And I can't change.
Even if I tried.
Even if I wanted to.

The first time I heard those lyrics I was driving the dogs home from some event and Vito was having one of his car anxiety episodes.  It wasn't a bad panic attack at least, but it was certainly heartbreaking.  And while I know the song itself has absolutely nothing to do with my little red dog's issues, the chorus still speaks to me.  

Vito usually has a few moments a day, whether at home, work, or in the car, that I look over at him and sigh.  If I'm having a rough day I might even say "stop being a freak."  I know he can't stop panting and I'm sure if he could speak he still couldn't tell me why he was freaking out.  Vito's lyrics would change slightly to



And I can't change.
Even though I tried.
Even though I wanted to.

Our drug progress is stalled.  We have not caught up to where we were a few months ago.  Car anxiety isn't increasing past mild+ levels at least.  Reactivity to people/sounds at work is averaging 1.5 times a day, not awful.  Separation anxiety, well it's easiest to never leave him anymore but for the most part he can handle being left in the morning if needed.  Random panting episodes at home makes him our alarm at 5:30am, our reminder to take him for walks, and his personal just go to bed now clock.  So not bad.  And of course there are still many good things such as our ability to trial in agility, and as his relative calmness to hang out in my cubicle at work when I'm not there most of the day (a feat that took 2 whole years to get to).  Just leaves me questioning the whole what to do next thing.

I already feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle with trying to maintain drive and enthusiasm in playing obedience/agility while the drugs are trying to keep him calm and relaxed.  These past  2 weeks I started doing the Couch to 5k program again with him and I've been doing it in the morning right after I give him his drugs.  He's a panting freak at that time in the house but is so incredibly happy at that time on our run/walks.  Major tucked butt and glee just radiates from him.  It's different if I do those run/walks in the evening; he enjoys it but is content to be that perfect partner just staying by my side.  

Current decisions on the table:
1. Leave him where he's at with his 3 drugs and be satisfied with where he is in life.   Also hope he can at least maintain it as Vito is not so good about that as shown through our history of dosage increases.

2. Increase the dose of his 2nd and/or 3rd drugs (Clonidine and Valium).  I'm pretty sure this option is a no go for me.  Or on the same lines I could give him a 3rd dose of Clonidine before going to bed.  It's supposed to be a 12hr drug but in Vito it's more of a 6-8hr one.  Seems silly to have to drug him up just for bed time though.

3.  Start over.  Scrap his daily dose of Prozac and begin a new main long-lasting drug.  His 40mg of Prozac is so high that we no longer have any new shorter acting drugs to try with it.  Since many of the longer lasting drugs take 6wks to see effects, this option 3 is a several month plan.  I don't know if I have the strength to do that yet.

Abby  –   – ( June 18, 2013 at 3:36 PM )  

I don't have any thoughts, but just wanted to thank you for being so honest about your successes and frustrations with your dogs. Good luck with Vito, whatever you decide.

Melissa Kay  – ( June 19, 2013 at 9:40 AM )  

I'm sorry you have to deal with this with Vito, but am grateful he has a wonderful owner like you. Other folks would have dropped him by now. Way to go for you!

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( June 19, 2013 at 10:03 PM )  

Thanks you guys. I can't imagine being any more in love with Vito than I am. I always feel so awful when I get frustrated by things beyond his control.

ChampersandsTail  – ( June 23, 2013 at 5:35 PM )  

Hi Laura! I nominated you and your pups for a Super Sweet Blogger Award and a Versatile Blogger Award. You can read more about them here: http://champersandstail.blogspot.com/2013/06/thank-you-everyone-this-newbie-is-sweet.html !


Paws,
Champ

Anita F.  –   – ( February 11, 2014 at 12:01 PM )  

Laura I love your blog, saw you Sat. at TCOTC and remembered our "drug" talks. I'm interested in Valium for my Eski-mix Stash. He's on Clonodine---the max for his size and Paxil. I'd love to try another drug (not really!) but try valium IF it doesn't zone him out. What dose does Vito get? Sorry if this is all covered in another of your posts. He's due for a return visit to the U. soon.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( February 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM )  

Hi Anita!
Vito was on 7.5mg of Diazepam at his highest point, twice a day usually, sometimes 3. It is a very short acting drug. Usually takes about 20min to kick in with full effect at 1hr and only lasts 3-4hrs.

I took him off of it a few months ago as his anxiety was increasing again. Of course. So now he is on Clonidine still, .4mg x2/day, and Clorazepate, 11.25mg x2/day. He is barely on any prozac anymore since we're still weaning him off.
Vito's initially extremely high dose of Prozac at 40mg limited a lot what drugs we could try with it.
Depending on what you want to use the Valium for, I MUCH prefer Vito on Clorazepate. Clorazepate has a longer life so he's not fluxuating as much during the day. It's about 8hrs with Vito, 12hrs with most dogs. But Valium sure worked very quickly. It also had a little bit higher sedation effect.
Vito also tried Xanax early on in our search. It's another very quick acting, short lasting drug. Works well for some dogs but for Vito it either didn't work at all or he was very sedated. I hated it.

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