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kbender

Anxiety Wrap?

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Originally posted by kbender:

First off, thanks very much to the 3 of your responded like adults!

 

We've tried to hold and pet her, but that didn't seem to work, in fact, I think it actually made it worse. They say to never coddle a dog when it's behaving fearful, cause that sends the wrong message to the dog. I've also tried to cover her with a blanket, hoping the darkness would give her a feeling of safety. No dice, she's too busy running around like a maniac. We've tried music, Rescue Remedy, Benadryl and just plain ignoring her and trying to act like we don't notice. But that's hopeless when she jumps on and runs across the table after a loud boom of thunder (she's 45 lbs). I've been reading a lot of websites about this wrap (all positive reviews, so far) and just wanted to hear if anyone here had tried it or something similar to the wrap.

 

To anyone who doesn't have this problem with their dog, you're lucky. But don't make jokes. I've been told of one dog who became so disoriented with fear from a thunderstorm that she put herself through a large glass window. She didn't make it!

GO TO A VET!!!!!!

 

Forget the over the counter (OTC) remedies and get professional help. If your vet prescribes acepromazine find a new Vet.

 

The problem I have with the wrap is how do you know when to put it on the dog? Once the storm has been seen by you your dog already knows it's there; then how will you put the wrap on the dog?

 

The OTC remidies may help with dogs mildly affected by thunderphobia (those that stress pant or pace); once the fear has escillated to panic I doubt anything but serious drugs will help.

 

BTW I am not laughing or making jokes.

 

Mark

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If your vet prescribes acepromazine find a new Vet.
Mark, I know you are a scientist so could you please explain why. I am working with Cocoa on desensitizing her to a new vet. Saturday was dreadful. She shook, snapped at staff, deficated,and expressed. They were very patient and open to us wandering freely through the clinic to do what we needed to do, but said if it continues after several visits she may have to be sedated. I want to be prepared if it comes to this. Thank you.

Toni

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I would like a little ammo too. My vet has given me Ace for June, but I'm not pleased at all. I suggested maybe we could try Xanax, but was met with opposition, and my Vet refused to let us try it. Her argument was for the longer lasting effects of Ace, but quite honestly now all I have is a terrified dog that can't run as fast or as straight, but is still scared to death. I am going to try once more, and after that I may take her elsewhere if I have to.

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Karen's storm phobia article:

 

http://www.dvmnewsmagazine.com/dvm/article...l.jsp?id=136493

 

The short argument against Ace is that it simply paralyzes the dog, and has no anti-anxiety effects. Imagine being scared out of your wits and immobilized and you'll understand why dogs on Ace for storms usually get worse, not better. Dogs who are noise-phobic can actually experience an enhanced startle effect on Ace, and some dogs have hyper-aggressive reactions to Ace (Solo was one of those). None of my dogs will ever get Ace again, and it says so in their vet records. Ace is a very common pre-anesthetic. (You know what my dogs get instead? IV Valium, and this is also a common pre-anesthetic.)

 

Xanax and other benzodiazepines (i.e., Valium) have true anti-anxiety effects and are short-acting, which is a plus, not a minus (as anyone who has seen how long it takes for Ace to wear off can testify). It can be re-given at appropriate time intervals if storms go longer rather than shorter. Ideally, there is little obvious effect on the dog except that the dog is not freaked out by stuff that would freak her out. Solo becomes sort of extra charming on Xanax (imagine a serious friend who loosens up a bit with a glass of wine) but not to the extent that anyone would think he was on Xanax, just that he was a pleasant sort of chap. Nothing like the sort of awful wobbliness and droopiness that Ace causes.

 

Some vets won't prescribe Xanax because they think the humans will abuse it. I'd find another vet, one who trusts me, or a vet behaviorist who is actually more qualified to dispense these meds.

