You learn a new thing every day. I learned some new things this weekend, specifically concerning my dog Molly taking Prednisone for her anal gland infection. The vet said, "She might be hungrier or thirstier, those are normal side effects."
Ein has taken a couple rounds of pred in his life and was predictably immune to any side effects. He's just that kind of guy.
I thought Molly might be like that to, and she was. Until Saturday. She started becoming needy and restless. She started drinking and having to go outside to pee a lot. When we were sitting in the waiting room on Saturday for Molly's recheck, she was brimming with anxiety and actually chattering her teeth. The calmness and lack of reactive dog melt downs that I was proud of on Monday night was gone. She was whiney and vocal at best, and finally had a full on screaming melt down at a very sick and sad looking rottweiler who lumbered into the door minding his very own sad business. On the ride home she was shuddering in her crate and chattering her teeth.
Sunday she went "off the rails". I took Molly and Perri for a hike, we were out for probably two hours total. Molly's car anxiety was back with a vengeance (we had been enjoying some improvement in that area.) She was shaking so badly and panting so hard I thought she would stroke out. Her ears and the skin surrounding her eyes, her lips and her nose were bright red. If she stopped panting at all, her teeth chattered violently. When we got home I thought she would surely be exhausted.
She couldn't stop pacing. She followed Vince or I wherever we went. She didn't want to play tug. She would settle down and chew on her nylabone like a maniac, there were literally little pieces of nylabone shavings falling to the floor. She would then lay over with her eyes wide open, not resting at all. Molly is typically dead to the world after even a one hour hike, and especially after a stressful episode in the car. But she could not sleep. She was a mess all night. I had to let her out to pee at least four times and each time she was back up and unable to calm down and rest. All I could think about was the title of my favorite Wally Lamb book - "She's Come Undone."
I started chatting with a few of my close dog friends about how scared I was for Molly. This was it, she needed to go on medication for her anxiety. Or, surely there was a physical pain causing this much anxiety? Laying out all of the symptoms with feedback from other dog-experienced people helped me think....could it be the prednisone? The vet had not mentioned anxiety as a side effect.
Oh, but it is a side effect of pred. "Personality and behavior changes." "Anxiety". Not as common a side effect as the thirst and hunger but definitely a place to blame Molly's insane behavior. I talked to my coworkers at the hospital about it the next day and everyone seemed to know but me! "Oh yes, Prednisone can make you crazy. Poor Molly!" I called the vet office to see when is the soonest that Molly could come off the pred (she is done with it on Thursday), and they said to half her daily dose to start with. Whew.
Molly was much calmer tonight, though still clingy and needy. In better news, Molly's infected anal gland expressed easily and free of blood on Saturday. Some good news!
Our next car ride will be Wednesday, to the vet for another recheck. We will be thundershirt-ing and riding with a bully stick and hoping that Molly can remain calm on the 20 minute ride to the vet. Every time her car anxiety seems to be improving, it comes back. Even though we have a "reason" this time, it still really stinks.