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Old 11-21-2007, 12:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Valium/Diazepam For Anxiety, Does anyone have any experience??

Hi. So I took Chester to my Vet today because he has been licking his feet and anything else he can reach constantly over the last couple of weeks and it has gotten progressively more and more. About two days ago he started licking his groin area and now his penis is red and swollen.

Some basic background information is:
He has always been a bit, well "high strung" as I like to put it. He has major Separation Anxiety issues, and a fear of being left alone. We have always enabled these issues due to the fact that as a puppy he would have "Episodes" or seizures. Certain noises and light combinations would trigger them. He doesn't fall down and shake, but he has these periods of time where he is unresponsive to us and howls a strange howl, and runs and pants and looses control of his body functions. When he "snaps out of them" it is evident that he doesn't remember them as he goes back to whatever he was doing before. We have always been afraid to let him get too upset as this can trigger these episodes. They are horrible and hard to stop. As he has gotten older, these episodes happen less often. The last one was this summer and it had been almost a year since the prior one. I'm happy about that.

In the last few weeks, he has gotten worse. I literally can't walk into another room without him jumping up to run after me. He has been barking at every little noise and has been doing this strange snarling thing to me whenever I do something to him that he might not like. (For example touch his foot or his bone) He doesn't snap or try to bite, he just snarls.

My Vet says that it's the way that he's wired. Basically he has some type of neurosis and that's just the way it is. He gave me a prescription for Valium/Diazepam to try at night and for the next few days during the day to try and help him to relax so that he can possibly get over whatever triggered this a few weeks ago. Most of the other anti-anxiety drugs lower the thresholds for seizures. I trust him, he has never steered me wrong, but I would like to hear if anyone has had any experience with the medication or with some of these behaviors.

I just am so frustrated. I feel so bad for him. He's such a good boy and now he has to be on meds for anxiety. I don't know what to do. Thanks for your help!
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Old 11-21-2007, 03:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Gosh I'm so sorry Chester is having anxiety and strange behavior.

Our Montana cannot take common mood altering meds for her SA either because of seizures (she has a low seizure threshold too). It's good your vet is really trying to help you figure this out. Did your vet suggest any behavior modifications, diet modifications or training? We chose against Valium because Montana is not a safety threat to us as her behavior is just a nuisance and we have figured out a system to keep her from getting anxiety in the first place. Our dog is old and many training mistakes have been made over the years, mainly lack of training when she was young and a young adult. I feel training and behavior modification would have served her greatly when she was younger as her anxiety now is bit hard to handle. She can be a danger to herself when she is in a major fit of anxiety, not really a danger to anyone or any other animal, meaning she does not growl or snap at anyone unless she anticipates pain or pain is being inflicted.

I don't have any experience with neurological conditions, but my aunt had a Golden Retriever who went "nuts" at around 4 yrs old, mind you I was 18 at the time and cannot recall all that happened. What I do recall is the vet she went to diagnosed him with Schizophrenia and he took Valium everyday, all day for the rest of his life which was not too long about 3yrs more. My aunt swore he was addicted to the Valium because he would beg for his pills when it was time. Being a funny woman she saw the humor in her dog begging for a pill but she was also sad. Here her beloved dog was addicted to the drug that literally allowed them to keep him alive. Without the drug she would have put the poor guy down. He was snapping at the kids, neighbors, her and having "crazy" episodes that were unsafe for him and everyone around him.

HTH and I hope others can share their stories too.
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Old 11-21-2007, 05:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks dogs4life.

He briefly talked about it today. He always has told me that training would help him. He pushes the Caesar's Way style, which honestly, I wasn't too fond of. I am in the same boat as you- I know that many training mistakes have been made. But I don't know how to fix them now (he's now 5). I don't want to shock him, but I want him to be happy for his many, many years to come. I am not worried about him hurting anyone other than himself. I'm grateful that he isn't a threat to anyone.

As far as neurological conditions, I don't know what's going on. I don't think he's going "nuts".... Thank God. I have heard of similar situations to your Aunt's. My Vet mentioned that Valium could be addictive, but he didn't have intentions on keeping him on it for long. Just long enough to get over this hurdle.

I can't find much on the topic online. I guess I will try one at bedtime and see how it goes.
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Chester - 5 yrs old is not that old...I highly recommend looking into your dog's behavior and other possible solutions. The one thing I regret the most with Montana was not crate training her. She was never crate trained and when I came into her life, I was not insistent enough to get my way. I wanted her crate trained but I was not in agreement with everyone in the house on this issue, so I caved. It was only 1 year later that I totally regretted backing down and not training her. Her S.A. is worse every year.

So you might be in for the long haul if Chester is only 5. If you don't do something now, can you handle Chester getting more anxious as the years go on or keeping him on drugs for the rest of his life to keep him calm? Can you deal with his S.A. for 7-10 years more? Personally I'd pull my hair out. I find S.A. very frustrating and stressful on my relationships with others in the house. Sometimes when Jeff away on business, I cannot handle her S.A. and have to get her boarded so I can get some sleep...it's that bad.

