Thyroid removal in dogs? - Page 2 - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #26 of 44 (permalink) Old 10-28-2016, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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UPDATE: Blood work is in and it is almost exactly the same as it was on his last test. But since he seemed to improve on thyroid medicine, his vet is going to give him a prescription for 0.3mg twice daily. It's a small dosage, but we're still going to watch him for adverse affects. In the past, it leveled him out enough that he actually stopped and considered the door knock rather than simply going crazy and screaming. So that's a bonus when it comes to trying to train those triggers out of him.

Next, Alberta does not have any board certified behaviorists. There is one in Toronto, one in Vancouver and three in Quebec. At present time, Vancouver is the closest and is approximately a 12 hour drive from me. However, there is a vet in Okotoks (4 hours south of me) that is not board certified, but has special interest and a lot of additional training and certifications in animal behavior. She is not board certified, but as close as I'm going to get without a 12 hour drive. I have sent her an email, describing Atlas and his behaviors, so now we're just waiting for a reply. If she feels she can help him, I'll be making an appointment and taking a road trip with the doberkid. If she feels it would be better for him to see the vet in Vancouver, I guess we'll be taking a longer road trip.

We're also considering starting him on Fluoxetine (doggie prozac), but will be holding off on that until I get a chance to talk with the vet in Okotoks. If she thinks it's worth a try, we will.

So that's where we are now. I guess it's not the best update, but at least we're ruling out some health issues.
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Sometimes the veterinary behaviorists will do phone consults with your regular vet, or some will do Skype consults with you, etc. So you may want to call the ones farther away and just inquire if the doc closer to you doesn't work out.


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post #28 of 44 (permalink) Old 10-28-2016, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Sometimes the veterinary behaviorists will do phone consults with your regular vet, or some will do Skype consults with you, etc. So you may want to call the ones farther away and just inquire if the doc closer to you doesn't work out.
That's my hope if the closer one doesn't work out, but I'm thinking I might just call the Vancouver one anyway to talk and pick their brain about things.
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post #29 of 44 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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So, based on the paperwork I picked up from the vet and his original paperwork, Atlas' results are actually lower than they were previously. Still within normal, but a low normal. I finally had a chance to look at them and compare and this is where we're at:

New results:
T4 - 16.3 (ref: 13.0 - 53.0) ** Original was 22.9 (ref: 13.0 - 53.0)
Free T4 - 14.9 (ref: 7.7 - 47.6) ** Original was 21.9 (ref: 9.0 - 47.4)
TSH - 0.33 (ref: 0 - 0.60) ** This one is actually marginally higher - his original was 0.06.
T3 - 0.74 (ref: 0.99-2.10) ** same on both tests

His current prescription is 0.03mg/twice daily of Thyro-Tab. His appointment is already made for 6 weeks from now to re-test everything and see if his thyroid is holding steady or if something has changed and we need to change his prescription or cut it out altogether.

I left a couple phone messages for some board certified behaviorists outside of Alberta and have sent an email to one vet in Okotoks. I was at a party with a vet the other day and she mentioned that there is a vet at her clinic who has a special interest in cases like this. Not board certified, but again, lots of extra research and training into endocrine systems, neurological problems and behavioral issues. She's only 20 minutes from my house, so it's worthwhile for me to go, sit down and let her observe Atlas before making the 4 hour drive to Okotoks or deciding I should just take him for a road trip to Vancouver (because that is a possibility if it will really, really help him). I'm waiting to hear back from a more knowledgeable vet on this matter before starting him on an anxiety med. My logic tells me that he'll have an easier time losing his triggers if he's less anxious, but I'm waiting for some input from other vets before doing that.

