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Discussion Starter #61
How is Molly doing? My Ellie started fluoxetine just about a week ago so I am very interested in how Molly is doing now that she has been on it a while.
She's doing well. I don't see any side -effects at all anymore.

We're about where we were with the last update. She's much more pleasant to live with in general and seems happier in general. Her rectivity's still all over the place, but she recovers better and is more willing to let things that aren't dogs go.

Well worth it, IMO. Not a cure, but she's easier to work with and she's happier at home and in her daily life which is just. Huge.
 

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That IS huge! So happy to hear this. As with people, medication isn't necessarily a miracle cure, but if it improves quality of life without a ton of negative side-effects that's absolutely a win.
 

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I am glad Molly is happier at home, that is a big deal! Luckily we haven't noticed any side effects yet. All I am really looking for from the medicine is to make Ellie happier and easier to work with . If she would recover faster and stay in her brain a little more I think we could make progress with her behavioral training.
 

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Discussion Starter #64
The biggest thing I've noticed about Molly at this stage is she doesn't trigger stack the way she used to. It used to be that if two or three things happened even in the same WEEK, much less same day or same outing, she'd lose her ability to cope. That's not such a big deal anymore.

I need to do more behavioral modification with her again. We're starting back now, but I took my vet's advice and actually gave her a solid month to just be home and chill out while the meds got onboard. It seems to have really helped. I don't think she's ever going to be able to hack a sports setting, which makes me somewhat sad, but at least she can hack the park and hiking trails and the like again which is the most important part. She can DO STUFF and MOVE and play and be out having fun.

I'll probably not really reassess for another year in any real way. Just sort of... live and work with her meanwhile.
 

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@CptJack,

I'm glad you are seeing good results for Molly with the Prozac.

I adopted a very feral dog named Jaya who became that way due to being isolated in a back yard for all of her first 5 years of life - never had any interaction with humans except for her brutal owner, who never trained her and when she slipped her tied down/collar...and wouldn't come to him when he called her...he would chase after her with a board, or a section of chain, then when catching her, she was beaten and dragged back to her tied down area.

If you haven't read about her and wish to here's a link on how she came to me:
http://www.dogforums.com/general-dog-forum/428786-jayas-story.html


When I adopted Jaya, as I said she was for the most part, feral, and almost Everything was new to her and her degree of panic was almost unbelievable. I clicked on a light switch the first night I brought her home and the sound of that 'click' resulted in almost a 5 minutes panic attack where she bolted through the house trying to find a place to hide. Walls, ceilings, the sofa, the creak of my computer chair...light coming through a window she was afraid of just everything. The dog lived in a total state of terror when inside the house. And it's just hard to describe how ballistic her panic attacks were...plus...she was just flighty and nervous...she couldn't ever just be calm for more than 10 to 15 minutes...and that was only when I didn't move or make a sound.

Outside, while tied to a chain she would settle down pretty quick but new noises, such as air brakes from trucks in a near by Department of Transportation gravel yard would have her bolting to get away from the noise.

After working with her for 3 months...and not being able to do much with her because nothing was getting through to her due to all that terror she had, I finally talked to my vet and we put her on Prozac. The vet thought a 3 month plan would work...giving her a smaller dose, working up to a higher dose, then taking the dose back down towards the last two weeks.

I have to say it worked wonders on Jaya. She was still reacting and afraid...but what I noticed were these things:

~She was slower to react...still would panic but it wasn't instant and towards the end she more or less would look startled sometimes rather than let it bloom into a full flight through the house from what ever scared her.

~Her panic attacks became less intense...she still had them, but she wasn't totally losing her mind to the terror she felt...she seemed a bit more aware of where she wanted to go and hide...rather than darting about, spinning around and shaking hard in fear.

~Her panic attacks didn't last as long... towards the end of the treatment she went from episode that would last up to 10 minutes down to where some of her episodes of panic were over with inside 2 or 3 minutes.

~and lastly, the best thing I was able to get through to her. Her brain calmed down enough that she could handle hearing my voice, and looking at my face and stopping and paying attention to what I was trying to do with her...like toss a treat her direction. She began to learn that being around me meant good things....something she just couldn't do before the Prozac took effect.

