Fluoxetine?

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Fluoxetine?

This is a discussion on Fluoxetine? within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; So we've been doing so well with training, Tessa's reactivity to dogs and strangers is down, but she has started having what I like to ...

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Old 12-11-2015, 08:20 AM
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Fluoxetine?

So we've been doing so well with training, Tessa's reactivity to dogs and strangers is down, but she has started having what I like to call panic attacks. I call them panic attacks because most of the times she's great, but then it's like a switch flips and she's inconsolable.

She's never been a dog to have separation anxiety, but the other day I came home to a shredded door and bleeding nails. She has also started eating random objects, she threw up a safety pin! and has become reactive towards moving vehicles. Her walks are becoming difficulty because she'll either refuse to move, tail tucked, whale eye, ears flat. Or she reacts to everything with a look of sheer panic constantly checking everything around her and barks this pathetic anxiety bark, neither are very positive or healthy state of mind for her. I feel so bad for her. She has also reverted to submissively peeing occasionally and resource guarding a few objects, behaviours she hasn't done since she was very young, and she now is very anxious even around her best doggie buddies that she once loved to be around and play with.

So my vet, my trainer, and I have begun discussing using Fluoxetine daily. Any thoughts on the drug? Side effects? I know a few here on the forum have had their dogs on it and I would like them to share their thoughts. Does it work?

I feel so bad for having to drug my dog but it's like we make progress and she's great, then some wiring in her brain gets crossed and we get really worse. You can see she just wants to be a happy, playful, loving dog, but her anxiety/fear is standing in her way. I've upped her exercise, I'm constantly working on PR based training, Our trainer is from out of town, but we work with her on a bi-weekly basis and are in constant contact and even she's a little frustrated with her reverting because she's told me she's a great dog who has so much potential.
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Old 12-11-2015, 08:33 AM
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I don't have experience, but I am likely heading down a similar road myself (our vet behavior consult is next week). I know how much anxiety is involved in trying to help your dog's anxiety!!

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Old 12-11-2015, 08:35 AM
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Have you had a complete thyroid antibody panel done on her?

Dr. Jean Dodds' Pet Health Resource Blog | Aberrant Behavior and Thyroid Dysfunction

From the Veterinary Drug Handbook:

http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/vth/D...fluoxetine.pdf
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:03 AM
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Quest has been on it since April. It has made a huge difference. We started him on it mainly for his noise-phobia. It was getting ridiculous. It started when he was around 2 and he just suddenly became scared of thunderstorms. We figured, "Fine. We can deal with that." That list steadily grew and grew. It became things we can't control or predict. Things that are so insignificant, that you look at him and thing, "Really?! That's what you're scared of now?" We couldn't get out and do the things he enjoyed, because we could never tell when a sound would cause him to completely shut down or try to run off (he never does though, because he's always on leash - but he tries). I've been in the middle of a hike and have had to carry him out of the woods back to the car because he lost it.

I tried for a long time to go the more natural vitamins and supplements, but it wasn't working. He was on melatonin and L-theanine. It seemed to help at first when it was just a couple triggers, but then life was pretty much a trigger.

The fluoxetine has helped so much. He gets his pill every day. Takes it easily. He was very sleepy and lethargic when he first started it. He wasn't very hungry (didn't notice when it was time to eat), but never refused food.

It wasn't like a switch was flipped. It started that he was just recovering from the noises much faster. Now, he can handle most noises and doesn't care, but some he'll just remove himself and go to one of his safe places.

I still consider Quest dog reactive, though his episodes are very few and far between. As such, I haven't noticed much of a difference for his actual reactivity. He does seem more confident and stable though.
@LaylaBird

Edit to add:

Don't feel bad about needing medication. That was my hang up too. I had to get over the hump of "drugging my dog." Honestly, he never seemed "drugged." Yes, he was sleepy the first couple weeks and not too hungry - but he gets so much enjoyment and is so much happier now. I will tell you, it is strange going to the pharmacy and saying you have a pick up for Quest, DOB 8/21/11. They have him listed as Canine in their system too.