In the interim, I have hung a sign on my door that tells people: "Warning - I have very anxious dog who needs special attention when you knock on the door. If you knock, please be patient while I work with him and help him get settled. If you would like to become my best friend, please do not knock... call me instead."
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post #30 of 44 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CourtneyLynn View Post
So, based on the paperwork I picked up from the vet and his original paperwork, Atlas' results are actually lower than they were previously. Still within normal, but a low normal. I finally had a chance to look at them and compare and this is where we're at:

New results:
T4 - 16.3 (ref: 13.0 - 53.0) ** Original was 22.9 (ref: 13.0 - 53.0)
Free T4 - 14.9 (ref: 7.7 - 47.6) ** Original was 21.9 (ref: 9.0 - 47.4)
TSH - 0.33 (ref: 0 - 0.60) ** This one is actually marginally higher - his original was 0.06.
T3 - 0.74 (ref: 0.99-2.10) ** same on both tests
I would regard the changes in T4, Free T4 and TSH as significant--particularly the TSH--that's a pretty huge rise in values. The drop in T4 and free T4 is enough that I would also view them as sgnficant.

In my dogs the TSH rarely has changed much even though T4 and Free T4 have been dropping.

Because other things going on with a dog can affect thyroid levels (just as thyroid level can affect other things--like skin, weight etc) so it'll be interesting to see what the recheck shows and if the dosage of thyro-tabs (and is it really .03mg BID?--that is a tiny dose for a dog--.3mg BID would be a low dose for a dog and about what a dog without a lot of clinical symptoms might be put on) has any effect.

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His current prescription is 0.03mg/twice daily of Thyro-Tab. His appointment is already made for 6 weeks from now to re-test everything and see if his thyroid is holding steady or if something has changed and we need to change his prescription or cut it out altogether.
What dose was prescribed by the vet who originally put him on the Synthroid?
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post #31 of 44 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 03:06 PM
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Either way, she is going to do some additional research into possible anxiety medication for him. There are many possibilities, she said, but it's a matter of finding the right one for him that he can have daily, which will be safe with the thyroid medicine if he gets put back on that. She mentioned Tramadole, but that's more of a situational anxiety pill that you give before events that cause stress to your dog. It's not so much of a daily drug.
I came back to your post of several days ago to make what I think is a correction just so someone reading this who doesn't know about some of these drugs doesn't get the wrong information.

I read the business about the vet intending to look into more appropriate anxiety medication and you went on to name Tramadole. I wondered about this at the time but wanted to make sure I looked it up since there are many drugs used off label for a variety of things. So even though I was pretty sure (since I've had more than one Dobe on Tramadol long term) that it probably wasn't the drug your vet named for use for situational anxiety I did double check.

Tramadol is a synthetic opioid--its primary use is for pain relief--and it's often used in conjunction with other pain relief meds--mostly because it can be used with other drugs without triggering fatal interactions and can be used long term generally without problems. Like evey drug it can, for some people and dogs have some unfortunate side effect but all things considered it's a pretty benign drug when you think about drugs for pain relief.

The drug I think your vet propably talked about was most likely Trazadone. This IS a drug which is often prescribed for axiety and can be used for situatonal anxiety. Check with her and make sure though.

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post #32 of 44 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 03:17 PM
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Hey CourtneyLynn,

I'm in BC and because of Soters' many health issues we been all around the province and into yours seeing various vets and specialists. We saw an absolutely amazing vet in Edmonton who actually was the one who diagnosed the copper storage disease and a wonderful neurologist in BC for the seizures.
Feel free to PM me if you would any names and/or details on the people we've been to
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post #33 of 44 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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@dobebug -- yes, the drug was Trazadone. I got the Tra-names confused and when I was googling Tramazol was the first that popped up. But Trazadone is the one she mentioned.

His original dose of synthyroid was 0.3mg. His current medication (and I'm reading right off the label) is: Thyro-Tab 0.3mg Tablet. Directions are 1 tablet by mouth every 12 hours, check serum T4 levels in 6-8 weeks. Blood sample is to be collected 4-6 hours after pill is given.