Nutritionally, you can look into Omega-3 suppliments.

For Training, you can look into crate training and positive training methods. Some here on the forum love Patricia McConnell's and Karen Pryor's training methods.

For Anxiety busting tips, I highly recommend lots of exercise and patience. Some like the D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) Infuser or spray, we decided not to do it because our dog will not sit in one place so we cannot guarantee she will get the dose she needs and it's too expensive to put all over the house. Ideally we would put the DAP in a crate for her.

ETA

Here are more alternatives to Milan's methods of training. There is Jean Donaldson, Ian Dunbar, Pam Dennison, Pat Miller, Brian Kilcommons & Monks of New Skete. You might want to take some time to look through various books and determine what speaks to you and try out some methods. I think most people get inspiration from various sources and figure out what works for them and their dog. I you find something that inspires you.

To start you might want to search the forum for opinions on all of these authors and their books. HTH

Last edited by dogs4life; 11-24-2007 at 09:20 AM. Reason: More authors
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Old 11-24-2007, 01:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Have you considered herbal remedies before going to prescriptions? I definitely agree that he is probably for the most part hard-wired this way. Sophie is very shy with strangers and a somewhat insecure dog herself, and intensive training certainly has helped a lot but she will still always be shy and somewhat insecure-it's just the way she is.
I make homemade tinctures, which are cheap and easy to do and very, very effective. Basically all you have to do is buy the herbs (preferably fresh, but often can only get them dried, which is good, too. You can get them at most local health food stores or organic markets). You put them in a dark jar with 100 proof vodka (enough to cover all the herbs, and it helps to warm up the vodka in the microwave for 10-20 seconds) and seal it tight and put it in a dark cupboard that does not get sunlight and let it steep for about a month. Then you strain out the liquid with a cheesecloth in a dark dropper bottle and start with 1-2 drops twice a day and work your way up to 6-8 drops 3 or 4 times a day if possible. You can put the drops on their food or a treat or on a spoon with a bit of peanut butter.
I recommend skullcap, hops, milky oat, valerian root (very little, though, valerian is potent) passionflower and California Poppy. You only need about two tablespoons of each herb (one small tbsp of the valerian) and throw them all in the jar, shake it up to mix the herbs together well, cover it with warm 100 proof vodka and stick it in a cupboard! I put notes on the cupboard with the date I put them in so I remember when they are ready. The longer you let it steep, the more potent. These really do work, less side effects than prescriptions, MUCH less expensive, and pretty easy to do, the hardest part is waiting the month for the tincture to absorb. I always recommend asking your vet first, but unfortunately many vets are not trained in herbal remedies (check around-their might be a specialist vet in your area). I think part of the reason is it would take away part of their very lucrative drug sales. I know the anxiety meds really do work, but sometimes they make them dopey and it's sad to watch them like that. I also recommend giving him a vitamin B complex pill once a day, dogs usually take them well if they are covered by peanut butter.
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Old 11-25-2007, 04:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for all of the advice. I will look around at some training books/ methods. And I will look into the herbal tinctures. I actually have a store close to me where I buy all of his food & vitamins that has a lot of Herbal Remedies. I will ask them.

I have always shyed away from it because I hate to give him a lot of stuff. He also has a sensitive stomach and everything makes him throw up. But it's got to be better for him than Valium.

I gave him one Valium the other night to try it. He slept a little bit better, but not to where I want to give it to him every night. I think benadryl knocks him out better. I've given him that a couple of times when he's been sick.

In the meantime I have been giving some very basic things a try. Distracting him when he starts licking. Giving him a firm but not loud or angry "NO" when he starts with the barking for no reason. I know something is bothering him, something is "on his mind" and I don't know what it is. I feel horrible. This is definitely one of those times when I wish he could talk.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Interesting Benadryl works better than Valium...wonder why? Have you told your vet? Benadryl never worked for us...wished it did. Were you giving him the dog dose or the people dose? The dog dose I believe is different...it's been a while so I'm a little rusty. I used to look up the dose in the Merck Vet Manual.

Is your dog having anxiety more at night than the day or is his anxiety the same throughout the day? Is your dog's anxiety associated with events or people? My dog's anxiety is more night (dark) related due to her deafness and has classic separation anxiety associated with her main owner, Jeff and has mild SA with me. She is starting to exhibit more anxiety when separated from my daughter (3yrs) when Jeff is not home. Montana will go crazy if Samantha is taking a nap and I will not let her in the room with her.

Have you ever tried a "penny can", it's a soda can or other metal can with pennies or coins in it. You shake it when your dog is doing something you prefer them not doing, it's an alternative to the more popular vinegar spray or verbal commands.

Here's a simplified explaination:

When your dog does something your don't like, say “stop” and interrupt his behavior with a “shaker can." (A “shaker can” can be made by filling an empty soda can with eight to ten pennies then taping the top shut.) When your dog has stopped, stop shaking the can immediately and give a “good” voice praise and treat. This might work better and faster than "No". Just a thought.

Last edited by dogs4life; 11-26-2007 at 10:44 PM. Reason: add
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