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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning!

Ok, so I really need suggestions on what I can do to help this situation. My GSD has Pannus, and my vet and I have been keeping an eye on it over the past year, and it is starting to get worse and creep it's way onto my boy's cornea.. So I took him back to the vet this past weekend, and they prescribed drops that I have to put in his eyes twice a day.

Well, the problem is, he absolutely WILL NOT let me do this. He squirms and squiggles and will not hold still to let me get the drops in. And it's just me, so I don't have anybody who can help me hold the dog still. And I'm finding myself becoming more and more agitated every time I try to give him his drops because he won't hold still, so I can't get them in, and it's causing me to be late in the mornings because I struggle with him for so long trying to just get the drops in. And my frustrations are growing and I'm finding myself getting really upset with him and having to pin him down with my body in order to just get these dang drops in, and the more I try to hold him down, the more he squirms.. So it's obviously having an ill effect on him and I really don't want to damage our relationship or break our trust because I'm having to sit on him and pin him down.. So I need to find another way to do this.

What I need help with is how can I get him to calm down and hold still for the drops? How can I go about putting drops in a dogs eyes who won't hold still and every time my hand with the dropper even gets near his face, he jerks and moves and squirms all around..

Any suggestions on what I can do to get him used to getting the drops? I've tried positive reinforcement for holding still.. I've tried associating the dropper with treats... I've tried holding a treat in one hand and letting him nibble on it while trying to get the drops in with the other hand. None of these approaches are working.. He's just not having it.

I am worried about getting so frustrated that I just stop using the drops alltogether because damaging my relationship with my dog just isn't worth it to me. But at the same time, neither is letting him go blind.


Please help!!
 

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i understand what your going through. i had a gsd with Pannus also. at first he was not crazy about the drops. you definitely have to find a more positive way to do it because with Pannus its a lifetime maintenance with drops.

one thing as you have found out, you getting upset and frustrated makes it worse. takes alot of patience. i would start by positive association. let him smell the bottle and give him a treat, might take a while, but he should associate it being a good thing with food present. then also give him food after and praise the heck out of him. i would also make sure to use REAL good food, like chicken or something really good and only use that when he gets his drops. if you find yourself getting frustrated stop and take a break. talk to him upbeat, pat him, or massage him to calm him and try again. the association with the drops needs to be a calm thing and a good thing.
 

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Try not to turn it into an ordeal for either one of you. It's a lot like trying to give pills or trim nails.

If you don't make a big deal of it, neither will the dog. Show frustration and impatients and you'll never get the dog to cooperate.
 

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did you take your dog to an eye specialist? get someone to help
you give the drops.
 

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I would try switching to an ointment rather than the drops. IME, this is much easier to apply, since you can rub it onto the inner eyelid. And I know how frustrating it can get, but this does make it worse - like others have already mentioned. Good luck!
 

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Ugh...I've been there, so I know how frustrating it is. Your frustration does transfer to the dog, and makes it worse. Here's how we changed that situation.

We have to do daily drops on TWO dogs right now -- a senior with corneal edema needs them twice a day, and a blind dog with cataracts needs them once a day. The blind dog currently loves drops time, and the senior has come to accept it, even though he's not crazy about it. When we started out, the blind dog ran away from me when he heard us shake the medicine bottle, and the senior fought with me and squeezed his eyes shut as hard as he could so nothing would go in. The current situation is a big, big change from where we started!

The key is drop time is the only time they get some of the highest value treats. It's super-duper special time for the dog! Treat lavishly before and after drops, so that the treats and drops get associated -- and make the treats a special one that is only for drop time. It needs to be something that's "awesome" from the dog's perspective, not a routine treat you commonly give.

My DH and I have different techniques, so you can find one that works for you. Mine is:

(1) sit-stay, show the drop bottle (or shake it, in the case of my blind dog), say your word for it ("drops," "eyes," whatever), and treat (keep a second treat at the ready nearby);
N.B. If your dog is a wiggler, position your body on the side opposite the eye you are dropping into, you can use your thigh on the side of the head so that you can hold the head one handed, if needed.