It is a very small dose, less than half what a hypothyroid dog is normally prescribed. The vet isn't convinced he's hypothyroid, so she wanted to start him back on a low dose and see where he is at his follow up appointment. 0.3mg was his previous dose and we didn't want to deviate too much because it made such a huge difference in his overall mood. Sorry for the confusion - I just went back to my original post and noticed I added an extra 0 in there. I'm going to blame it on exhaustion - I haven't really slept well in weeks.
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post #34 of 44 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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On an aside, how soon does one begin to see results from medication? I'm trying to figure out if this is just a random coincidence, or if Atlas' medication is actually helping. He got his first dose of Thyro-Tabs at around 6pm on Friday. He's had 4 pills in total so far and will get another one in a few hours. Since starting on his pills, he doesn't pace as much and he seems more relaxed. His ears have been flopped to the side more often than they've been focused on random little noises and last night, he actually went to bed at the same time I did, rather than pacing in circles and crying for half the night. This morning, there were dogs and kids yelling outside and while he was alert and listening, he sat quietly instead of barking or having a melt down. The big success was yesterday evening... he was laying on the couch with me (on a leash) and my boyfriend's room mate came downstairs. Rather than immediately sitting up and trying to jump over me to see what was going on and stare, or tensing up, he simply re-adjusted his head so he could see what the room mate was doing in the kitchen, but stayed completely relaxed. This is completely new for him. Both the room mate and my boyfriend were quite impressed since he's never been that relaxed - at least not in the year they've known him.

If he wasn't so playful, I'd wonder if he wasn't feeling well... but he seems more willing to fetch toys and play than he has in a little while. When someone knocked on the door today, he still ran to the door and barked, but he also didn't spin around and scream. He barked a few times, but went to lay down when I told him to.

Not sure if this is just a crazy coincidence or if these pills actually begin to work that fast. I don't remember such a change the last time he started medication, but my memory sucks lately. Either way, he's more relaxed and as a result, so am I. It's kind of nice.
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post #35 of 44 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 05:36 PM
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@dobebug -- yes, the drug was Trazadone. I got the Tra-names confused and when I was googling Tramazol was the first that popped up. But Trazadone is the one she mentioned.
I wondered if something like that might have happened...Tramadole is much better generally known than Trazadone.

Quote:
His original dose of synthyroid was 0.3mg. His current medication (and I'm reading right off the label) is: Thyro-Tab 0.3mg Tablet. Directions are 1 tablet by mouth every 12 hours, check serum T4 levels in 6-8 weeks. Blood sample is to be collected 4-6 hours after pill is given.
That's SOP and every vial of any thyroid med I've ever had says almost the same thing. I wonder why the first vet prescribed Synthroid? That's what most people taking thyroid meds get but in 20 years and many dogs on thyroid meds I've never had any dog get Synthroid--currently in the USA about the only thing prescribed would be thyro-tabs. There's an explanation for that which is too long and too stupid to even attempt to explain. But in the past my dogs have been on Soloxine, and several other brands--the active ingredient is the same in all of them.

Quote:
It is a very small dose, less than half what a hypothyroid dog is normally prescribed. The vet isn't convinced he's hypothyroid, so she wanted to start him back on a low dose and see where he is at his follow up appointment. 0.3mg was his previous dose and we didn't want to deviate too much because it made such a huge difference in his overall mood. Sorry for the confusion - I just went back to my original post and noticed I added an extra 0 in there. I'm going to blame it on exhaustion - I haven't really slept well in weeks.
0.3 mg isn't all that small a dose. One of my first dogs on thyoid meds was on @ 0.3 BID--it never changed in the many years he was on that dose.

