Cash's Anxiety...

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Cash's Anxiety...

Postby cashisking » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:22 pm

In the middle of last week, I found that Cash had started chasing his tail quite a bit.
He has always done it in the past to get attention; but that week for me was intense with a freelance job, two girls quitting and having to cover shifts, a wine event to plan for, and last minute-details to a personal project. I didn't have the time to attend to Cash's needs, and Rudy made little effort to do so either, despite my requests.
On Thursday I found that his tail-chasing had intensified to injuring it. I arranged for a vet appointment and began at-home first aid.
It turned out that it was red and raw and smelled less-than-pleasant. I figured that maybe he had hurt it, and then fussed over it.

Today i made it to the vet and he concluded that it was an anxiety-driven injury to the tip of his tail. He had been chewing on it in boredom/anxiety. We have wrapped it, and he's got the biggest e-collar they had. In three days, the wrap comes off and I will have to apply ointment.

If Cash cannot leave his tail alone and it refuses to heal, it will have to be amputated.

What spooked me, was that the vet said Cash may need anti-anxiety meds.
This blew my mind.
This has only happened in a week and my vet is convinced Cash needs pills?!
I thought about it- well, he is a pretty hyper dog, and he gets all worked up about the silliest stuff...
and then I kick myself. That's not it at all. I have been too busy in my life and not asking for any help and Cash is the manifestation of that.

But is that all?
What if Cash is really an anxious dog and I just chalked it up to a lack of exercise, lack of socialization...
Or is it that my busy life, combined with his DD label and increasing age has made him anxious in his own right?

Have any of you put your dog on Anti-Anxiety medication?
Or can Anxiety be alleviated by working more with your dog?
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby Shearaha1 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:31 pm

My Will is on anit-anxiety medication. It's been a lifesaver for him literally. It's helped bring him down to the point where we can start to work through his fears. He can be left alone (as long as it's part of the schedule) we can go to the park and hike on the rarely used trails. He came to me with anxiety and fear issues, and we worked on them. We did exercise, counter conditioning, training, everything but. But he wasn't really getting better. One little incident was enough to push his progress back weeks, or even back to where we started. With them, a small incident can be worked through and doesn't set us back. Things that used to push him completely over threshold are still rough, but he can refocus on me. We still have a long way to go, but I know that without the medication it would be a much longer and harder road.
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby dogs4jen » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:40 pm

Did they empty his anal sacs, sometimes tail chasing can be a symptom of full anal sacs. You could try OTC remedies before resorting to prescription meds, like DAP or Composure and see if it helps. Poor Cash, I hope he doesn't lose his tail.
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby cashisking » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:44 pm

dogs4jen wrote:Did they empty his anal sacs, sometimes tail chasing can be a symptom of full anal sacs. You could try OTC remedies before resorting to prescription meds, like DAP or Composure and see if it helps. Poor Cash, I hope he doesn't lose his tail.


You know, that's a good point- He was sitting funny last night and I attributed it to him wanting to mess with his tail and not get caught. I think I'm going to call the vet and see if they can work us in tomorrow. I've never done it myself and don't want to mess it up.
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby Ilovethepits » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:59 pm

Hoping Cash will be ok!
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Cash's Anxiety...

Postby Adrianne » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:21 pm

Poor cash! Can you busy him with puzzles and games to redirect the obsession?
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby MarMar » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:41 pm

Does he have any other behaviors you would call anxious? If tail chasing is the ONLY thing he does that's odd, then I wouldn't be so worried but you say "he's a hyper dog and he gets worked up about the silliest stuff"...if it could help him in other situations I would not rule out meds. My Marlo will be starting them soon, he's always had anxiety but lately its started to affect his health.
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby cashisking » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:18 pm

Adrianne wrote:Poor cash! Can you busy him with puzzles and games to redirect the obsession?


I'm sure puzzles and games will help in tiring his mind, but right now I work two jobs and nearly every day I'm gone for 6+ hours. I don't know if a puzzle or game will last that long. But I do agree- I do need to find something to occupy his brain more than a kong stuffed with goodies., even if I break one a week, it will be cheaper than amputation surgery or meds.

