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Fluvoxamine for my 4.5 year od Wheaton Terrier

January 3rd, 2011, 08:08 AM
My 4.5 year old neutered male Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier has been perscribed Fluvoxamine, starting at 25 mg in the morning and 25 mg at night (one pill), due to what has been described as neurotic tendencies. He will start today, January 3, 2011. After the first month I will bring him back to our vet and describe any changes, issues etc. After this first month our vet states that perhaps it will be necessary to increase his dosage to 1 1/2 pills divided equally for another month. And perhaps again if necessary. She did mention that after a longer period of time, we would have to check his kidney and liver levels and perhaps perform an electrocardiogram to ensure all remains well with him physically.

Other than his apparent defensive aggression (stalking other dogs as we approach during walks, lunging while barking and growling), his latest behaviours, which have been described by our trainer and our vet as “fearing for his life”. The instance I refer to here in when I took Bailey for obedience school to try and rectify his defensive aggression. In the first half hour of the first class, Bailey was doing extremely well, listening perfectly, following through on all commands etc. He often by the way evens walks around the house with his tail between hios legs and if anyone including myself bends down to pet him he instantly drops and averts his head away. He has never been abused or treated in any way other than with love, patience and positive reinforcement.

However, while our trainer was explaining what was to happen in the second half of the class, I looked down at Bailey. He was in a seated position, nose to the floor and below his nose was a puddle of drool. I bent down and touched him and he was literally vibrating with what I would call fear or massive anxiety. From this point onwards, his was incapable of following the simplest of commands and had completely shut down. I tried everything to ignore this behaviour and continued to try and snap him out of it by doing simple recalls which were to no avail.

In the second class one week later, he shut down the moment we walked in the room and stayed that way for the entire course. I went to see out vet the next day and explained the situation along with the thoughts of the trainer that he would perhaps need a behaviourist. My vet did agree and did some simple tests such as calling Bailey, and, where he did come immediately, at the last moment he would avert his eyes and recoil to a corner and look away.

Now, Bailey did have issues as a puppy (6 months) while at a shelter (I will never do that again) where he contracted sarcoptic mange. He was on Prednisone for approximately 4 months as well as Cephalexin (pardon my spelling, I think).

My 2 questions are (and I thank you ever so much for taking the time to read this):
Is it possible that the Prednisone and/or Cephalexin (over such a long period of time) has altered his chemistry? He was never like this before this infernal kennel.
Do the symptoms I have described justify the use of Fluvoxamine in the regime our vet has perscribed?
Is it your opinion that with these symptoms, should Fluvoxamine provide the relief he desperately needs to be “normal” and not always so fearful? (He is also desperately afraid of load noses as well by the way)
Will long term usage of Fluvoxamine be detrimental to his over all and long term life?
Where I do have all the confidence in the world for our regular vet, I would very much like to have your opinions as well from any expierences any of you may have had with this drug and your pet.
Thank you again ever so much for your time.

Mike Trainor
Montreal, Quebec, Canada,

January 3rd, 2011, 10:58 AM
Drugs such as Fluvoxamine are usually only used short term in conjunction with behavior modification through desensitizing/reconditioning exercises. It takes about 4-6 weeks for the drug to take effect and, sometimes, the condition gets a little worse before it gets better. I'm a little surprised your vet didn't start with a smaller dose until side-effects have been noted (please read up on the side-effects ).

We used anti-anxiety meds with one of our dogs. The dose started off low and increased after the first month to a maximum of 25mg 2x per day (he was 60lbs). We began to apply behavior modification techniques and after 2 months, he was slowly weaned off the medication. Unless you notice severe side-effects, please don't stop this medication abruptly. And remember, the medication is not a cure, it's just a tool to help while you put other strategies into place.

I wouldn't be taking him to a class environment at this point and avoid 'flooding' at all costs. Baby-steps is the key to a slow painless recovery. Do you have a certified, experienced behaviorist to help you yet? There are only two veterinary behaviorists that I'm aware of in the Montreal area.

January 4th, 2011, 11:39 AM
Our vet is at the Pointe Claire Animal Hospital and she is communicating and working on our behalf with a behaviourist at the hospital in Ste. Hyacinthe. I understand your comments and am trying to reduce Bailey's nervousness and put him in a position where he can listen and learn. At the moment this is impossible as he is completely out of control when another dogs comes anywhere near us and as I described before goes into a high defensive agression mode.With the fluvoxamine, I am hoping to level him out so we can try the re-training again with Bailey being receptive. I know of one Dr. who last year keft Pierrefonds and went to Beaconsfild,, but who is the second other Dr. you refer to? Thanks for your feedback/

January 5th, 2011, 03:42 PM
Your vet is probably already in touch with the other veterinary behaviorist at St. Hyacinthe...Dr. Diane Frank. Dr. Enid Stiles is just off hwy 20 in Beaconsfield. I've had the opportunity to meet with both (although Dr. Stiles is who followed our Lucky). We also engaged the help of two trainers who are experienced with anxiety/reactivity (that complemented the same approach recommended by Dr. Stiles) to aid in the practical aspect of the behavior modification (in addition to reading several very good related books). It takes a lot of work and even more patience but it's so worth it. Please keep us updated on your guy's progress :fingerscr.

January 6th, 2011, 09:33 AM
Hi there again,

You are correct, Dr. Frank is the Dr. my vet is communicating with. From what I see, Bailey is on a very small dosage which is .5 mg per pound (Bailey weighs 45 lbs) therefore 25 mg in the morning and 25mg in the evening.
At the moment after 4 days on meds he seem quite sedated, however, I am told after 3-4 weeks his meds and his body will probably balance out and he may become more energetic. At the moment, his reacrion to oncoming dogs is extrodinarily calm, almost too calm. I can't wait until the first month is over and have the chance to discuss my observations with the vet. At this point, I am hoping I can really get down to the hard work of working with a well educated trainer that you seemed to have had the expierence with, to really address the problems and rehabilitate Bailey and move on after some time by eliminated the meds altogether. I really hope I am not being to optimistic. Thanks for caring and taking the time to respond.