If/When you get a prescription - ask for the capsules. They are $4/month vs the tables $80/month.
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Last edited by QuestsMom; 12-11-2015 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnostic Dog View Post
Have you had a complete thyroid antibody panel done on her?

Dr. Jean Dodds' Pet Health Resource Blog | Aberrant Behavior and Thyroid Dysfunction

From the Veterinary Drug Handbook:

http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/vth/D...fluoxetine.pdf
We did, the results just came back and she's perfectly in the middle of normal hood.
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:54 PM
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I tried this drug in the fall after trying just about every natural remedy we could think of. My 10 YO has panic attacks during thunderstorms and fireworks, but also for no apparent reason. Shaking, drooling and trying to hide under things. It got especially bad in September and I could not get her turned around. The anxiety was mostly at night and no one was getting any sleep.

So after another thorough workup by the vet - everything normal - she suggested prozac. It was horrible for my dog. We tried for two weeks, mostly at my vet's urging to give it time. She ate only half of her food during that time and lost several pounds. She was really unhappy and not herself at all.

I switched her to trazadone and I have my dog back. She's eating normally, playful, eager to do tricks again and full of energy for walking and frisbee.
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:09 AM
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Fluoxetine has been life-saving for us. I'm sorry that you have a negative view of using drugs to help your dog - honestly no one is excited about it, but please try not to let the stigma prevent you from helping her. Drugs can be a wonderful tool.

Also PLEASE don't judge this drug according to the dog's reaction in the first few weeks of using it. Every vet and every website should be able to tell you that the sides suck, and it takes at least three weeks to get through them. Layla was A WRECK for weeks. She was worse than ever. Knowing what I know now, I should have stopped the meds for a day and restarted at a half dose. But I didn't have the guidance of a good vet behaviourist at the time.

We trucked on through because I was expecting it to be awful, and it was. Poor Layla. She experienced increased fear, noise sensitivity, anxiety, nausea, and even some tremors. On the other hand, your dog may have none of that. My sister's dog started fluoxetine and literally had no side effects.

After three weeks, it was like "we had our dog back" but she was so much better. Suddenly our training began to pay off. She was able to retain some level of emotional distance from her triggers, and I could use food in situations that would have been overwhelming for her before. She was consistent. It was life-saving.

Since then we've also added trazodone which has been a very good adjunctive therapy.

I really encourage you to consider this med, and to have a thorough understanding of what to expect with the sides, how to manage them, and how long they will last. Do NOT start these meds during a time of change or unusual stress. We started them because we were moving into the city and I knew that she wouldn't be able to handle it. But we did it before our move, planning to be through the side effects by the time we made the change. We were also able to visit the city a few times for short day-trips, after the side effects were finished but before the actual move. Even during those visits, barely a month after starting the meds, I knew that the meds were integral to our success. She adjusted better than I'd thought she would.

Today she's a well-adjusted city dog who's used to passing dogs on-leash, seeing dogs in parks, streetcars and trucks, trains and construction, pigeons all over the place - all things that would have been huge triggers in the past.

The only thing she will always hate with passion are skateboarders and rollerbladers!
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Old 12-12-2015, 07:15 AM
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Also, I'd really encourage anyone who's considering meds to also look at a few excellent Facebook pages. There's one called Fearful Dogs, and another called Reactive Dogs.

Both are totally force-free and science-based, and never is flooding recommendend. They are basically rooted in something called CARE (Counterconditioning And +R are Essential). You can learn more about the CARE protocol here.
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:36 PM
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I, too, am an advocate of Proxac for the right dogs. I wish so much we had started our dog on it sooner rather then being hung up about not wanting to " use drugs". There is nothing better than seeing her a happy dog now - it truly saved her life! Do it.
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Old 12-16-2015, 10:21 PM
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I think we are going to start in the new year. Poor thing has had a lot of stress this last month. From the jogger that surprised us, to be rushed at by a little chi, to this rash on her inner thighs that doesn't seem to want to go away (possible self harming?). She's just so skittish, she's not my happy girl Hopefully the meds help and we can get back on track with her training progress. It's like we have this HUGE hurtle in our way and we just need to shrink it a little to get over it.
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