned up in my cubicle when I'm gone, but is still not whining.

The Change
Goodbye Clomipramine, hellox Prozac, and welcome back Xanax.  At his recheck appointment today we decided that minimally Clomipramine is not helping Vito regardless of whether it is contributing to the other issues that have started.  We are going to see if Fluoxetine (Prozac) will help him and re continue his Xanax at a higher dose.

Mango  – ( February 28, 2011 at 7:33 PM )  

Poor Vito and poor you. This sounds so difficult. Hard enough to gauge those meds in humans, let alone dogs. I hope you find something that works.

Mango Momma

Amy Carlson  – ( February 28, 2011 at 7:57 PM )  

Aw, that stinks. Roscoe was calm and cool on the prozac, but it took away all his play drive. He would work, but he wasn't all that animated. It was the first time in the five years I had him that he slept through the night, but I couldn't live with the low play drive so we stopped it. Were he not a performance dog I might have continued it. We switched to buspirone. He is still on that. Probably won't ever take him off it.

Crystal  – ( February 28, 2011 at 8:34 PM )  

Oh, I am so sorry to hear this. I mean, I already kind of knew, but still. I hope the Prozac helps.

Kristen  – ( February 28, 2011 at 10:58 PM )  

How hard. SA is the thing I dislike the most.

Fluoxetine is my best friend. In some ways it seemed like Blaze was less 'drivey' about his toys while on it, but it's more likely that the anxiety component of play/retrieve/toys was gone and he was able to play in a MUCh less conflicted and much more healthy way.

Ninso  – ( March 1, 2011 at 9:35 AM )  

Aw, sorry to hear the Clomipramine wasn't working. Remember, the Prozac takes at least a month to kick in, and 2 months for full effect, so be patient. You probably won't see anything right away, but hopefully over time. And the Prozac is $4 for a month's supply at Target, so get it there, if you're not already!

Lok has been sleeping a lot too. Not sure if it's the Prozac or he's just getting out of "puppy" stage. He has always been a pretty calm dog and is five now. Still as enthusiastic as ever about playing but pretty much happy to sleep when he's not playing.

Muttsandaklutz  – ( March 1, 2011 at 6:54 PM )  

Oh man, that sucks. Hang in there, you're doing everything humanly possible to help Vito. I know you will figure out the best solution for his needs.

Loretta Mueller  – ( March 2, 2011 at 9:05 AM )  

I am so sorry Laura...hopefully the new meds will help Vito :(

Just keep with the SA stuff, sounds like you are making progress though. Little by little.

Ace got all his meals in kongs and food toys...otherwise he wouldn't eat them when we were gone. After figuring this out with him he did start getting more into the kongs/food toys since he realized those were his only meals. But we did have to resort to that tactic as he wasn't super food motivated to begin with anyway. To this day, he gets a kong with kibble mixed with soft dogfood (frozen) as his breakfast.

I hope things improve!!! Positive thoughts!

Cynthia  – ( March 3, 2011 at 2:50 PM )  

Meds are so tough, for people and dogs... but they can help so very much.

Amy / Layla the Malamute  – ( March 3, 2011 at 10:54 PM )  

Hi Laura, Just wanted to send you a message here so I knew you'd see it. I didn't explain properly; I'm not giving her treats out of my right hand, I'm giving them out of my left hand, but right at my hip, where she should (theoretically) be able to just lift her snout up and get it. Do you know what else could be causing the wrapping out? Next month we're going up to MA for private lessons with Terri Arnold, who we went to the seminar from this past summer. I'm pretty excited!

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( March 4, 2011 at 6:19 PM )  

Oops I must have read it wrong! The wrapping out is likely due to wanting to make eye contact. My dogs heel with eye contact and forging and crabbing out is a side effect that needs fixing. You can get great attention without it but it takes work. I would continue to heel against a wall, do lots of tight left circles and really work that hind end awareness to get her butt in. Don't put too much stock in my advice though, I'm not exactly an expert in competitive obedience! I would be thrilled to work with Terri Arnold!!!! I'm very jealous!

Honey the Great Dane  – ( March 4, 2011 at 7:20 PM )  

Oh dear. What a horrible situation for you to be in. I can;t imagine how stressful it must have been in the last month since you've been on the new meds. And while they may have helped a bit with the SA (if it wasn't just a coincidence) the other side-effects seem to negate any benefits.

I don't have anything to offer other than (cyber) support and admiration for your patience. I really couldn't cope with this if it was me. I've been having a hard time just because Honey's been a bit more stressed & wound up in the last few days since the arrival of Muesli and has been pacing up & down a lot and whining (a bit!) compared to her usual placid, dozing self - and that isn't even a 10th of what you have to deal with!

I really do hope you make some breakthrough soon -

Hsin-Yi

achieve1dream  – ( March 14, 2011 at 6:54 PM )  

Sigh. It's so hard finding the right medicine and the right dosage. Keep at it and you will find what is right for him. I'll be thinking of Vito (and you since I know this is stressful).

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