Monday, June 24, 2013

Case study on Anxiety Disorders in Dogs

Hello all. Anxiety disorders in dogs are the source of discomfort and stress for the dog and for us as pet owners. There is no "cure all" for behavior problems, but at Whole Pet I see a good amount of success combining medication with alternative therapy or with just alternative therapies. Here is a case I would like to share with you about one of my patients.

This is "Wally" He is 11 1/2 years old. He was treated at Whole Pet for anxiety and is doing GREAT.
Wally is loved by a family that has been burdened with some stress and illness. So, naturally he is feeling some of the family's stress. As a result, Wally started to present with abnormal behavior. He would have vacant staring around the house, get lost and run into things. He also became very lethargic. He had some energy in the morning but then would crash and sleep after noon. He would get very nervous if owner was away from him. Regularly he suffered from constipation, even though he drank excessively.

At presentation, treatment included Clomipramine medication for anxiety and Lactulose medication for constipation. The goal of the owner was to wean him off the Clomipramine drug, and the Lactulose for constipation. In addition she wanted him to have energy and be happy again.

A Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) approach was desired for Wally since the medications did not work that well..and they wanted him to have his life back. Based on TCVM Wally was diagnosed with Liver Qi Stagnation (this develops from emotional or physical stress) + Qi deficiency (represented by lack of energy) + yin deficiency (stress leads to heat and the yin is all used up cooling the heat).

I prescribed acupuncture every 2-3 weeks for 4-6 treatments as well as Chinese herbs. After one acupuncture treatment Wally had more energy and was playing with the other dog in the house. After 2 treatments he was less anxious and not staring into space. Wally received 6 acupuncture treatments from early February to early May, at which time the owner was completely satisfied that Wally had more energy and was so much happier.

Two Chinese herbal formulas were used. First, Wei Qi Booster to help booster Qi or energy. This formula is great for older dogs as it boosts the immune system also and helps fight diseases like cancer and dementia. A second formula called Er Yin Jian was added to nourish the “yin” or cooling and grounding aspect of the body. This formula is good for behavior disorders caused by yin deficiency. I also believed this formula would help resolve his constipation. After we had Wally on the formulas several weeks we began to wean him off the Clomipramine and then off the Lactulose. He is now off both, with no constipation and he is very happy. Herbals may be continued for 3-6 months depending on how Wally feels.

Wally illustrates how TCVM can be used for anxiety disorders. TCVM may be used as a first line treatment or if medication does not work as expected, or side effects of medication prevent using them.

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