What i really want- what will get us back to normal- is to try to find a new job ( singular) that has regular, predictable hours that allows me time to take Cash out. I don't want to wait tables forever.
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby TrainTrax » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:24 pm

Back about six months ago, I was working ridiculous hours at my job because my cars engine went boom and I had to take a train. (up at 4am, out the door by 430am and back at around 9pm). Thankfully my cousin was living with me and was able to take care of the pups while I was gone. Now, Honey has always been one of the most co-dependent dogs I've ever owned or met. She will NOT eat unless I am in the room and she has been that way since she was a puppy. She will PEE on the floor in my room if I leave the room and leave her in it. I have had her checked by the vet a dozen times for incontinence issues or UTIs. Anything. Finally, my vet and I agreed that it was separation related urinating (which is not uncommon in high anxiety dogs). But through all that, I refused to put her on medication. I could deal with standing next to her while she ate and cleaning up urine on a daily basis.

However, about two weeks into that ridiculous schedule my cousin called me and told me that Honey had CHEWED her way out of the metal crate and was bleeding everywhere. I sent him to my vet with her and had her checked out. Thankfully, there was no big damage. Couple of chipped teeth and some serious scratches. Now, the house next to ours was having some work done and there was a fair amount of loud noises, I figured something had spooked Honey and she panicked in the crate. Prior to that, she had NEVER had an issue with being inside the crate, so I figured it was a one off thing. I went out and got another crate, bit bigger than the size she needed and figured it'd be fine. And she was for a couple of days. Until she did the same thing and managed breaking a couple of teeth and putting a hole in her lip. Off to the vet we went and I explained what had been going on, I thought it would be the best if she got a prescription for anxiety medication and the vet agreed. So, every morning, she got one of the anxiety pills (Clomipramine) and two Happy Traveler pills. After that, I began leaving her loose in the room. I also learned that the pills were the first thing I had to give her in the morning. If I got up and started getting ready for work, her anxiety would kick in and the pills would be ineffective. They had to be given before she started freaking out.

Since I've moved back home and am no longer working ridiculous hours, her anxiety has gone back to a normal level. Though she still will not eat unless I'm there and still pees on my floor. She only gets an anxiety pill every so often and I can normally tell the instant I wake up if she needs one. But for the most part, everything is fine with her.

If you feel as though medication if the best avenue, I would start with something like Happy Traveler or Rescue Remedy instead of actual prescription medications. He may respond just fine to a bit of Rescue Remedy.
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby cashisking » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:03 am

MarMar wrote:Does he have any other behaviors you would call anxious? If tail chasing is the ONLY thing he does that's odd, then I wouldn't be so worried but you say "he's a hyper dog and he gets worked up about the silliest stuff"...if it could help him in other situations I would not rule out meds. My Marlo will be starting them soon, he's always had anxiety but lately its started to affect his health.


he doesn't have any specific behaviors, he's just always been a little high strung. He's an 11 when it comes to everything- eat fast, run hard, snore like a freight train. He does have mild SA, but what dog doesn't?
Every once in a while his anxiety builds and manifests into something obvious- destroying a blanket, wrecking his crate- but it makes me realize that I've slipped up in our routine and need to return to form.

Truth is- I love my slightly-crazy dog. I love that the moment I roll up to my house, I can hear him whining for me. I like that he follows me everywhere. I like that he wants to be IN my lap, all 74 lbs of him. It makes me feel needed.

But it can't be good for him- I mean, he's taken to hurting himself for attention.

And today he's REALLY been on edge. We've had to combine an inflatable collar along with the E collar to get him to leave it alone... beyond that, he's been pacing, fidgeting and parading about as if he's A-OK. For his sake, during healing- he needs to calm down. Whacking around that tail's not going to make it ANY better.

I think I'm going to try some of that Happy Traveler pills TrainTrax mentioned, at least during his healing process. Once the cone comes off, I'm going to commit to finding a different job and getting this guy some much-needed brain time. He lives for me everyday, the least I can do is live for him a few hours.
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Cash's Anxiety...