She's been off the Prozac now for about 2 years and has kept improving as far as giving more and more of her trust. About 3 months after the Prozac treatment, she even began to wag her tail from time to time... a tail that had mostly been tucked up against herself...and her ears pointed forward most of the time, rather than pinned back with her head down. Jaya now comes when I call her, she remains laying down on the floor when I walk past her, and I can talk to her and move around and she doesn't come undone by it. I really doubt I would have got this far with her, without the aid of Prozac.

So, don't let any 'anti-meds' type try to tell you, that you are being 'lazy' in trying to teach your dog to handle bad situations, or that it's wrong to use meds to help a dog overcome emotional problems. I've learned you can't teach a dog anything unless that dog has some kind of inner peace and a calm brain...and if they have never experienced that state of mind...they need help..and the Prozac can help in a lot of cases.

Again, I'm very happy to hear that Molly is making progress.

Stormy
 

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Discussion Starter #66 (Edited)
Gosh, I totally forgot about this thread - I've been updating FB, mostly.

We had a period for a while where there wasn't really anything new to observe. This week's been a wee bit wild. We had our first totally relaxed walk - ever - on Monday. Since then we've been able to go back to using chained and fenced dogs for LAT with SUCCESS instead of it making her frantic and insane. Today, a dog sauntered out of its fence about 20 feet in front of us and while I got a whine and some hackles up, that was all. Then we promptly got the heck out of there, because do not want nor trust. She barked at a guy today - one single woof. That's the only reaction I've seen in days.

Basically, it's like I suddenly have a dog capable of learning at the end of my leash instead of a frantic nut. I don't think she'll ever be totally 'okay', and she's always going to need space and management, but I feel like there's a dog there when we're out of familiar territory now, where as before there really wasn't. Things like LAT weren't possible at any distance because her brain would just be gone. Either frantic reaction or shut down in terror, but not any state capable of learning and listening and reacting.

We've suddenly even got loose leash walking without any reminders or her losing it. She is able to sit and just - respond to me. I have a dog there to WORK WITH, you know?

It's beautiful and it makes me want to cry.
 

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Discussion Starter #67
...basically, everything Stormy said matches what I'm saying. I totally missed that reply - I'm sorry!
 

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I'm so glad that the meds have brought a positive change in Molly! Ryker was on fluoxetine for about a year before we weaned him off with no side effects.
 

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Discussion Starter #69
I'm so glad that the meds have brought a positive change in Molly! Ryker was on fluoxetine for about a year before we weaned him off with no side effects.
Yeah, she's due back at the vet in a couple of months to discuss. I suspect the vet's inclination is going to be to wean her off and mine is going to be 'holy crap, please god no, not yet', but that may obviously change based on how she's doing and continues to do. But her Rx was basically 4 months and then assess (and do blood work).
 

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Great thread CptJack, Glad Molly is showing positive signs... Look foward to learning how your journey goes, I do wonder if re learning responses by not doing the old responses will work with the help of medications. Always felt my one GSD was physically stuck in his pathway. all ended well with avoidance and isolation from triggers being in a rural setting to be able to not cause reactions long enough and far between to make new pathways of behavior. Then you see someone who lives in a city with nothing but high traffic areas that they can't get away from triggers.. So this is really cool to hear how Molly is doing..
 

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Discussion Starter #75
thanks, guys.

Here, have a picture since it's handy.

 

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Discussion Starter #77 (Edited)
I love her coat and her bright eyes! Did she lose some weight too, or am I just seeing things?
Some of it's probably angle - she can look heavier really easily and I don't know why - but she has lost 2 or 3 lbs - probably as the result of no longer being obsessed with trash/counter surfing and general, out out, scavenging. I credit the meds for that one, too.

Today she went on a short, familiar walk with a chained dog along the route. So far this week that's meant look at the dog, sit, whine, look some more, look back to me for the treat, and then go. Today she glanced, saw the dog, looked to me for her treat and KEPT WALKING. Short walk, she's seen this dog a couple of times before, but - GOOD DOG.
 

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Yay! Congrats on the progress, I'm glad the medication is helping :)
 
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