Pro(zac) and Cons.

Jake suffered grief after Melvin died.  In addition to opting for solitary existence, he would sit at the door that Melvin was taken out of, and howl-cry.  I did everything I could to help him, but like me, he had to learn to carry his loss.  Our vet recommended Prozac.  I was willing to try anything to help him, and make the crying stop.

We started the Prozac and after a few weeks he was doing better.  I’m not sure if it was all the Prozac or not but it didn’t matter, my boy was headed in the right direction.  He stayed on it and once we started seeing the behaviorist (after he tried to dismember every dog we met), she suggested that Prozac might help him with future meetings (dosage adjustments might be needed).  The theory – that it would lower his desire to kill anxiety when confronted with a dog that was not Melvin. (Melvin was his natural Prozac).

Well in terms of how he did with other dogs, I think we all know how well that went. Craptastic.

So I decided that Jake has learned to carry his grief and that he no longer needs Prozac.  I weaned him off for a few reasons (aside from the grief fading). One, I don’t like to throw medications at something when it’s just not needed.  If he comes off of it and starts to spaz out in a new direction, we can discuss options (medication and training) but right now, my gut says he will be ok.  Two, there are some theories that dogs on Prozac don’t always do better with behavioral issues (like meeting new dogs) because it suppresses their natural ability to react and respond.  (I’m not a medical professional or a behaviorists, that is my dumb’d down version of what I’ve learned).  So in Jake’s case, the Prozac MIGHT have kept him from being able to react differently when presented with other dogs because it made him ‘unaware’ of other natural responses he could have, like calming the bleep down.

Since coming off the Prozac, his energy level has doubled as has his perceived idea of how strong he is.  (Not sure either of these will help with adding a dog to the family!). He now thinks he can leap onto the couch.  Which he cannot.  I may need Prozac to deal with a Jakie that ‘leaps’ head first into objects he thinks he can hurdle (the momma helps him fly whenever she is close by!).  But if my little wonky chicken thinks he can fly now, coming off Prozac was the right thing to do.

This is a photo hanging in my closet. I think Jake has adopted this sentiment.

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13 thoughts on “Pro(zac) and Cons.

  1. I need to make Jake a cape so it helps him with his flying! So glad he is more spunky it suits him so much better! Hope you have a great week Tracey and Jake! God bless!

  2. Oh wow. I can just see Jake leaping ottomans (ottomen?) in a single bound!

    One of our vets actually prescribed Prozac for Ray’s anxiety and we gave it a try for almost two weeks but after several instances of finding him huddled in the back of the bathroom trembling, we took him off of it. I think it was one of those weird side effects that really just didn’t work out for him.

    • Poor Ray!!! That is the opposite of the desired effect! That made me think of when we tried a drug to tighten Jake’s bladder control and all it did was make him hump Melvin!

  3. Go SuperJake! The cape is a great idea!

    Our highly anxious/reactive border collie Habi was on Prozac for six years (when she was a three year old, and then again years five through nine). We very reluctantly started it in the first place, per our behavioral vet. Over the next couple of months she actually began to think rather than just react. Things went well that first year, so we weaned her off the Prozac after twelve months (against our behavioral vet’s advice). She had made considerable progress, and I was sure that my new training/behavioral modification skills could keep the momentum up. Um, no. We re-evaluated at the end of her fourth year, accepted that we hadn’t made really any progress at all, and she still had serious anxiety issues, so we put her back on Prozac and she started improving again. By the time she was ten, she had been doing quite well (= people who didn’t know her would never suspect that she had had HUGE issues) for a couple of years. We re-evaluated (again) and very gradually weaned her off. This time she was able to maintain and continue to progress, and is doing great at the age of eleven. As always, it all depends – as we all know – on the dog and the situation.

    It would be nice if a magic pill would cure all Jake’s issues, but oh well. In the meantime you give him the best medicine of all – LOVE!

    .

    • I love you guys!!! I love that you try and rethink and revaluate and try again. That is how we build a beautiful life! Eleven years old is one of my favorite of the years old! They turn so soulful in the double digits. She’s clearly in good, loving hands!

      I am open to anything with Jake. Our goal is to see he can handle a dog that is not Melvin in the house and on Prozac he could not. We shall see. It’s only best for me if its also good for him!

      • And that’s exactly what I love about you guys – you try, and evaluate, and alter course if what you tried didn’t work. And you share your hard-won experience with us to boot!

        After a wonderful two-mile Greenbelt walk with Habi this afternoon, in which we met tons of her former triggers and she handled all of them with aplomb (plus a little distance and a lot of treats), I find myself loving the elevenses a lot myself 🙂

        We continue to root for you and Jake as your journey continues!

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