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10.5 yr old, Separation Anxiety now set in

 
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wiredforbiking
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PostPosted: 01/22/05, 4:28 pm    Post subject: 10.5 yr old, Separation Anxiety now set in Reply with quote

My wife and I have a wonderful 10.5 year old female GWP, Heidi. One of my favorite pastimes with this dog has been biking with her. Very Happy Our time with her have been great except for the last six months. She is a house dog and is crate trained. She has also been on phenobarbitol for seizures since she was 4 years old.

About six months ago, Heidi started peeing in her MidWest crate. We installed a grid in the crate so that we only had to clean the tray and not her. Stupid us - one time we forgot to take the dog collar off and it got caught on the grid. Shortly after this, Heidi started getting restless, broke out several times, and finally destroyed the crate. After the dog got out of the crate she started on the house. With nothing else to confine her, we tied the poor dog to a pole in the basement which only exasperated the problem. Sad

Our vet suggested a number of ailments including a brain tumour, general behavior issues, and even thyroid problems. She has lost about 7 lbs and continues to lose weight, despite that we have doubled her daily rations. He tested the thyroid and it was fine. He also referred us to a behavior specialist vet.

The behaviorist told us to give her the run of the basement and video her while we were at work. In the tape the dog was very anxious - running around, up and down stairs, clawing the basement door, barking, whining, etc. Conclusion: separation anxiety, barrier frusteration, and noise phobia. Furnace noises are especially a problem. This dog never hunted because of fear of gun shots. Sad

The behaviorist suggested behavior modification training and keeping the dog busy with treat balls, stuffed kongs, etc. She also has prescribed 50mg tablets of clomipramine 2x/day, which after 1.5 months shows no effect. Now we are adding to those meds 2 tablets a day of of 2 mg Alprazolam (Tranquilizer) to no or little effect.

Heidi has done well with the behavior mod training exercises; however continues to be restless and upset when we leave to go anywhere. The only time she is interested in her toys is when we are home. She also shows little interest in playing anymore.

Now Heidi has progressed to destroying items in the basement and pulling things off my workbench. Wednesday, the dog chewed up a furnace air filter and cut her lip on the wire form. Heidi has never climbed on the kitchen counters before so we didn't anticipate that she would climb on the bench! Heidi has also been deficating and urinating in the basement on a daily basis.

We are tired of her daily messes and are afraid that she will hurt or kill herself, and are debating if it is time to end her life. Crying or Very sad On the other hand, we love her dearly - like a child.

Any Suggestions?
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 01/22/05, 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

are you still biking this dog? What kind of exercise is she getting? Just questions to ask at this point.......
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wiredforbiking
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PostPosted: 01/22/05, 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I do. But riding a bike in the winter in Rochester, NY is a bit more problematic than if it were Summer. So biking with the dog is much more dependent on weather and road conditions. No fun to wipe out on icy roads and potentially fall on the dog.
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cheerio
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PostPosted: 01/23/05, 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your girl has been fine for 10 years and is only giving you trouble now, I have no dount that she is trying to tell you something. First of all, thyroid problems do not suddenly occur at 10, so I would not even consider it...
She is peeing now in the house. This could be due to a urinary tract infection, which would require antibiotics. In this case, your girl is likely pee often and not much; a Neurogenic Incontinence which is due to a spinal cord problem such as injury, degeneration, infection or tumors, or an overdistension of the Bladder which is due to an obstruction of the bladder, either by a stone, a stricture or a tumor. The symptoms are intermitent uncontrolled dribbling. Now if your girl simply urinate a large amount on occasion, this is more likely to be due to either what we call an Hormone Responsive Incontinence, especially if she is spayed, or a kidney failure. All if these can be treated although not cured with proper medication.
A loss of weight can be indicative of depression, the dog does not eat and therefore loses weight, although through what you are saying this may not be the case. It is always a worry especially in an aging dog as it is also a symptom in cancer. But first is first, when one of my dogs looses weight and yet, still eats well, I always start by deworming the dog. One tablet of Drontal Plus or Lopatol per 22 lb of dog will take care of just about all types of intestinal worms.
There is no doubt that the crate incident caused her a lot of distress. Especially if other ailments, unknown to you are begining to crop up. Have you had her ears or eyes tested. It is very comun for an aging dog who looses his vision, and sometimes his hearing to feel lost and isolated and to show a destructive or depressive behevior. You may want to spend sometimes each day, about 20 to 30 minutes, peting her calmly on her chest and her face, including in front of her eyes while speaking softly. You may also want to give her some "Rescue Remedy" from Dr. Bach (3 to 5 drops in her dayly drinking water, or in one cc of water given just before you leave). It is an abstract of several flowers among which camomille, which is known to relax an anxious dog. If this does not work, "Home Alone" is a little stronger.
At her age, she deserves to finish her life quietly, and the fact that you would contact a behaviorist and come on this board proves how much you care for her. So gently look at in her eyes while cuddling her, and you may be surprised, she may just tell you what it is that really bothers her...
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wiredforbiking
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PostPosted: 01/26/05, 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheerio,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

No I don't think she has a bladder infection. The only time she pees or deficates in the "house" is when she is left in the basement after we leave for work or even for a short time. When we are at home she tells us when she has to go. I am positive Heidi's pee is from anxiety.

We are thinking the loss of weight is from the anxiety too. When the pooch is in the basement she runs up and down the stairs, tears up boxes we leave for her. Unfortunately she doesn't eat or touch any of the food we leave her whether on the floor or in the "crazy ball", "kong", "molecube", etc. We left raw hide and pig ears in the basement for Heidi this morning and she didn't touch them until we got home. I would have thought for sure she would have attacked those. In the past when we got her rawhide, she would gaurd it with her life.

When we went to the vet last week he did notice a little yeast infection starting in the ears and he cleaned it up.

Her hearing is still good. But her eyes do look a little cloudy, possibly cataracts. Kind of hard to believe because she still sees squirrels and cats from quite a distance when we are walking and then takes me for a drag. Wink

We'll give the rescue remedy a try. Hopefully that might show some promise. Everything else is failing including that T -Touch thing, which she doesn't seem at all interested in. (Maybe we haven't found the right touch)

Any idea how long the Rescue Remedy takes before you start seeing results?
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 01/29/05, 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

here is an article that may help you understand what is going on with your oldster.
http://www.trader.co.nz/versatiledogs/articles/anxiety.htm

with any luck, it will help.
Also, I would suggest you give her as much exercise as you can before you have to leave her....tire her out!
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