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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sara had her vet appointment today. After going over her with a fine toothed comb, asking me a gazillion questions and seeing her anxious behavior in the vet office (also a new and different behavior for her), the vet thinks that it is anxiety first and the aggression towards Scout being caused BECAUSE of her anxiety....not vice versa.

The vet seems very sure that when you look at all of her whacky recent behaviors combined that it is all anxiety and that the anxiety is always triggered by something environmental that is affecting her.

So....the vet has prescribed clomicalm. She is to take it once a day for the next two weeks and I am to watch and see if her behaviors change.

I asked about thyroid AGAIN and a blood test and he said we should give this a try first and if in 2 weeks, there is no change...then we'll do the blood test. I also learned that Dr. Dodds is kind of controversial (I'm not trying to start a debate...I have no opinion really or any info other than what I've read here and what my vet told me today). One thing that did comfort me is that he is aware that a mildly low thyroid test in a golden is very low for a golden and should be treated.

The vet thinks since Sara is exhibiting not one other symptom of a thyroid condition and is a very healthy golden and has been her whole life that maybe some anxiety has been forming for a while or something happened when I wasn't around to trigger these new behaviors. Nearly 99% of her new behaviors happen when I am not home. The only one that happened while I was home was the attack on Scout...so perhaps it is separation anxiety or just general anxiety or a new phobia of bad weather/loud sounds.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I am happy to try this and know the vet knows more than I do and if this works, FANTASTIC! On the other hand, this is my 2nd trip there wanting to have her blood tested and the 2nd time I've been told we will try that later.

Thank you for all of your support and continued advice. I'm crossing my fingers that this works.
 

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In the Moment
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Well just remember that the bottom line is that the vet works for YOU and you are your pups advocate. If you feel strongly that the complete thyroid panel should be done ( and it should...... not just the in house test), then he should oblige you. Personally, if I found repeatedly that they were not listening to what I was saying, I'd be looking for a new vet.
 

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New Mommy
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"Dr. Dodds is kind of controversial" Sorry but I would be looking for a new vet. I have almost lost friends over this whole thyroid issue. But I would rather lose a friend and save a dog. Find someone to do this test for you, please !!
 

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Your vet didn't offer any advice on behavior modification? when my vet referred us to a specialist (who prescribed clomicalm to our first golden) that is what she had us do. This is going back 7, 8 years ago or so, but at that time, she told us that clomicalm by itself was not as effective in treating anxiety as the drug plus behavior mod. Maybe things have changed since then--I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, all.

Yes, if this does not work...then I will be demanding the thyroid panel test. The vet did say that would certainly be the next thing...if this doesn't seem to work. And yes, I am considering exploring a new vet. This is my first frustrating experience with my vet...and I've been going there for 8 years. But, this is also the first 'unknown' issue I've presented to them, too. All other vet visits with all other pets have been quite routine.

The vet did say that since Sara is presenting a variety of things, it is a situation where we rule things out until we settle on something. So I guess this is Step Two...now that we've ruled out that it was not just situational stress at my parents over the holidays.

The vet didn't use the words 'behavior modification' but we talked a lot about how to help her with her anxiety. Confining her vs. not confining her and how to work towards using the crate again but not in a way that is a total freak-out and slowly increasing time in it with positive rewards, not babying her while afraid, continuing to work on the skills I've already started re-inforcing...the trading of toys with Scout, the extended sit stay, etc. Continuting (in a baby step kind of way) to expose her to safe yet 'new' environments. And also re-introducing the 'settle' command...something we haven't really done since basic obedience many moons ago.

We spoke about the change in their routine since we've had sub zero weather and how to try and get some exercise whilst indoors.

So yes...we did a lot more than just get the script and get out. I'm sooo hoping this all helps and if not, we'll keep digging 'til we get to the bottom of it.
 

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Just make sure if you end up taking her off from the Clomicalm that you wean her off slowly. You can have very bad side effects if you stop it suddenly.

I don't mean this in any derogatory manner, but I wouldn't feel comfortable taking behavioral modification advice from my vet. Unless that vet is a degreed behaviorist.
 

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I would like to comment regarding Thyroid on behavior. I can only tell you my experience with my Golden Girl, Baylee.
Baylee went through a lengthy "phase" where she was extremely easily irratated when she was around 18 months. She would lunge ,growling from under the table, she was very touch sensitive and would snap when touched. I tried numerous behavioral techniques and worked with a behaviorist. I was at my wits end when she ultimately bit me in the face and split open my lip.
It was suggested I take her to see Dr. Dodds for a wellness check since I live close to hemopet (her clinic). It was determined Baylee had hypothyroidism and Baylee was started on a low dose of Soloxine. Now, was this a miracle cure...no and Dr. Dodds never suggested it would be. What I believe it did was ease the edgy state that Baylee was constantly in and allow her to be more relaxed and at ease. With continued behavioral interventions and the use of thyroid medication, Baylee has become a sweetheart and no one would ever know she had this aggressive propensity. She continues to be a somewhat timid dog with a lot of fears but I am proud to say that Baylee is doing great now. I cried when she earned her CGC and rejoiced in her success when she completed her CDX. More than that she is a dog that I cherish and probably even more so because I know the elements of her behavioral past.

Best of luck to you. I hope you find success in sorting out your pup's difficulties.
 
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