Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pet Meds

Pets are great!

So are pet meds.

Oh, I don't take them. Well...the Wonder Husband took horse tranquilizers once but that's another story. When you live with a dog that has Canine Separation Anxiety, pet meds are a must. Until 8 years ago, this disorder was one I with which I wasn't familiar. Now I live with it on a daily basis. If you've read or seen the story of Marley & Me, a memoir of family and their dog, there is an account of Marley shredding the upholstery off a sofa all the way down to the wooden frame.

Believe me, it can happen. My dog Maaco hasn't gone that far but he has ripped up blinds,

chewed through molding, bottoms of doors,

and devoured lampshades. He's put teeth holes in door knobs and flattened the sides so he can open them with his mouth.

He's torn boards off of the fence. We've put three different kinds of latches on the gate because two are not enough. He can figure out most of them.

He can't be alone for more than an hour or two before becoming panicked and anxious. If he's inside he is frantic to get out. If he's outside, he's tearing screens off to get inside the house. Or trying to stuff his 10 inch wide body under a three inch gap under the furniture. And, lord almighty, if there is thunder, lightening, high winds or fire works, he'd better not be alone or I'll find this when I get home.

And I'll find a dog that is round-eyed-wild, quivering, whining and salivating. I tried crating him when I left, but no matter how I secured the crate, he'd always find a way to escape. For a while, he was called Houdini Dog. Finally, I set the video camera up to find out what was happening. It is one of the most heart wrenching videos you'll ever see. He shrieked, in half-human tones, and bent the wires of the crate until his gums and mouth bled, for over an hour until the tape ran out. I was gone three.

I've worked with a canine behaviorist and the vet to give this dog as good of life as possible. She's helped me work on retraining and desensitizing him. It is a slow process with lots of backward steps. The very kindly vet is understanding and has helped with a medication regime.

Maaco's not currently on meds but in the past, we've used Clomicalm, an anti-depressant medication; and Acepromazine, a tranquilizer. I'm not one to drug animals, but there are instances where it is necessary. The vet only wants me to use enough to take the edge off but not sedate him. I have to admit, sometimes it would be nice to knock him out when I leave so neither of us have to worry about how long I'm gone or what I'll find when I get home.

Maaco is the smartest dog and the worst dog--all rolled into one--that I've ever owned. In fact, smart dogs are often prone to the disorder. He is not easy. The behaviorist said that even a dedicated dog owner would have surrendered him long ago. It may happen yet. Since he's nearly 8, I'm hoping to keep him safe and wear him down into old age so he can leave this world and me, finally, in peace.

I know people who've gone to the vets and lied to get pet meds so they can take them themselves. My case is just the opposite. I've thought about telling my doctor I can't sleep so he'll give me sleeping pills I can give to my dog. There are times a passed out doggy is a happy doggy. And happy is what life is all about.


Harnett-Hargrove said...

'dedicated' is an understatement... but they are our people. -J

Jai Joshi said...

Wow, it's amazing what our fellow creatures can suffer. Dogs are pack animals so they naturally require company. Your dog seems to have an exaggerated case of this and my heart bleeds for him. You're one heck of a devoted lady to stand by him and support him through this.


Brian Miller said...

yeah, i can see this. scary stuff what goes on in the mind...either human or canine....

tony said...

Underlying this (the good news!) There is a lot of Love on both sides.

Elisabeth said...

Good grief, Ronda, and I thought our dog was bad. He has a penchant for the heels of ladies shoes, the higher the better, underwear and the edge of drawers in the kitchen which he starts off by licking and eventually gnawing, but nothing like your dog.

I don't know how you can bear it. they say love is blind. As for medication. Our neighbors had a cat on prozac once. To relieve anxiety.

I'm not sure what I think about this. We tried it once on one of our cats as the vet instructed because he was peeing everywhere with no visible physical cause. He was so zonked out we took him off it. Fortunately the peeing stopped.

Thanks Ronda.

Dave King said...

I thought you could get pet meds - an d people meds, come to that - on the internet, just like buying paperbacks.

Reya Mellicker said...

Poor baby. I mean both of you. Dogs are so noble that they have even taken on our habit of anxiety. By "our" I mean human beings.

I definitely self medicate when I'm anxious, so why shouldn't dogs be afforded the same consideration.

He's lucky to live with you, Ronda. Very very lucky.

... Paige said...

oh my goodness, that is terrible. poor baby

here by way of Deanna's

TechnoBabe said...