(2) pet the dog's head and sweet talk for moment, to make sure YOU are relaxed;

(3) gently tip up the head, thumb under dog's chin, hand over the side of the face (this puts your fingers above the dog's eye, just over the ridge of the eye socket)
N.B. Don't tilt too much, or you'll freak the dog out--just slightly up. Whisper soft praise ("good") to relax yourself if you and your dog are tensing up at this point. Also, in the beginning when mine was resisting, I positioned his head so it was resting against my thigh. This is a natural position for him, as he likes to press his head against me to be pet anyway, so we essentially start out in a "rub my ear" position, with his face against my thigh--then I lift up his chin on the other side of his face.

(4) very gently open upper eyelid by using slight pressure on the skin of the head above the eye socket;

(5) eye dropper in other hand, quickly get the drop in;
N.B. Mine used to jerk when he saw the dropper coming too. We solved this by bringing it toward him over the top of his head so he couldn't see it coming, and dropping from that position, at an angle. It sounds weird, but if you play with it, you'll see what I mean--pay attention tot he dog's field of view as you bring the dropper in, and you can get it close without him noticing. By the time he sees it, you're already in position to squeeze a drop in quickly. It only took doing it this way a short time before he stopped jerking and realized it wasn't a big deal.

(6) treat and praise lavishly.

We're much faster and more accurate in getting the drops in, now that we've had lots of practice. It was tough at first. He no longer needs to have his head against my thigh, as he's much more tolerant of it and wiggles much less.

If you try this, miss and then you and the dog get flustered and frustrated, release the dog, give a treat, pet the dog, relax, and start again.

I've been where you are, and it does get better! Hang in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow!!! Thank you so, so much for this very detailed step by step! Right now, I'm having him lie down on his side because I was having a very difficult time holding his head, holding the droppers, opening his eyelids, and holding him still all at the same time while sitting up. But I think I'll definitely be giving this approach a try!!! Perhaps I'll position him between myself and the wall so he has less wiggle room. :) And I will definitely bust out the high-value treats to make the event as enjoyable as possible!

Thank you for the words of encouragement. I really needed them. I hate to see him so distraught by something that I'm causing. So hopefully if I just stay calm, try to keep him calm, and incorporate lots of yummy treats, hopefully it will get better with time.


Ugh...I've been there, so I know how frustrating it is. Your frustration does transfer to the dog, and makes it worse. Here's how we changed that situation.

We have to do daily drops on TWO dogs right now -- a senior with corneal edema needs them twice a day, and a blind dog with cataracts needs them once a day. The blind dog currently loves drops time, and the senior has come to accept it, even though he's not crazy about it. When we started out, the blind dog ran away from me when he heard us shake the medicine bottle, and the senior fought with me and squeezed his eyes shut as hard as he could so nothing would go in. The current situation is a big, big change from where we started!

The key is drop time is the only time they get some of the highest value treats. It's super-duper special time for the dog! Treat lavishly before and after drops, so that the treats and drops get associated -- and make the treats a special one that is only for drop time. It needs to be something that's "awesome" from the dog's perspective, not a routine treat you commonly give.

My DH and I have different techniques, so you can find one that works for you. Mine is:

(1) sit-stay, show the drop bottle (or shake it, in the case of my blind dog), say your word for it ("drops," "eyes," whatever), and treat (keep a second treat at the ready nearby);
N.B. If your dog is a wiggler, position your body on the side opposite the eye you are dropping into, you can use your thigh on the side of the head so that you can hold the head one handed, if needed.

(2) pet the dog's head and sweet talk for moment, to make sure YOU are relaxed;

(3) gently tip up the head, thumb under dog's chin, hand over the side of the face (this puts your fingers above the dog's eye, just over the ridge of the eye socket)
N.B. Don't tilt too much, or you'll freak the dog out--just slightly up. Whisper soft praise ("good") to relax yourself if you and your dog are tensing up at this point. Also, in the beginning when mine was resisting, I positioned his head so it was resting against my thigh. This is a natural position for him, as he likes to press his head against me to be pet anyway, so we essentially start out in a "rub my ear" position, with his face against my thigh--then I lift up his chin on the other side of his face.

(4) very gently open upper eyelid by using slight pressure on the skin of the head above the eye socket;

(5) eye dropper in other hand, quickly get the drop in;
N.B. Mine used to jerk when he saw the dropper coming too. We solved this by bringing it toward him over the top of his head so he couldn't see it coming, and dropping from that position, at an angle. It sounds weird, but if you play with it, you'll see what I mean--pay attention tot he dog's field of view as you bring the dropper in, and you can get it close without him noticing. By the time he sees it, you're already in position to squeeze a drop in quickly. It only took doing it this way a short time before he stopped jerking and realized it wasn't a big deal.

