Perri lived for one week without her SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) medication.
And then we started at a half dose of her new medication, Amitriptyline a TCA (tricyclic antidepressant)
And then we went to a whole dose.
Living with Perri with no medication on board is not ever happening again. The behaviors that were creeping back in on the low dose of fluoxetine came roaring with a vengeance. Hypervigilance at night in the yard so intense she often would not pee. Leaking urine in my bed at night. (I believe Perri has very mild spay incontinence and her anxiety issues of over-drinking and being too preoccupied to pee stress the issue.) Hypervigilance in the morning, often prompting her to hold her urine until I returned home from work in the evening - nearly 24 hours. (Perri leaks urine while she sleeps but is steadfastly housebroken when she is awake.) Irrational and beyond annoying alert barking at every. thing. This felt worse than it has ever been, so annoying and repetitive that she was becoming agonizing to live with. And her fearful reactive behavior towards other dogs worsened. I had to commit to intensifying my management of Perri around other dogs.
My poor, poor girl.
Suddenly in the middle of last week it was like a light switch flipped in Perri's brain. More at ease going potty at those difficult bed time and morningtime potty breaks. The alert barking has abruptly dwindled down to nearly nothing. She has not leaked urine in her sleep in nearly a week. And this past weekend when we were at a trial Perri did not explode at any dogs. I am managing her much more heavily than I had been. But I did notice that while Perri was concerned and keeping an eye on one particular fast moving dog playing trick games with its owner, she did not intensify past that point. That is something.
And to a lesser extent, she seems almost more playful. I should not say "less", since lack of playfulness and dullness was the sole reason I discontinued fluoxetine with Perri. It is very important to me. I don't know if it is the puppy's influence but Perri seems more loosened up, more silly. The other day she drug Molly's big heavy rope toy out, something she has never done before in her entire life. She simply seems lighter, I don't know how else to say it. This is a change in the last few days, despite the puppy being with us since the end of June so. I do not think it is all Zorro related.
Everything I write has been improvements seen in about the last half of a week. I feel really happy and excited for the future but I am also nervous. I hope that things continue in this direction for Perri. There is also the matter of doubling her dose as our behaviorist mentioned (which is likely the proper full dose for a dog of Perri's size and weight). I am willing to try that but I do feel nervous it will dampen her energy and spirits. It is nice to see how well she is responding on the current dose she is on, so I will feel comfortable returning to that dose if she does not respond well to the doubled dose.