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When Lilly became so dangerously ill nearly a year ago, we abandoned her anxiety meds because of their dampening effect on her now troubled brain. And, we essentially stopped working on dog training issues. These days, I ask her for very little, and the results are these.
When a vaccine essentially ruins your dog’s brain, you can expect some dog behavior changes too, assuming the dog survives the initial brain inflammation.
Deep inside Lilly remains Lilly — despite the brain and nervous system trauma caused by her adverse reaction to a rabies vaccine earlier this year. Her emergency treatment and ongoing treatment for meningoencephalomyelitis / meningoencephalitis, however, required she go off (cold turkey) the meds we gave her for years to treat her fears / anxieties. So, how has that turned out?
At our last veterinary neurology appointment, Lilly got the OK to do agility and other more strenuous tasks so that her brain can start figuring out how to rewire certain movements. I convinced myself that Lilly jumped differently and weaved weirdly, but after looking at old agility videos, it seems more like Lilly exaggerates her movements following her “brain injury.” Videos, ahoy!
When Lilly’s brain and spinal cord went kerplewy with inflammation, it greatly affected her ability to move her once-agile body. Her cognitive responses to things like verbal dog training cues are also impaired (for now), but we’ve made a few adaptations around the house to help her be where she wants to be and do what she wants to do … on her own.
For the last 24 hours, Lilly has dramatic tummy troubles every 2-3 hours like clockwork. The diarrhea came on quickly Tuesday (2/7) afternoon and got worse overnight, despite the piles of rice I fed her to bulk things up. Our veterinary specialty hospital discharge instructions warned us this might happen as a side-effect from (primarily) the steroids Lilly is taking, but also as a consequence of the immune-mediator drug Lilly needs.
It is NOT a sign of her primary disease, but instead … just an icky outcome from the now 7 medications Lilly now takes as part of her recovery from meningoencephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and lining of the brain and spinal cord) after having an adverse rabies vaccine reaction.
Rather than write a single comprehensive dog product review of the ThunderShirt, I’m going to write a series of reports over time so that, together, we can work through the ups and downs for our fearful canine heroine.
After last Friday’s post, where I first raised the question of ThunderShirt expectations and results, a helpful discussion got underway both in the blog comments section and on our Champion of My Heart Facebook Fan Page. Huge thanks to everyone who weighed in with how the ThunderShirt did (or did not) help their dog.
I alluded to the fact that our real-world test of the ThunderShirt wasn’t going as well as I had hoped. Here are some additional, early, details.
The whole New Year thing bugs me. I’m not big on resolutions because the truth is that every day could be considered an important threshold — not just December 31. So, this little reflection takes root in one dramatic realization that came with the onset of truly cold temperatures.
Here’s how it went down.
I could use some help establishing expectations about Lilly’s ongoing struggle with anxiety. Living with a fearful dog can be a day-to-day, minute-by-minute thing, and I’m used to that. However, I’m trying to get a grip on what I can and cannot expect going forward as well as what shifts in dog behavior matter at this point.
Come May, Lilly will be 8 years old. That means we’re 7 1/2 years into her fearful dog reality as a member of our family and a good 5 years since we saw a major shift in her fearful behavior as she reached social maturity (around age 2 – 2 1/2).
In summer 2008, 8ur dog behavior modification work (combined with dog anxiety medications) got underway in earnest (after a couple of years of trying herbal and other scent-based remedies). This includes the Dog Relaxation Protocol MP3 files for which we are now famous for recording and providing FREE downloads.