Fearful Dogs and Medical Warning Signs
Any time an otherwise “normal” dog shows a sudden increase in fear, everyone recommends a thorough physical exam to rule out medical causes for the change in behavior. BUT, when you have a dog already diagnosed with a real case of clinical fear, it’s easy to overlook possible bodily causes for any spikes in fear behaviors.
Especially in Lilly’s case where a summertime increase in fears is “normal” for her.
I say all that by way of introduction to the fact that I missed all the signs in recent weeks that Lilly was “sick” with tapeworms.
When Lilly suffered a full-on flipout while hiking with the brew babes, I should have know.
When Lilly began hiding in the pastures and in the house — from her crate to a dark, quiet spot behind the master bathroom toilet, I should have known.
When Lilly didn’t seem to want to play much and dragged on recent hikes, I should have known.
When she began losing hair by the fistful and had a big shift in her pottying habits, I should have known.
Distractions, Dismay, Disappointment
When I finally did realize the reason for Lilly’s sudden and acute increase in fears, I felt terrible for not recognizing the signs … until the end of a full week of 14-hour days.
Everything seems to be fine. The tapeworm medicine seems to be working. Both dogs will get a second (and we hope final) dose July 30.
Once Lily recovers from this latest assault on her immune system, we’ll schedule her wellness exam, routine blood work and staggered vaccines. Let’s hope when they finally get the chance to check her overall health, that the report says our canine heroine is good, strong, and in no greater danger.
I share this sad tale as a caution to all of you with fearful dogs. Yes, they do operate in a constant state of worry. And, yes, there is a good chance any flare-ups are purely behavioral in nature. BUT, keep an eye out for additional changes that may mean something medical might be up.
Help me feel better … have you ever missed signs of trouble with your pet’s health?
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If we win, we’ll give the $1,000 donation that’s part of the prize package to our terrific friends at Humane Society of Boulder Valley, who were kind enough to bring Lilly into our lives in October 2004.