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Talking To The Vet About Anti-Anxiety Medication

2828 Views 18 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  TruckersMom
Trucker has been home 74 days (2 months and 13 days) and has slowly been improving with some of his triggers but I feel like every time we make any sort of headway with on trigger another pops up. I know that he has what seems like an endless list of triggers to work on and that we are on a journey, this is okay. What I don't want is for it to be horrible for him along the way. I am not looking to create a roller-coaster of emotions with his life. I would really like to be able to give him a formal trainer/behaviorist to help with this process (as he is my first dog) but at this point this isn't even an option.

We have tried all the homeopathic anti-anxiety treatments per the previous vets requests but they have failed to make any real impact. His Thundershirt helps but only to take the slightest edge off in the most minor of cases. If the other homeopathic treatments are doing anything it is only this taking a very limited edge off in very minor trigger situations.

The first vet we saw we loved but she has since left the clinic we go too. The last vet that we saw swore that Trucker did not actually have anxiety or fear but that he was just adjusting to his new environment (this is a load of malarkey). We have a new vet that we truly love and that seems to understand how anxious Trucker really is, unlike the vets he has seen in the past. She is so awesome; she enters the room by opening the door as little a possible, takes off her white coat, crouches down, approaches him with her back turned, and never makes eye contact with him.

Basically this whole long explanation leads me too, how do you broach the subject of prescription anti-anxiety medication to your vet and what makes a dog a good canidate for prescription anti-anxiety medication? If a dog is started on prescription anti-anxiety medication can they be weened off it at a later date or is it a life long thing?

At first I too was wholely against putting Trucker on any sort of prescription anti-anxiety medication but I think it is time to at least explore the possibility.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry it is long I tried to give some background but I have been trying to track his progress here:
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When I became increasingly concerned about Tyson's fears, I talked to the vet during our annual exam. I simply said something like, "I'm concerned about his behavior, especially his fearfulness, and wonder if medication would be appropriate." The vet didn't think he needed it, but referred me to a "vet with an interest in behavior." I wasn't impressed with his credentials or public persona, so we didn't see him.

I found a local board certified veterinary behaviorist and made an appointment with her. We discussed medication at the appointment. She didn't think it would make a huge difference for him, but prescribed fluoxetine and discusses other additions if we felt they were necessary.

I don't think that psychoactive drugs are a forever thing. For some dogs, maybe; for dogs who need a little extra help to get over their fears, they can probably be weaned off.

If you have a vet behaviorist locally, I'd recommend making an appointment for an evaluation and to discuss your concerns.

Suzanne Clothier has a brief article on how to tell if your dog is a candidate for medication. It's a nice perspective. This article by Debbie Jacobs seems to have good resources, too.

Good luck!
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Hope the appointment went well. I looked at the behaviorist you linked - she looks good. She worked with the VB Tyson and I saw, and I liked her very much. Also, it looks as though there is a board certified VB in Silver Spring, but I don't know how far that is from you.

Just for contrast, this is the person my vet referred me to: PetPsych. Nothing about him was appealing or inspired confidence in his knowledge and abilities.
Did the vet refer you to a behaviorist or trainer?
Glad she recommended a behaviorist.

I think xanax is fairly fast acting, in people at least. I have friends who take it and experience relief within an hour or so.
I think he had a reaction to the Xanax that isn't noted. according to the vet the reactions should be things like sedation and not eating. But I think he got excited (in like 10/15 minute bursts then crashed) and the grands on the sides of his penis swelled up while concerned me that it wasn't a stated side effect. So I stopped giving him that.
I'd report it to your vet. Could be a side effect / reaction, or it could be completely unrelated.
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