(6) treat and praise lavishly.

We're much faster and more accurate in getting the drops in, now that we've had lots of practice. It was tough at first. He no longer needs to have his head against my thigh, as he's much more tolerant of it and wiggles much less.

If you try this, miss and then you and the dog get flustered and frustrated, release the dog, give a treat, pet the dog, relax, and start again.

I've been where you are, and it does get better! Hang in there.
 

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I would not use a wall -- it is likely to make him feel cornered, and will just rev up the anxiety.

I often do the lying down technique with the blind dog, but he's very docile. If the lying down technique gives you and the dog some stability, sit down next to him and try to get him to put his head in your lap or on your thight while you pet him. I've done that too.

With the senior who was the jerker, I just remembered sometimes in the beginning, I did position him in a sit stay between my knees. Again, he's been doing that since he was a puppy so it's a safe spot for him to sit, not a scary one. Then I could turn his head to put it against one bent knee. That worked too. It depends how tall you are and how big the dog is on whether this would work for you. That position helped with the technique of bringing the dropper over his head behind him, so he couldn't see it coming, since my body was partially behind him.
 

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I've been putting drops in Apache's eyes for panus for at least 8 years. Fortunately he is very good about it. I have him sit or stand spread the eyelid with one hand and drop with the other. Once in a while I have his muzzle rest on my shoulder as I squat in front of him.
I know with most of my critters the more you struggle with them the less cooperation you get. Lakota is very difficult to do anything to, I found with her it's best to put her leash on and go into the bathroom (very small) and have a lot of time and patience.
 

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i think the biggest thing is for you not to get frustrated, the rest will fall in place. a little positive association goes a long ways.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Maybe you can start with the cream and then start over with the drops?

I just called my vet to see if they have any of the medicine in cream/ointment form. They do not. However, I just spoke with a vet tech, so they are going to have the vet call me back tomorrow to see what options I might have. If they could somehow get a cream/ointment form of the medicine (Prednisone Acetate), I think that would be a lot easier as my dog has no problem with me touching his eyes to clean them and such, it's just when I have that little dropper bottle in my hand, coming toward his eye that he freaks out about! :)
 

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it was always easier for us with the drops. and if you use the ointment make sure you wash and sanatize your hands well before doing the ointment, so as not to contaminate the eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
so you heard what everyone has to say. did you go to an
eye specialist?

No, I have not gone to an eye specialist. I'm not sure why I would need to do that. It is very clearly Pannus and my vet was able to identify it immediately over a year ago and just keep an eye on it ever since. I'm not sure what benefit there would be in going to an eye specialist when I assume it would be the same diagnosis. Are there different ways to treat Pannus that I nor my regular vet are not aware of? Can you maybe explain why you are recommending I take him to an eye specialist?
 

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yes, there are different meds etc to treat Pannus, there are also different forms of pannus. also the specialist will test the tear ducks etc to see the tear production. most vets are not specialists in these areas, they might be able to diagnose but cannot treat in depth or prescribe the right meds etc. if you have an eye specialist in the area or one that might travel there a few times a year, i would most definitely see one. if the pannus is not treated with correct meds etc, it can progress faster and you might not be able to reverse the damage. also, its important to protect those eyes from bright sunlight, wind, debris, etc. honestly i would see an eye specialist, because we were treating with two different meds, which my regular vet never told us about.
 

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My vet at the time refered me to an opthamologist. Apache was about 2-1/2 I certainly didn't want any problems with vision loss. I am very glad I went. The first visit was a little pricey maybe $300 but the extensive testing was well worth it. Much more in depth than the vet could ever even come close to.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hmm.. I thought Pannus was pretty straight forward, (my vet made it sound like a no-brainer and was very sure about his treatment plan) but I guess it sounds like maybe I should explore things further.. I guess I'll give a call to the local Opthamologist to see about getting an appointment. Thanks for opening my eyes to this, Doggiedad, and everyone else for providing further reason as to why we should consider a 2nd, more specialized opinion.
 
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