 

Mark is right. Thunder (or other noise) phobias are no joke. As dogs age they inevitably become worse, since the association between noise and panic strengthens every time the dog has a bad experience, which is why so many people say "he was fine before, but he's not now." The dog was never fine, but the signs were so subtle early on that the humans didn't notice or just lived with them. Treatment should start sooner, rather than later, with a dog who appears noise phobic. This is something that needs to be nipped in the bud, not allowed to fester.

 

I'm all for alternative medicine and whatnot, but I'm more for using remedies that have been shown to work in a non-anecdotal fashion. I suspect that many of the people who use wraps and the like are in fact inadvertently cuing their dogs to have worse phobias because the wraps become an indicator that a storm is about to show up or to get bad. If you do try wrapping your dog, at least do it at random times as well so the dog doesn't learn that the wrap means it's gonna get loud.

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Regarding the wrap, they do recommend putting it on the dog at other times besides before/during storms so the animal doesn't associate it with fear, I guess that's just common sense. My dog is a rescue that was already effected by storms by the time we got her, so damage is done. Now we're just trying to learn to cope and help her. As for talking to the vet, trust me, WE HAVE! He's at a loss for now. His only recommendation is drug therapy, but I agree in that the long term effects can be harmful. I'd rather find a safer alternative, if we can.

 

As I mentioned in a post above, we tried an experiment with a shirt of mine and I think it helped, but not sure. A real storm would be the real test. In the meantime, over the weekend, I modified the shirt so it fits better and hopefully act the same as the anxiety wrap. Time will tell whether or not it will even work. But it's at least worth a try.

 

I can appreciate everyones input on this on all sides. This is a tough situation for some of these dogs (and owners). We only want the best for these poor things and it's hard to know what to do sometimes. It's hard to get ours to settle down and focus on playing, training or whatever when she's terrified and running around. She's also afraid of a crate (maybe one was used as punishment by her previous owners, but we're working on this issue, too), so we can't get her to go in one "for safety".

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My understanding is acepromazine is a muscle relaxer; while this reduces the reaction to the fear (due to loss of motor control) it does not dull the mind so the dog is still having the fears but cannot react. It is better to dull the mind to minimize the fear. Anti-anxiety drugs are what should be prescribed; drug classes include: benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, etc) and Tricyclic Antidepressants (i.e. lavil). My best advice is to contact an Animal Behavior Clinic like ones at Vet schools (Cornell, Purdue, UPenn Vet Center, I can't find the link, etc.).

 

Mark

 

P.S. On a very sad note (but one to help you be prepared) I have heard through a friend that has worked closely with one of the behavior vets at U Penn's center that they see dogs that nothing will help with their thunderphobia. :rolleyes: :D :D :D :D

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Here is Karen Overall's discussion of Ace (in the article linked above):

 

I know that the common "treatment" for storm and noise phobias and veterinary office visits is acepromazine. In truth, I wish this medication would be placed at the far back of a top shelf and used only exceptionally. Acepromazine is a dissociative anesthetic meaning that it scrambles perceptions. Ask yourself if a scrambling of perceptions will make an anxious or uncertain dog worse or better. It's always worse, and we make many if not most dogs more sensitive to storms by using this drug. In part this is also because sensitivity to noise is heightened.

 

This is a recipe for disaster for these dogs, and, in fact, they learn to be more fearful and more reactive because of these associations. If what you need is sedation - acepromazine can be an acceptable adjuvant, but it makes most of my really fearful and really reactive patients worse, so all sorts of other drug combos can work better and do less harm than is done by the routine use of acepromazine.

 

I believe that acepromazine is related to thorazine. Acepromazine is not a form that is approved for use in humans. You gotta kinda wonder why, right? The nice thing about Xanax is that it doesn't actually dull the mind (unless you give a high, sedative dose) -- the effects are pretty specific to panic. I've only seen one dog get stupid on Xanax (hi Becca!), but since all dogs are individuals and metabolize things a bit differently, it's not surprising that there are some out there.

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Originally posted by kbender:

She's also afraid of a crate (maybe one was used as punishment by her previous owners, but we're working on this issue, too), so we can't get her to go in one "for safety".