Poor dog. I have heard about dogs that tear up a house when they are left alone but I didn't realize some of them are suffering anxiety from being left alone. There needs to be a twelve step program for dogs! You have a big heart and lots of patience and love!!

Sam Liu said...

This is a truly fascinating tale, Ronda...what a wonderful and dedicated owner you are, I know most would have give in by now, but your refreshing tenacity really is quite inspiring.

Ronda Laveen said...

Jayne: Yes, they are.

Jai: Devoted or crazy? Some days I'm not sure.

Brian: I was pretty sure that's what you would write. I guess anxiety is anxiety regardless of species.

Tony: Oh, I hadn't thought about it from his perspective. If he didn't want to be with us so bad, none of this would occur.

Elisabeth: We've learned the hard way how to "manage" him more and more. Don't think there is a cure, management is all we have. So far we've not been able to zonk him out. It would be nice though on New Year's and the 4th of July and thunderstorms. Those times are like torture to him.

Dave: As far as I know, you need prescriptions to get Pet Meds on the Internet so, in that case, I'd rather go to the vet who I'd have to see any way to get the RX. But I understand that getting people meds is easier. It's a crazy world.

Reya: Yes, they are noble and some of them just aren't meant to live in today's world. Not only is he lucky to live with me, he's lucky to live-period. He's slowing down a bit but I'm looking forward to the next couple of years and him having a good senior life.

Paige: Thanks for visiting. Deanna is wonderful, isn't she? I'll give him a scrich on the chin for you.

TechnoBabe: I think that at the heart of those dogs that tear up the house is anxiety. The human/canine bond is so strong in some of them and then something happens to trigger them and they spiral. I would love a Doggy 12-Step Program. Of course with them needing to walk so much, a 12-Mile program would be more likley.

Sam: There are days when I think, oh, he just needs to be put down but, I can't bring myself to do it. He is slowly improving though and is so flippin' smart. Truly a doggy brainiac.

Baino said...

Wow I'm lucky. Lily doesn't like thunder but she 'learned' that from our neighbouring pooches. I've never had to medicate but I do know people who have dogs with separation anxiety. One of my friends hires a doggy sitter so they can go out in the evening. Oh so looking forward to the horse tranquilizer story! Now theirs a tale/tail.

DUTA said...

Your compassion for your sick dog is very touching. May God give you the necessary energies and strength to deal with the situation!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Whoa! I didn't know there we "pet meds" but THANK GAWD!!!!

You are a saint :-)


Ronda Laveen said...

God bless dog sitters. And the horse tail is a doozy! Glad to hear Lily is only a little spooked by the thunder.

DUTA: Thank you for the beautiful blessing of energies from the both of us.


Megan said...

I'm speechless.

Alan Burnett said...

My goodness. I have never heard of Canine Separation Anxiety (and, thank goodness, neither has Amy as she is a complete hypochondriac and gets any disease she reads about). Most enjoyable TT post.

joanny said...

My hearts goes out to you and the little dear one. My dog suffers too but not to that extreme- however, my sons will not per sit him anyone. because they say their is no comforting him when I am gone.

Jilly over at Riviera dogs, she writes for Menton Daily Photo what a job hey , in the south of France - sorry digressing, in a former post she takes in and rescued dogs, - had a unique approach without pet meds to help her dog that was similar to yours, go over and visit her blog(s) and chat/email her. Sorry Ronda cannot remember the post it was a while back.

Enjoy your week-end there fellow blogger.


Ronda Laveen said...

Megan: Uh, didn't thank that possible:-)

Alan: I'm glad Amy didn't read this post then. Hypochondriac or not, you don't want her getting this syndrome. After, she has to get to the big apple!

Joanny: I can understand your boys feeling that way. It is hard calming them when they are really scared. We've gotten better over the years. Thanks for the link to Riviera Dogs. I will definitely check her out!

Jingle said...

beautiful talent,
thank you for sharing!

Deanna Schrayer said...

This is such a sad story Ronda, but uplifting at the same time, knowing how dedicated you are to your lovely dog.

Funny thing - as I read this, my dog, Quillen, a 6-year-old, 150 lb., german shepherd/hound mix was doing his best to get my attention. First he started licking my coffee cup, then, when I fussed at him for that, he started licking my laptop. He's a spoiled rotten brat! But I wouldn't have him any other way.

I always worry when we have to kennel Quillen, which is only when we go on vacation, because he gets so upset being away from us he does nothing but cry the whole time. It's getting to the point that we'll most likely have to medicate him when we go this year. Sad, but if it helps them, and we love them enough, we should do all we can to make sure they're as happy as can be.

