Tuesday, December 23

what a difference a pill makes

Last month, we finally gave up all hope on Buster and decided to medicate him for his separation anxiety issues. Our dog trainer did not think he needed to be medicated, but she does not have to live with him. So we talked to the vet, who thought we should give the medication a try. We have him on the generic version of Clomicalm. The stuff is supposed to take a couple of weeks to work, but we noticed a difference right away. The vet had us start him off on a half dose for the first two weeks so that any adverse reactions would be lessened. He did not have any reactions so around Thanksgiving, he went on the full dose.

Once on the full dose he was like a different dog. We still have to work on his separation issues (we were waiting for the medication to take full effect), but it has affected his daily life in a positive way as well. While he is still full of energy, he does not act out in the same ways he did before. He is generally calmer and does not bark anywhere near as much (his separation anxiety is such that he will bark even if not left alone--e.g. if someone leaves the house or sometimes just the room). We were afraid it would make him dopey, but instead it has made him almost normal.

At first, I thought there was no way the medication could work that quickly. I figured his new attitude had to do with the fact that he's now a year old and that we have given him more freedoms in the house. But, this theory was put to the test this week and failed miserably. Around 2 weeks ago, I renewed his prescription. After some bumbling on the pharmacy's end and then some on the shipper's end, we ran out of medication and the old Buster was back and up to his old tricks. It's unbelievable, actually. This stuff is supposed to take a while to exit your system, too, so I'm surprised that he reacted so quickly either way. Today, he's back on his meds and a little angel again (comparatively speaking).

Typically this medication is only given for a few months, which is enough time to do behavioral training and get the dog over the hump. But, given Buster's antics, there's a good chance he will be on them permanently. But, I'll tell you what, the pills aren't expensive and they make living with the dog bearable, so I don't have a problem with it either way it turns out.

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