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Thunderphobia worsening?

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Honestly there's no way I'd use Ace with a phobic dog - it has no anxiety-relieving properties and I've heard a number of stories first hand from people who experienced worsening symptoms after using it with their phobic dogs.

 

Well, the prescribing information that comes with the medicine says, and I quote, "Acepromazine is most commonly used to alleviate fear and anxiety." And it's all they were offering, so I said I'd try it--but because Dr. Overall didn't recommend it, I started at the TINIEST dose. Glad we did because it was very strong, and I don't like it. But not because her symptoms worsened. Because she seemed TOO sedate on it and for hours and hours afterwards. I don't want her high for 1/2 of every day, just because it rains and thunders from 4-6.

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Well, the prescribing information that comes with the medicine says, and I quote, "Acepromazine is most commonly used to alleviate fear and anxiety." And it's all they were offering, so I said I'd try it--but because Dr. Overall didn't recommend it, I started at the TINIEST dose. Glad we did because it was very strong, and I don't like it. But not because her symptoms worsened. Because she seemed TOO sedate on it and for hours and hours afterwards. I don't want her high for 1/2 of every day, just because it rains and thunders from 4-6.

I hate ace. I don't think my dogs were calmer. They were just so messed up by the drug that they couldn't do much. Their eyes got really wierd - that third eyelid moved over part of their eyes. And they didn't sleep they just kept trying to stagger around. And Bandit got aggressive toward the other dogs. That was the end of that stuff.

 

Xanax was just so much better. Dogs just weren't anxious any more and they would just go to sleep.

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I hate ace. I don't think my dogs were calmer. They were just so messed up by the drug that they couldn't do much. Their eyes got really wierd - that third eyelid moved over part of their eyes. And they didn't sleep they just kept trying to stagger around. And Bandit got aggressive toward the other dogs. That was the end of that stuff.

 

Xanax was just so much better. Dogs just weren't anxious any more and they would just go to sleep.

 

Well, I wish they would give me Xanax, and will ask next time, when I see my regular vet next week (this was an emergency visit so I had to see a subordinate). But I still don't think I'd want to give that every day all summer.

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Not to hijack... But finally talked to my regular vet tonight on the phone! LOVE HIM! He agrees with Dr. Overall about alprazolam (xanax) being more effective than acepromazine. Tomorrow we start clomipramine with alprazalom for bleed through and early periods of extreme distress! SO EXCITED TO HOPEFULLY GET SOME RELIEF FOR HER and hopefully be able to start some behavior modification! I am so sick of seeing her dig at wall plugs and the floor, running from hiding place to hiding place with every thunderbolt, I keep having to pick her up to abort frantic behavior and place her in a kennel or the bathtub and it doesn't quite seem to help much yet...

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Well, I wish they would give me Xanax, and will ask next time, when I see my regular vet next week (this was an emergency visit so I had to see a subordinate). But I still don't think I'd want to give that every day all summer.

 

Xanax takes the edge off for Mick, but it doesn't make him act drugged.

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From what my vet tells me, Ace relaxes their body but not their mind, so they are basically freaking out in a body that won't move.

 

Xanax relaxes everything.

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Wow. Very timely. I will look up the Thundershirt. I was just looking at the boards because Kip (who, til now, had issues limited to Basset hounds, vacuum cleaners, and leaf blowers) has had an increasing anxiety curve in relation to storms/thunder....no issues the first two summers he's been with us...til now. At this point it is mostly worried expression (darting eyes, pinned ears) and some panting, as well as being clingy to DH if DH is available.

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Not to hijack... But finally talked to my regular vet tonight on the phone! LOVE HIM! He agrees with Dr. Overall about alprazolam (xanax) being more effective than acepromazine. Tomorrow we start clomipramine with alprazalom for bleed through and early periods of extreme distress! SO EXCITED TO HOPEFULLY GET SOME RELIEF FOR HER and hopefully be able to start some behavior modification! I am so sick of seeing her dig at wall plugs and the floor, running from hiding place to hiding place with every thunderbolt, I keep having to pick her up to abort frantic behavior and place her in a kennel or the bathtub and it doesn't quite seem to help much yet...

