Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Perri Medication Weeks 4-6

As of tonight Perri has been on fluoxetine for 6 weeks.   Tomorrow begins her 7th week.

The lethargy I saw in Perri towards the end of the third week, a few days after the as-instructed dose increase, has stayed away for the most part.   We certainly did not experience any "sleeping in" and not wanting to be involved in car trips or adventures.   Perri does sleep much more soundly through the night now and even goes into deep enough sleep for "sleep talking".   I give Perri her medication in the evening.   I do not feel that Perri has any issue waking up in the morning, or that her energy levels are affected at all. 

Perri's appetite suffered starting towards the end of the fourth week.   I had recently switched to a new kibble and thought that was to blame.  (American Journey Salmon and Rice - switched at the beginning of Perri's fourth week.)   Initially it was just skipping the morning meal.   Over the past week (Week 6) it has worsened to the point where Perri will not even come in the kitchen in the morning for her food, and at night she comes into the kitchen and might eat half of her dinner after much coercion from Vince.   Perri's anorexia is nothing new, it has been an issue her entire life but rarely would she go over 24 hours without at least eating a whole bowl of kibble.   One night last week Vince looked at Perri and remarked he could see a visible weight loss.   And Perri does not have much to lose, her bones have always been so palpable it almost disgusts me.   I was ecstatic to find she was over 40 pounds at her behaviorist visit. (She had been eating rather well at that time - for Perri - we were trying Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Stomach/Skin. mostly to try to help an issue Ein was having with obsessive elbow licking and mutilating the skin there as well as some skin redness ands pots throughout his body.   Without success.)

However, starting this past weekend, Perri refused to eat anything at all.    Perri went over 48 hours without eating anything except the treats she was given at the agility trial on Saturday.   Now, I will say that right around the time Perri's appetite started going into decline (worse than normal), I started to feed Ein Honest Kitchen Force formula.   I am very happy with this food, and will likely review it at a later time.   I did notice Perri eyeing the bowl and looking at her own bowl of kibble in....disappointment?   In desperation I dumped a quarter cup of HK into Perri's food this Monday morning, rehydrated it and mixed it all together and Presto! problem solved.   3 meals later Perri was in the kitchen in the morning eagerly anticipating her meal and has been that way ever since.

So.   Who can say if the anorexia was caused by the fluoxetine or by Perri's general pickiness and being put off of her kibble by a clearly better option present in the kitchen at meal time.

Positive Changes

Despite water being available all night long, Perri has not had a single bed wetting episode since starting the fluoxetine.   I am happy to say that the three reusable doggie diapers that I bought are collecting dust.

Alert barking has decreased, but certainly not disappeared.   I would be curious at how much less alert barking Perri would do if not for Ein's influence (who is alert barking more than ever.   old dog rules.)

Reactive fear barking at other dogs is still happening, but I have noticed a few moments here and there where I braced myself for an explosion and it did not happen.   Most notably at a husky we crossed paths with on a walking trail, with blue eyes and staring and the whole package.   Perri just walked on by.    She did explode at the next dog we passed.   So, it is just here and there.   Nothing to grab onto and say, "This has changed." but little moments in time where Perri simply does not act as she used to.

Scanning behavior is decreasing, I think.  Whether that is accurate or optimistic or coincidence, I think it is hard to tell.    Obviously we had a better day at our agility trial on Saturday than we had in a long time, I can't ignore that the fluoxetine likely had a hand in that.   I noticed that on approaches to the building, Perri seemed less "lost" in scanning and more responsive to reorienting to me.   That is not to say we don't still have scanning behavior, I remember a specific incident just this Sunday on a geocache stop.    We were at a very quiet park but there was a man across the street practicing his golf shots.   Perri did some scanning but became transfixed by this man, almost a trance.    She did not even remember that I was there until I sneezed by accident.    There again: a swinging object presenting to her an "enormous threat".    In any case, just as I mentioned with the fear reactivity, I am seeing moments sprinkled into our lives where Perri is able to reorient to me quickly and I do expect those moments to continue to increase.

As of today, I feel very positive heading into our 7th week and excited for more continued positive change and peace in Perri's life.

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