I wasn't convinced that he was actually hypothyroid either based on the first test. It was in the lower part of the normal range but not all that low--and even though Dobes have tendency to be symptomtic while still within normal limits if they are low normal, his didn't look all that low to me. But I'm not a vet. The thing that I see that I think is odd in the second set of values is that change in the TSH.
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post #36 of 44 (permalink) Old 10-30-2016, 06:00 PM
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On an aside, how soon does one begin to see results from medication? I'm trying to figure out if this is just a random coincidence, or if Atlas' medication is actually helping. He got his first dose of Thyro-Tabs at around 6pm on Friday. He's had 4 pills in total so far and will get another one in a few hours. Since starting on his pills, he doesn't pace as much and he seems more relaxed. His ears have been flopped to the side more often than they've been focused on random little noises and last night, he actually went to bed at the same time I did, rather than pacing in circles and crying for half the night. This morning, there were dogs and kids yelling outside and while he was alert and listening, he sat quietly instead of barking or having a melt down. The big success was yesterday evening... he was laying on the couch with me (on a leash) and my boyfriend's room mate came downstairs. Rather than immediately sitting up and trying to jump over me to see what was going on and stare, or tensing up, he simply re-adjusted his head so he could see what the room mate was doing in the kitchen, but stayed completely relaxed. This is completely new for him. Both the room mate and my boyfriend were quite impressed since he's never been that relaxed - at least not in the year they've known him.

If he wasn't so playful, I'd wonder if he wasn't feeling well... but he seems more willing to fetch toys and play than he has in a little while. When someone knocked on the door today, he still ran to the door and barked, but he also didn't spin around and scream. He barked a few times, but went to lay down when I told him to.

Not sure if this is just a crazy coincidence or if these pills actually begin to work that fast. I don't remember such a change the last time he started medication, but my memory sucks lately. Either way, he's more relaxed and as a result, so am I. It's kind of nice.
I don't know-4 pills ( days on meds?) is really much faster than I've seen results in any of my dogs. But I wasn't ever dealing with anxieties and reactiveness like your boy has.

The closest (and the fastest turn around)was in any of my dogs who was running agility--I was watching him run (a friend runs my agility dogs for me) and thought "What the hell is going on with my dog--he's gone blond in his old age?" He was around 8. He'd been on thyroid meds for 18 months or so and had been tested a month after he was started on meds and then every six months and his levels had been staying at levels that would indicate he was on an appropriate dosage.

I took him to work with me the following day and ran a thyroid test--when it came back the following day his T4 and free T4 were both totally out of normal range. We upped his dosage from 0.6mg to 0.8mg BID and it took about two and a half weeks before we could see a noticeable change. And when retested at 4 weeks his levels were back up to "normal". And the following weekend (3 weeks after upping the dose) he was back to running agility as if his brain was working again.
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post #37 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-16-2016, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update on this:

For whatever reason, Atlas appeared to improve on thyroid medicine, despite the fact his primary vet and a couple other vets felt his blood work did not indicate thyroid problems. I called and emailed a couple board certified veterinary behaviorists and have not had much luck reaching them. Given the fact that the nearest is a 12 hour drive from me, simply hopping in my car for an appointment is a tad bit difficult. But I have hope they'll get back to me eventually.

That being said, we have opted for a different treatment plan for Atlas. Rather than continuing thyroid medication (since there was no medical proof he needed it, it just worked for him for whatever reason), his primary vet prescribed 20mg twice daily of Prozac for my anxiety ridden dog. She discussed his case with a few other local vets and a couple more across Canada and given his normal bloodwork, but his OCD/Anxiety ridden tendencies, she feels we'd have more luck treating the anxiety first while working on the behavior side.

