Need some advice please.
So sorry for the novel... I'm just really lost of what to do right now with the older two. :(
So most of you know Zira's story.... rescued from petstore (we pulled her from their store with a lawsuit and police help). SIBO, HD, allergies, skin issues... and worst of all a TON of mental issues. She's very fearful of the most ridiculous things... like... the sun. She's very stressful to herself and everyone here, and she causes a lot of turbulence in the pack. I refer to her as the psychotic energizer bunny... she doesn't stop, and she never settles. It's 24/7 with her. Anyways, this isn't really about her.... but I just wanted to touch in on how difficult she is to live with (for both the humans and other dogs here).... cause I think this may be a trigger.
I also know most of you have heard about Duke's health lately. Within the last year, he's pretty much slowly losing his back end. We did a rounds and rounds of tests, with no answers. The vets only found mild HD..... nothing huge, nothing to even medicate. To make sure it wasn't the HD doing this, the vets gave a little trial period. They gave him a very strong pain medication (the ones they would give to very severe HD dogs)..... if he went back to normal with no dragging on his rear nails, and his energy back.... we knew he was just super super sensitive to his hips... if not... it's something else. Well.. nothing happened. He was still the same. Blood tests upon blood tests show his system is perfect. The vets are now thinking it's a slow moving DM. Other than spending thousands of dollars and nights in a hotel up in Gainesville to run random extensive testing on things that may or may not even be present (that's just not in the cards right now).... there's nothing else we can do.
So I started to at least try to make life comfortable for him. I separated him from Storm and then from Zira too. He likes being by himself, so I figured this would help. He's also started to get SA. If there's ANY barrier between him and my SO or I (physical or invisible)... he flips out. He'll pace, and whine, and carry on until he's right up my butt. Things were going ok for a tiny bit, but then he started something else..... he stresses way beyond any dog I've ever seen in my life! He stresses so bad over nothing that now he's actually making himself sick. And I mean worse than just throwing up. He's continuously getting Gastritis (sp?).... where his stomach is so irritated, it causes a TON of inflammation in his guts. He pukes and has diarrhea... the whole 9. Last time he had it, it almost lead to his liver turning itself. We had to rush him to the vets to get fluids and medications to lower the inflammation asap. We got him over that, but the vet said to try to keep him super quiet and stress free..... I've tried everything. He's on probiotics, pumpkin, yogurt, supplements, etc... anything we can do to make his stomach feel better. I split up his meals to make them smaller and less stressful (doesn't have to wait all day). But, I can't bathe him, I can't cut his nails (and they are WAY over do), I can't correct him for breaking rules here (his new favorite is breaking the rules on entering our office... where he KNOWS he's not allowed)... not even a "Duke, no"... or "get out"... or "leave it".... He flips out and pees all over, then stresses out. Everything we try to do, he freaks out.... and will later make himself puke. I'm afraid to do anything that could lead to stress... or it's another darn emergency vet visit. I'm at a loss right now.... what the heck am I supposed to do about this?!
Now here's where I'm smashing my head against the wall..... I think he has it AGAIN! It's been every month now. I went to go groom him today (he's blowing his coat), and he went to bite me. Poop is fine, peeing is fine, drinking and eating is fine. This is exactly what happened last time. He stressed to the point he got a sensitive tummy, than like a week later he made it to the point of Gastritis. This time though... I've done EVERYTHING I can to block out stress. Everything has been quiet here for him. I've even worked with him again (I pulled him from sports when his back end started going out), we were careful but playing tug and doing some OB work with a simple happy bite really seemed to cheer him up. I've been playing in the hose with him (he LOVES the hose), and I've even been playing very gentle games of fetch with his favorite green ball. I just don't know what else to do! I can't have this dog getting deathly ill every freaking month! My vet is out of town until the first...... and I'm really just not sure anymore. The other vet there is a freaking crazy drug/speuter/shots/it's always allergies type vet and I almost had it out with her with Storm last week for her hotspot re-check.