This may simply be how the dog reacts to this fear; it isn't necessarily related to how the crate has been used in the past.

 

Mark

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She's afraid of confinement, no matter what. We've tried 3 styles of crates/cages and she refused all of them. With or without bad weather. We're working on it. We're up to the point where she's willing to get the front half of her body in, but that's all. One step forward, two steps back. It's just a matter of trust at this point.

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I want to add another vote for TTouch,which has helped Durga, my rescue BC, a great deal. I checked the video out from the public library, sat down on the rug with her and did the various techniques. I'm sure you could learn more from a teacher, but I found the video very easy to follow. This was on Day 4 or 5 after I brought her home & she was a tense, shy (sometimes terrified) dog who held onto me with a paw whenever she could. Midway through the video, she began to relax and by the end was on her back. I've done it regularly (especially the first few weeks) and it seems to have made a difference.

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Originally posted by JMack:

I checked the video out from the public library, sat down on the rug with her and did the various techniques.

What a great idea, I didn't think of the library. Thanks!

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I'm a bit late on this one but here's what I posted on another message board where someone asked about this same product - forgive the repetition of some things already said but maybe it'll help you a bit:

 

I have a GSDx with severe fear of thunderstorms. A question: have you continuously given your dog the rescue remedy in drinking water or by dropper? (be sure to not touch dropper in dog's mouth - I use a different dropper - or you have made the remedy no longer any good). Rescue Remedy works eventually - just have to be patient and wait a while (it's not overnight remedy but you will see results in days to weeks)

 

As for the wrap, I have used an old t-shirt and put my dog's head through the top and front legs through the arms. I then tie the bottom in a big knot to make sure the t-shirt stays close to her body. This is much cheaper than the wrap and works well.

 

If you want to use the pressure points that the anxiety wrap uses, a cheaper way would be using a ace bandage and wrapping it that certain way. The Whole Dog Journal had an article on it and I would be happy to let you know which one. You can buy a previous article from them online http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/ (If you let me know you're interested, I can look in my past issues to find the right one. I'm almost positive they explain how it has to be done). (to buy it is somewhere between 7-9 dollars - I think)

 

Hope this helps,

 

Emily

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My Abby is severely thunder and firework phobic, and at 9 years of age, I doubt there is much I can do to allay her fears. She's not just afraid, she literally panicks. I had seen the anxiety wrap previously, but didn't want to shell out the $$ on something that I didn't know would work; perhaps it works for dogs with mild fear, but the degree of Abby's fear is so intense that I'm really skeptical that something like that would help. I have considered trying a tight t-shirt or swaddling her with a blanket though, because one of her behaviors when she's panicking is to wedge herself into a tight space. Perhaps something about the sensation of being in a tight space is soothing to her.

 

In the meantime we have discarded the use of Ace for the same reasons already cited, and have been using Valium for some time now. It doesn't reduce her fear as noticeably as I would like, but it does take the edge off enough to help. If I am home when the dreaded event occurs, I can give her a "chill pill" or two and put her in her crate in the bedroom with the fan turned on, the radio turned up loud, and a big juicy marrow bone. Normally if she's in her crate and hears thunder or a firework, she will try so hard to escape that she bloodies herself (so during the month of July, she is basically never crated when home alone), but with the help of the valium, the fan, the loud music, and the bone, she can stay calmly in her crate.

 

I don't normally advocate crating a panicking dog (unless the dog likes their crate during times of stress; Abby does not), but I need to be able to crate Abby because she cannot be around Lucy without attacking her (Abby is my little nut case), and it's not fair to Lucy to have to spend the entire week before July 4th or the entire thunder storm season in her crate because Abby is a freak. The multi pronged approach allows me to manage Abby during these times so that both her and Lucy's needs can be met.

 

I wouldn't spend the $$ on the Anxiety Wrap without first trying a tight t-shirt or something to see if it helps, and I wouldn't bank on that one thing being the cure, but rather, would continue to employ a combination of things that seem to help. That's just my experience.

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