And it really isn't good for a dog with a weakened heart to be that frantic. One of my dogs died of a heart attack during a storm. He was only five. I had no idea he had heart problems. He also had a history of mild siezures. I think it was the combination of having a siezure and having heart problems that cause his death.

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And it really isn't good for a dog with a weakened heart to be that frantic. One of my dogs died of a heart attack during a storm. He was only five. I had no idea he had heart problems. He also had a history of mild siezures. I think it was the combination of having a siezure and having heart problems that cause his death.

 

I'm so sorry about your dog. I know it's not good for her heart, especially right now. That's what I told the vet. Thankfully I have the Rx's now... getting them filled tomorrow.

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I'm so sorry about your dog. I know it's not good for her heart, especially right now. That's what I told the doctor. Thankfully I have the Rx's now... getting them filled tomorrow.

Two things about Xanax. Keep her on leash or in a confined area. They are so relaxed that they just kind of wander off. And forget to come back.

 

Also, dogs process the drug a lot differently than a human does so they take a lot higher dose per pound than a human. My Bandit was about 60 pounds and he got 1 mil. tablet. If I tried to take that I would have been asleep for about 12 hours. That 1 mil. was just about right for him. It lasted just about 4 hours. If I saw that storms were coming I would just give him one maybe half an hour before the storms were due to hit.

 

I also used Xanax over the 4th of July - what a Godsend that was.

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Two things about Xanax. Keep her on leash or in a confined area. They are so relaxed that they just kind of wander off. And forget to come back.

 

Also, dogs process the drug a lot differently than a human does so they take a lot higher dose per pound than a human. My Bandit was about 60 pounds and he got 1 mil. tablet. If I tried to take that I would have been asleep for about 12 hours. That 1 mil. was just about right for him. It lasted just about 4 hours. If I saw that storms were coming I would just give him one maybe half an hour before the storms were due to hit.

 

I also used Xanax over the 4th of July - what a Godsend that was.

 

It sure is a higher dose per pound! I just looked it up. Vala is only 29 pounds and the vet gave her .25 mg pills - the regular starting human dose. But he said we were starting low... She has been super-sensitive to the low doses of everything else we've given her (tramadol, ace), but he said the alprazolam might not do anything at this dose so I might have to up it to get it to where it will work. Poor thing, she spent last night in the bathtub. Just got back from the pharmacy now. Yes, this will be WONDERFUL for fourth of July too. She stopped being scared of the faint rumbling noises on clear days from the railcar loading facility about a mile away - which she was always hiding from when she first moved in with us - once she figured out it was just noise. Hopefully the clomipramine and alprazolam combo will work. I just gave her the first clomipramine and I've been reading about how to do the behavior modification...

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Ok, Xanax it is.

 

We had one of those rollicking thunderstorms last night (BOOM! CRASH! FLASH!) and I suddenly (I was sound asleep at the time) had three trembling, panting Border Collies in the bed with me. I should have gone the Benadryl route but elected just to lie there calmly with them and hope they would calm down, which they finally did.

 

Next time at the vet (in addition to the heartworm treatment for Bessie) I'll get some Xanax. It never occurred to me that she could have a heart attack from the combo of the heartworms and storm terror.