The only thing I can think to do at this point is having my mother take Zira for 2 weeks to see if her even just being here is triggering him. He's gotten really strange with her.... just like he did with Storm. If she even goes to lay near him, he gets up and walks away.... and this will repeat over and over until she just goes elsewhere in the house. He barely wants to play with her now. He's gotten mean with her a few times.... And when she goes into her "psycho mode" where she just paces the house and barks, growls, drools, and shakes.... he literally freaks out. He'll run back to his kennel, and if she even goes near him for the rest of the down... he runs away. There's been times, he's even peed from this.
I feel like I'm losing this dog.... every day he gets further and further away from what he was just like 8 months ago.
Has anyone ever had a dog that was so stressed about everything that they caused themselves to be chronically ill? What would you even do in this case? I'm starting to think that drugging him a little is the only way to snap him out of this.... like doggie zoloft. I've never believed in doing that... but, otherwise, what's my options? Euth.? He's 3.5yrs old....he shouldn't be falling apart like this.
We already know what the road is for Zira... the vets and behaviorist have all agreed.... her health and mental issues get worse and worse every year... She probably won't have a really long life. I can't stand to think about it..... but, now with BOTH going down hill... I'm just in shock. When I got both of them, I saw the signs.... I knew this was going to be a bumpy road... but I thought with a good knowledgeable home, training, excellent food and care, and vet care whenever needed.... I thought we could make it all better, or at least comfortable for them. I feel like I've failed. I think this will be my last time taking in a rescue dog or any dog with issues. I've done everything I can... just not sure where to go from here.
Thank God for Storm... she's my only sense of hope and normalcy here.
Don't feel like a failure.
If this were someone else asking for advice, you know you would say that there is only so much you can do to make up for bad genetics.
What would I do in this case?
I would take myself and my emotions out of the equation, and look at this only from the perspective of the quality of life of these animals, and what the future holds for them.
Are they happy? Are they thriving? Are they pain free? Are they mentally in a good place?
Then I would make my decisions. And I would make those decisions for them, not for myself.
I really think Sunflowers gave the best advice possible :-( i am so sorry you are dealing with this.
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That sounds so, so hard. It must be a tremendous emotional strain and I am so sorry for you and your whole crew in having to deal with so many difficult, complicated issues. :(
I agree with what Sunflowers wrote.
In the beginning, Pongu's fear and anxiety were so bad that he would give himself bloody diarrhea if anything happened where he had to be separated from me (when he spent an overnight at the vet to get X-rays for what turned out to be pano + his old, poorly healed foot injury, the first time I took him to a groomer to get his nails clipped, etc.). He always recovered within a couple of days once he got back to his "safe places," though. So it's nowhere near as bad as your case, and Pongu also did not have the complicating medical issues of whatever is causing Duke to lose control of his hind end.
I put him on Prozac and I think that, in conjunction with an intensive behavioral modification program, it did help significantly. Pongu started on 20 mg/day when he was roughly a year old, then went up to 30 mg/day, then tapered down to 10 mg/day (where he is now and probably will be for the rest of his life, because his OCD makes him self-mutilate when I try to wean him off the Prozac altogether).
It didn't cause any dramatic behavioral changes, although at the high dose Pongu did lose some of his interest in food and became slightly anorexic. In order to get him to eat, I had to mix canned or freshly home-cooked food into all of his meals (I also tried raw but he wouldn't touch it), and it had to be a different kind of food every time. As long as I kept the variety up, it wasn't a big problem.
This anorexia went away once I tapered him down to a lower dose. He doesn't display that behavior anymore. That was the only major side effect I noticed.
That was our experience. I don't know if it helps, but I'll throw it out there just in case. Like I said, the situations don't correspond perfectly, and you've got a lot more on your plate than what we had.
So sorry Alyssa, I didnt know Duke was this bad. :( I can't imagine what you are going through with Zira and Duke. I dont have any advice, and I certainly don't know what I would do in this situation. I have to agree with what Sunflowers wrote though, thats the best way to look at it. I will keep you, Duke and Zira in my thoughts though, and will be wishing for the best for you and your pack. You are NOT a failure either, dont feel that way. You have given these dogs a chance at life.
I am so sorry you are going through this. You most certainly are not a failure. Undoubtedly, Zira and Duke would not have made it this far without you. I agree with those who feel that decisions need to be made, when quality of life suffers. Hard, I know.