Postby TrainTrax » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:39 am

The rescue remedy also works well. I'm fairly positive it's all natural and can be purchased at Whole Foods. You can definitely use that or Happy Traveler while he's healing.

Honey also had a nice case of happy tail a while back that I couldn't get to heal for anything. She'd wag her tail so hard in the crate it would bust open and spray blood everywhere. She'd also hit it on the walls, me, cars and whatever lol. I couldn't get her out of the crate fast enough when I got home. I ended up going to the local dollar store and buying three cheap bathroom mats and zip tied them to the inside of the crate. Helped her tail heal since it was hitting cushy mats and not bars. Not sure how excited he gets in the crate or if it could be hindering his healing process but that's something else you could do to help it heal.
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby Inaras mom » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:39 am

Inara was on prozac for 9 months and I wish I'd started it sooner. Too often I feel we try to avoid medications, when in fact, they can be the most humane thing to do. It can't be fun to be an anxious dog. If a cheap, small pill once a day for as long as needed can make a difference, I think it's our responsibility to not postpone that help.
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby tiva » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:53 pm

If your dog has anxiety and is hurting himself, listen to your vet and put him on meds! Now! It's exactly the same as if he were diabetic--you wouldn't deny him the insulin, right? Anti-anxiety meds are just as helpful. My Vanya is on prozac after he started obsessing about flickering lights, and it has made a world of difference. We exercised him like crazy, did endless cycles of Relaxation Protocol and Control Unleashed and stimulation games and food puzzles---all lovely stuff, but the meds are what has made him able to relax in his own skin. Listen to your vet!

Vanya is still entirely himself: happy, impulsive, exuberant. The prozac has not changed that in the slightest. But now he can take a breath, calm himself down, and settle a bit. Meds don't tranquilize a dog or sedate him; they just help him be himself.
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby cashisking » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:15 pm

tiva wrote:If your dog has anxiety and is hurting himself, listen to your vet and put him on meds! Now! It's exactly the same as if he were diabetic--you wouldn't deny him the insulin, right? Anti-anxiety meds are just as helpful. My Vanya is on prozac after he started obsessing about flickering lights, and it has made a world of difference. We exercised him like crazy, did endless cycles of Relaxation Protocol and Control Unleashed and stimulation games and food puzzles---all lovely stuff, but the meds are what has made him able to relax in his own skin. Listen to your vet!

Vanya is still entirely himself: happy, impulsive, exuberant. The prozac has not changed that in the slightest. But now he can take a breath, calm himself down, and settle a bit. Meds don't tranquilize a dog or sedate him; they just help him be himself.


I understand that i need to do something for my dog, but I don't think a vet who saw my dog for 5 minutes while he was trying to pin him to the table with a sore tail knows what kind of mental state my dog really has in a normal situation.

I do think that i need to commit more time to Cash as that seems to have been lacking the past few months, but I hardly think that hopping my dog up on pills on a vet's in-passing recommendation is really the best idea for us at the moment. If the Happy Traveller pills work, then that's what I will do. If they don't, I will step it up to real meds.

Right now I want to take care of healing his tail. That's actually going well, and Cash is gaining back his normal doofy personality. I am already committing to spending more educational and physical time with him rather than absently on the computer or TV, and we will see if my living condition is what the issue was.
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Re: Cash's Anxiety...

Postby cashisking » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:23 pm

I'm Ultimately trying to find what works best for Me and Cash and taking it one step at a time.
A few years ago I myself decided to start anti-anxiety meds, (i.e. hey doc i heard about these, can i have a prescription?) and I became a different person. It never occurred it me it was my stressful lifestyle. I didn't like who I was on meds, and stopped using them.

And while I do trust Vets to know about things medically more than me, I don't trust a Vet to not push things on me I may not need, especially in this floundering economy.

i want to rule out every possible issue before I put my dog on medication.
Is it my hectic lifestyle? is it a one-off situation? Is it really anxiety? or can there be another attribute?
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