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Update on Vala's progress that might be helpful for the OP and others when working with vets on this issue: we started Vala on clomipramine (generic Clomicalm, a small dose, 25mg/daily) last week, with supplementary alprazolam (generic Xanax) for just before thunderstorm onset. For the first three days, I immediately gave Vala the Xanax (she needed .5 mg for it to work, @ 30 #s--but my vet said this is dog-specific) anytime she exhibited the frantic digging behavior she had started exhibiting an hour or two before storms (when the pressure changed? or she heard distant thunder I couldn't?) and put her in the bathroom with a giant reduced fat peanut butter stuffed Kong (her favorite snack). I took care to be very upbeat while doing this and not nervous at all. I pretended not to notice she was scared and pretty much ignored her anytime she was frantic except to put her in her safe place, give her the xanax, and give her something to do (the kong). By the third day, for most storms, the digging became more like pawing and she had a new nervous behavior in the bathroom: Kong-sucking (if I happened to be in the bathroom when it would thunder, I noticed the thunder sound would prompt her to go for the Kong, instead of starting, moving, shaking, or pawing at the floor). At this point her digging became less frantic and stopped predicting the storms so far ahead, instead, waiting for thunder to start, and occasionally instead of digging she started just trotting to the bedroom to jump up on the bed and lie there and tremble slightly (--her old storm behavior). At this point, I started to wonder if part of her fear wasn't boredom or related to the fact that she's been separated from the cats for two and a half weeks (due to heartworm treatment) and decided to let the cats out of the back of the house since this is three weeks past her shot and she has shown zero symptoms of thromboembolism this time and hardly any coughing, and I wondered if having the cats around might actually calm her down. Interestingly, this had the desired effect. I notice when hearing a scary sound, sometimes, she jumps up out of habit to go hide, but then looks at the cats, sees them ignoring it, looking really nonchalant laid out fluffing the floor with their tails (as cats do), and circles, then lies back down. Also if I am talking to the cats positively while she is hiding from thunder or a thunderlike sound, she will come out for attention too, for which she gets asked to sit and shake and then gets the normal amount of praise. It is now day five or six and although she is still schizy about thunder and thunder-like sounds, and occasionally digs, mostly she just jumps up on the bed -- when she does get scared -- and she's not shaking anymore. Sometimes one of my cats (the youngest, Nyx, who thinks she's a dog) will calmly go in there and lie with her on the other side of the bed. I had to give her Xanax today, but I hadn't had to give Xanax in two days befor ethat... I'm really hoping the initial Xanax with continued Clomicalm, and continued behavior modification will help get her out of this. And I'm hoping I won't need the Xanax much in the long run except maybe for really long-term storms like hurricanes.

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Adding another update for future reference when people search this issue: after being on 25mg clomicalm daily and 0.5 mg stormphobia interrupting xanax for two weeks, 30# Vala's thunderphobia is seriously improving. No more storm-predicting at all. No more digging. About a week ago she was calm enough when she started to dig out of fear that I felt I could tell her "no ma'am" and she'd understand and not freak out--so I did and after two or three "no ma'ams" she actually stopped digging because she was no longer panicking enough to do something she knew I didn't like. Also she doesn't storm predict at all anymore either. She waits until thunder hits, and then she trots to the bed to hide under the covers or lie in the bathroom with her kong--and she doesn't shake or tremble anymore either. I also don't *have* to give her the xanax anymore. I'm starting to save it for really bad storms, working to try to phase it out for just like hurricanes, things like that, keep it on hand for emergencies. This seems to be working, and fast. :rolleyes:

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Guest maya's mom

I also wanted to add that I tried the Thundershirt a few more times, but did not see enough calming from Maya to continue to use it. The most recent storm, I knew about 30 minutes before it hit, that we were getting it. So I gave her a Benadryl around that time, and I do feel like she was calmer during the storm. Truth be told, it wasn't a really bad one, but she laid in one spot the whole time and didn't pant nearly as much. I even saw her close her eyes from time to time. I am going to try that the next time a big one is predicted, and I am definitely giving it to her on the 4th. We had a pretty bad reaction to that last year. Can't say I blame her though......I hate hearing fireworks going off well after midnight when all I want to do is sleep!

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I'll post an update as well. :rolleyes: After a few more weeks at the new house and daily wear of the thundershirt, Maggie's thunderstorm issues seem to be back to their old levels prior to this storm season (some panting and pacing, but no pottying in the house). She did go on antibiotics for a UTI but we just did a retest and the UTI appears to still be present, so apparently that was not affecting her responses (we are still treating the UTI of course).

 

The normal response level is greatly appreciated as we've had almost daily thunderstorms for the last week.

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i also use Xanax for my storm phobic girl.

every dog is different as far as 'specific' dosages. there's a starting 'guideline' but sometimes you have to 'tweak' depending on how 'your' dog does.

usually one would actually want to try a dose 'without' the stressor present, to make sure there isn't a paradoxical reaction. once in a while a dog might even be more anxious....but there are other meds too...

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