Ronda Laveen said...

Jingle: You're welcome.

Deanna: I know what you mean about the kenneling. I always call my vet and talk to him when we have to be gone for a while. We get a game plan and he helps us get through the time. Joanny just left me a link to Riveria Dogs. She said Jilly over there helps rescues and has been working on non-medication techniques. I'll be checking her out.

How funny Quillen came over as you were reading this post.

Mrsupole said...

I knew about the fear of thunder, but not about the seperation anxiety. Maaco was very blessed when he got you two as his owners. Most people would have sent him on his merry way a long time ago. But I am sure the love you receive in kind is worth it all. He is a life, while the things are just things.

I do hope that visiting the non-medication website helps but if not then I would say that medicating just enough to calm the anxiety down is probably a good thing. I am sure Maaco would appreciate it more then he enjoys the suffering. It is probably no different then us taking the medication and knowing that it is helping us. Although someone drugging their dog so much to where the dog is drugged out of their mind is crazy and cruel. I think if it helps the dog then you should at least try it.

Truly Maaco is a very blessed dog and I will pray for his calmness.

God bless.

Subby said...

WOW! Never heard of it ( the CSA ). Mom's dog Hunter used to chew up everything but only when he was a puppy, but this is something totally different, yes?

Ronda Laveen said...

Thank you for praying for his calmness, Sherry! Every little bit helps.

Subby: W-a-y different than puppy stuff!

Christina said...

Isn't that shotgun dog as well? The poor, poor baby. I really feel for all of you... :(

I myself am struggling with pet insanity just now. It's only started some five days ago. I have two felines who have been living together for 9 years now. Maybe they've never been best friends but they always got along kind of ok.
Something must have happened last week, I am still not entirely sure what, but now they cannot stay together whatsoever. One keeps attacking the other one so brutally that the attackee pees herself. She also has two deep scratches on her face now, I think they are going to leave a mark. The fighting was horrendous and I was totally freaked out myself. We've tried to reintroduce them a few times now, but it always ends in a ferocious battle. We were thinking of meds, too but decided to just separate them for now. As long as we don't make a mistake and one slips by us real quick, we are safe. I did have a mishap three nights ago, though, and the small one paid the bitter price.
I shall be more careful from now on. And time will tell what we ought to do.
Insane pets are no fun. But what can we do, huh? I don't have the heart to give one away and I know you are just that committed to your canine.
I can't believe how badly shotgun dog trashes your house, though...

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Wow! That's intense. Your poor doggie. And poor you. How tough to have to live with that, but it sounds like your fur baby means a lot to you.

Anonymous said...

Oh you are a saint! I can't imagine the heartwrench you must go through every time you just want to go out... at least with Max I can put him back in his cage!

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel and perhaps how your dog feels as I am a dog owner myself. Poor dog, I hope he gets over the anxiety. I hope more you find the solutions.

Jill said...

Poor Maaco! AND my sympathies to you and your husband as you come home to WHO knows WHAT!?!? Lots of dogs have this yes? Maaco is blessed to have YOU to take the good with the bad!

We had a Lab that ate a window sill and dry wall in his attempt to get outside. OY!

Ronda Laveen said...

Christina: Wow! It's so odd they lived together for that long without a problem. Sometimes "management" is all you can hope for. Something must have happened.

Carolina: he dosen't do it quite as much any more but we just never know when something will scare him. When he isn't crazy, he is so good.

ED: I wish his crate was the answer!

Sash: thanks for the support!

Jill: Yes, lots of dogs have this. I know the kind of destruction you write about with your Lab.OY is right!

Felicitas said...

Hi Rhonda, is Maaco a Weimaraner? This is one breed that is notorious for this kind of behaviour. My parents have one too and he is very anxious about being left alone, which fortunately doesn't happen often since they are retired. But when they do go out for an evening with friends, they often drop him off at a kennel with some homeopathic meds. The good news is that he has improved with age. So maybe Maaco will too.

willow said...

You're so good to be so understanding. He's lucky to have you for an owner.

Ronda Laveen said...

Felicitas: He is a Shar-Pei/Lab x. Your parents have the right idea. Thank God for doggie day care. Luckily, my husband has his own shop and can take Maaco to work with him. Otherwise, it would be very difficult.

Willow: Thank you!

Christina said...

Heeey, where'd my second comment go?!

I guess this time it's happening to me!