Atlas has been on Prozac for about 2 weeks now. He is still alert, but not hyper alert to everything. He no longer paces and he sleeps through the night now rather than waking himself up by barking. He still isn't happy when people come to the door, but he no longer spins in circles and screams. He barks, but he is much, much easier to redirect and calm down. He no longer takes hours to calm down if someone knocks on the door, which is a HUGE positive. Before his medication, he was basically a write off the rest of the day if someone stopped by unexpectedly, and would have to sit in a quiet room for hours because the smallest noise would incite spinning and screaming. Now, I simply leash him, redirect him from the door and ask him to sit or lay down. Over the course of 10-15 minutes, I can see his ears go from actively pointed at the visitor to tucked back and relaxed because he's no longer concerned about them. That being said, he's still muzzled and leashed whenever he's not kenneled, but he can sit calmly in a room with people and not lose his mind if they move suddenly. He isn't so obsessive about things either - before prozac, he would literally stand and drink water when he was feeling anxious. Some dogs lick, some dogs chew... mine would just drink water. He would drink and drink and drink until he threw up water and then he'd drink some more. Now, I've noticed he still drinks water, but he doesn't seem to do it obsessively. According to his vet, a dog his size should drink about 2.5 liters a day, give or take his activity level and the temperature. Over the course of 1 week, his intake averaged just over 2.5L.

The vet said I wouldn't notice "real" changes until we gave the drug 4-6 weeks to really settle in his system, but I'm feeling quite positive at how well it's working so far. My dog isn't dopey or loopy, it's just like the drug took the obsessive, hyper sensitive side of him away. He has more attention for things now and actively looks to me for direction when someone comes to the door, rather than simply shutting down and freaking out. After 6 weeks, we may need to adjust the dosage, but that will be a matter of trial and error.
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post #38 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Another positive update: Atlas met my new tenant (muzzled, of course), and we had no issues. When meeting new people previously, he would waver between docile, agitated and timid. This time, he went right up to the tenant, sat down and asked to be petted. No shyness at all. The only "iffy" moment was when the tenant stood up to move around the kitchen. In the past, this is where Atlas would get very nervous and begin screaming. This time, his ears only focused on the tenant and he stood up, but very quickly sat back down when I told him to. His ears relaxed and that was it. So now, we're working up to the point where he can be loose in the house while still wearing his muzzle.

At my boyfriend's house this weekend, someone came to the door and both knocked AND rang the bell. Normally, this would send Atlas into an absolute frenzy. The doorbell rang, his ears went up and he calmly went to the door. No barking, no spinning. I put his leash on, led him into the living room away from the door and my boyfriend opened it. Atlas could see the visitor, his ears were focused, but he was relaxed otherwise. No barking, no crying or lunging... nothing. He also has a lot less anxiety when we put him in his kennel and leave the house - he's fine to be kenneled at my house, but he gets anxious at my boyfriend's. Since going on his medication, he doesn't make a peep in his kennel, even if he's in there and he can hear us downstairs.

We still have work to do, but after these two instances... I have a lot of hope that it's possible for Atlas to return to the dog he was before all these issues started. As a young dog, he was everyone's friend. As long as you petted him when you came in the house, he was your best friend. My goal is to be able to let him socialize with people in both houses with a muzzle by Christmas. So far, that's looking very, very possible.
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post #39 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 12:54 PM
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Great to hear your pup is improving--his behavior sounds difficult to live with, but I bet he’s been feeling miserable inside too.

One of the advantages to the anxiety meds is that you can take the edge off, so to speak, enough that you can reach their mind in a relatively calm place to start work on the socialization and fear issues. A dog may need his meds all his life, but with some less affected dogs you may be able to work them through their fears enough that they can be taken off of the meds. The med gives you a window of time to work within to start helping them get their behavior back to a more manageable level.

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post #40 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 11:10 AM
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So glad to hear about the improvements!

Melbrod hit it exactly...medication allows their brain to actually enter a state to be able to learn and retain new behavior. For some dogs, it's something they will need forever. Like people, they have a chemical imbalance that needs to be adjusted through medication. For others, it's temporary, and eventually they can be weaned off the drugs when they have learned and retained those new behaviors and essentially "rewired" new pathways in the brain. It's really okay, either way. We want our dogs to be successful and well adjusted - we don't want them to live with that anxiety!

I'm thrilled to hear you are seeing such progress!


