Vito Behavioral Appointment

Vito had his recheck appointment with the Veterinary Behaviorist last week.  His 6 month checkup was supposed to be the beginning of January but due to some emergencies it had to be pushed way back.  Back in January and February I was planning on discussing lowering his medication doses and possibly getting rid of one of the 3 drugs he is on. 

I want this again.
At that time Vito was calm, and even resting his head down quite often, on 95% of car rides.  At work he was relaxing nicely under my desk and I was able to train the service dogs without any thought of how he was doing without me.  His separation anxiety was getting a bit worse if left alone in the evenings, but he was still doing very well if left in the morning.

Unfortunately, and with Vito there always seems to be one, things started to slowly change in early-mid March.  Vito is still much improved from last year, but we are no longer in our blissful state that started to exist in October and was cemented by December.

Now Vito is still doing pretty well in the car, but he is slowly increasing the percentage of trips with light anxiety appearing and actual panic attacks are occasionally coming back as well.

At work Vito is continuing to do a nice job of relaxing under my desk when I'm gone, but his reactivity to people approaching or noises heard is greatly increasing.  Vito used to only react a few times a week but the last few weeks he has been reacting several times a day.

At home, his separation anxiety is almost back to square one.  Thankfully he doesn't need to be left alone very often at all so this is pretty low on our list of priorities.  Although I also feel that not being left alone on a regular basis is also what's preventing him from doing better.  Vito was doing very well with longer absences when he had a few short 1hr absences a week to help build him up.  Since that is no longer possible with our work schedules he now can't even handle 20 minutes. 

And finally, Vito is becoming a problem child when he comes with me to let out the pack of service dogs for their noon playtime.  He has never wanted to actually play with the group of dogs, but for some reason he finds the opportunity incredibly exciting and starts working himself up a good half hour before it actually happens; leaving him behind becomes a no longer valid option.  The new problem is his increasing redirection of arousal to the other dogs.  A month or two ago I suddenly found myself having to leash him while the other dogs were let out or he would charge them.  Now he is calm while on leash but as soon as the leash is removed he sprints off like a rocket towards the other dogs and snarks at any one who dares to get excited by his approach.  After the initial rushing/possible snarks Vito will then calm down and be content to ignore the teenage dogs as he sniffs and wanders on his own.

So our recheck discussion was long.   Changing his shorter acting medications of Clonidine and Diazepam to anything else is out of the question as his Prozac dose is so incredibly high at 40mg.  Getting him on a different main drug is a possibility but one that we both want to hold off on as it could completely rock the boat.  Luckily we do have wiggle room left with increasing how much Clonidine and Diazepam he is getting each day.  Currently Vito takes .3mg of Clonidine twice a day, 8hrs apart, and takes 7.5mg Diazepam in the morning and then a hour before other car rides, usually just a 2nd dose at 4pm.  I really don't want to increase either one for fear of decreasing his drive even  more during training/trials but did start increasing his Clonidine to .4mg.

Other options talked about were trying a DAP spray, acupuncture and food changes.  For now I'm just ordering the DAP.  For the dog rushing, since Vito won't take any treats in the situation we talked about giving him a ball for a few minutes if it won't create too many problems with the other dogs.  Or possibly letting him out with just 2 other dogs for a few minutes to let him calm down and then seeing if he doesn't rework himself back up when letting out the rest of the pack.

Kim  – ( May 3, 2013 at 9:21 AM )  

Poor Vito. I hope you're able to find the right combo that will stick with him for longer periods of time. My Holly's travel issues has its highs and lows...crating her has been a major factor in getting the highs...but, it's a life long process, isn't it?

Catalina  – ( May 5, 2013 at 11:46 PM )  

I hope things get better with Vito :) I'm dreading our visit next month. It's nice to know that you can use DAP. I used that with Tibby some before she went on meds. I also used it on a Snuggle Puppy when I brought Dhali home. He liked it, so maybe it does work!

Dexter  – ( May 6, 2013 at 7:52 PM )  

Oh Vito.

I just saw the movie "Silver Linings Playbook." Made me think of Vito a little bit. Hard enough to get the meds right in a person.

You have my best wishes.

Mango Momma

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