Is Duke in pain, or just losing use of his rear? From what you described, it sounds very much like DM to me. You say Duke gets the gastritis every month. Out of curiosity, is Duke on a HW preventative and does this coincide with his monthly dose? The reason I ask, Annie had DM. Once a month she experienced explosive diarrhea. Someone on the board told me that HW preventative was contraindicated for DM dogs - at least interceptor was. I did not know that. Sure enough, once I stopped the interceptor she was fine. As for stress, Annie could not tolerate other dogs to the point she became physically ill. An unthinking person brought her dog to my home. It stressed Annie to the point she had vomiting and diarrhea and quickly developed Demodex.
Stress can do terrible things to a dog. It can do terrible things to people as well. You need to take care of you. As much as you love Duke and Zira you can probably expect little to no improvement. When you decide that you and they have had enough, it will be time to grant them the ultimate kindness.
My goodness Alyssa. I hope you know that as others have said you are NOT a failure.
We are passionate about dogs here, and sometimes they do come before our own preservation.
But honestly, it seems like your situation isn't going to get better and you've done A LOT IMO to manage it.
Please take care of yourself too.
Can your mom handle Zira's craziness? I think I remember you telling us that Zira does better with her alone?
Ashwagandha Naturally Lowers Stress | Natural Health 365
Cortisol What ashwagandha does is reduce the cortisol levels in chronically stressed individuals. The body has a built in mechanism for protecting us from acute and immediate stress. The effect is known as the “stress response.” This involves production of what is called the “adrenaline rush” which is a massive release of cortisol or the “stress hormone.” We are only meant to experience a short term burst of cortisol. What happens is blood sugar levels go up to provide needed energy. Calcium is pulled from storage making it available to muscles for a quick response. In the wilderness this is a plus, but in the asphalt jungle of today it is a determent Chronic stress in modern society leads to all sorts of major health problems. Cortisol levels never get to return to normal, and overexposure to cortisol leads to a depressed immune response, high blood pressure, loss of muscle mass and cognitive problems.
Melatonin in the short term:)
Look at what Stevenzachsmom mentioned - especially if it contains permethrin Re: neuro problems (DM, stress, adrenals, liver etc. etc. and seizures)
Don't forget Thundershirt...diffusing lavender essential oil...there are also food grade (can use internally) E.O.'s by Doterra that can look into - also have combo formulas for anxiety, stress
My mother actually does amazing with Zira.... it's shocking. The first time I left her there (we went out of town for a week), I called and text every day consistently checking in on them to make sure she was doing ok and with no issues. Nope.... all was perfect. They fell in love with her and ever since have been begging us to bring her for visits... which we do. I really wouldn't be concerned about her there.... It's just hard for Will because Zira was his first dog, and he really really loves her. Right now, I'm just concerned with giving her over to them because they still have the old golden retriever.... although they've told me Z is very good with him... I know how she can get (super hyper!!) and I'm worried about the old guy. He also has what I think is the Papilloma virus dogs can get..... I don't want Zira to get it, she has enough problems as it is. So (this may sound a bit.. harsh), I've been waiting for him to pass on (he's 14 and going downhill) for us to hand her over. It just seemed like the right thing to do... give him some peace and personal time.. and keep Zira away from any other issues.
Once our vet gets back in town, we'll be talking to him again..... see what he thinks about medication, and if there's even a possibility of getting him back to normal. Zira is frustrating, but manageable... and other than her "moments" she's a very happy dog. Duke on the other hand, is difficult to read now and doesn't seem to have a consistent trigger. I'm really drawing a blank with him... I don't understand what he's trying to tell me. :(
I'm so incredibly frustrated with this.... I'm afraid I'm losing this dog, I feel him getting further and further. Mentally, he's just not what he used to be. The other week, I caved in and said screw the risk... I'll return him to training (just light, and with caution)... hoping this would bring back some of his old self. Nope. He's great for a day or two... then back again. It's like a boomerang.
I wish these darn dogs could talk to me..... at least then they could tell me what's going on....
Also forgot to mention - B-complex - stress vitamin - find natural version (methylcobalamin - not cyano version)...also good for nerve damage
and Magnesium for sure
Permethrin is found in advantix and many, many, many other spot-ons
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