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post #41 of 44 (permalink) Old 12-07-2016, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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4 week update: Atlas has been on his medication for 4 weeks now and while it's working, I've asked the vet to slightly increase it. At first, his dosage was working quite well, but as his body adjusted to it, his anxiety came back in a lot of situations. It wasn't nearly to the level it was before medication, but like the vet said at the beginning, the goal is to find his exact perfect dose instead of overdosing him at the beginning. She started him on one of the lower doses for his weight, which would allow us to gradually increase as needed until we found that "sweet spot". On the dose we're at now, his pacing has diminished completely and he's no longer as needy and touchy-feely as he was. The doorbell still alerts him, but not to the point where he's spinning and screaming and barking. So that's a plus.

We're taking his re-socialization slowly as well. He'll likely never earn the privilege of being unmuzzled, but we're hopeful that he'll be allowed to interact with people calmly with his muzzle eventually. After he met my tenant successfully once, he had a bit of a step back and forgot who he was last week. Tenant walked away, Atlas barked once and tried to lunge. He was on a leash and muzzled so it wasn't a huge deal, but it was still a small reminder that it's going to take some work to train that out of him.

On the plus side, someone rang the doorbell at my boyfriend's house when Atlas was loose in the house. Atlas went to the door, barked a few times and then was very agreeable in being re-routed to another room so the visitor could come in safely. Before his medication, his anxiety would have skyrocketed and it would have taken two people to shove him back from the door before he went through it.

But still, positive updates all around.
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post #42 of 44 (permalink) Old 12-07-2016, 12:20 PM
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Sure sounds like progress to me!

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post #43 of 44 (permalink) Old 12-07-2016, 01:21 PM
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Sounds really positive! Med levels somtimes need tweaking even later, as they can build tolerance. Really happy you're seeing improvements!
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post #44 of 44 (permalink) Old 12-21-2016, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Update: Atlas's new dosage seems to be working very well, now that his body is fairly adjusted to it. Not only is he more relaxed around door knocks and doorbells, his anxious/OCD tendencies have stopped. Before Prozac, he used to drink water whenever he was nervous. He would just stand and drink an entire 5 gallon bucket of water. At first, I thought he was just thirsty, but then I started connecting scary incidents for him to the water bucket. Now that he's more relaxed all around, he doesn't drink as much. He still drinks when he's thirsty, but he doesn't park himself at the bucket and drink the entire thing. He doesn't bolt his food anymore, although his appetite hasn't dissipated at all (a possible side effect of the drug). He's more focused, he no longer paces and when he goes to bed, he stays in bed. His accidents in the house have all, but stopped (he used to pee on the floor when I'd leave his sight, unless he was in a kennel). How, he can be trusted to be alone in the house if I go into the garage or something.

Even when he is anxious, he is more manageable. I joke with people that his brain no longer shuts off, but it's true... before his medication, he would seriously shut down. His eyes would close and he would lunge at the nearest body. Now, he'll look at me first and wait for my cue. He actually sits and waits away from the door now when people enter or leave (still muzzled), and no longer forces past me to rush the door. When my other dog barks, he may or may not join in, but he no longer escalates the issue. Before, he would actually go from 0 to 360 in an instant, and there were a few times where I narrowly avoided a dog fight because his aggression would escalate in seconds. Now, it's debatable if he even barks. When something interests him or catches his attention, he MIGHT point his ears toward it, but his hackles stay down now. A lot of the time, I can simply tell him, "put the ears away" and he calms right down again.

He yawns and sighs a lot more now, which I'm told is a sign of relaxation. Overall, he's much happier. He may not ever be 100% safe to be around everyone without a muzzle, but he IS making progress very rapidly, considering how long we've been dealing with the issue. Every day gets a little better and for me, I no longer live in fear of the doorbell because he is 100% more controllable now. He listens, even when he is feeling anxious or afraid.
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