The Pet Directory Dog Article - Ask the VET


QLD / WA / NT Edition 2

I have two dogs: Sam, a 16 year old desexed male German Shepherd cross; and Lilly, a 4 year old desexed female maltese. Sam has suffered arthritis for several years and has now come to the point where he looks hang-dog all the time and sometimes is in too much pain to get out of his bed to toilet. Medication does not seem to help anymore. I know the time has come for Sam, but what do I do about Lily? I know she is going to miss Sam as much as I will.

It does sound like it would be an unselfish act of kindness to have Sam humanely euthanased by your regular vet. I recommend arranging a housecall for Sam's euthanasia. Ensure all family members have had their opportunity to say their goodbyes to Sam first. Allow Lily to see Sam's body so she knows he has gone. Lily is going to grieve just like the entire human-canine pack shall; this is normal and should be allowed to run its natural course and not be suppressed or hidden. Arrange to spend extra time with Lily for a few weeks after, give her additional exercise and social contact with other dogs. Consider adopting a new dog from an animal shelter but always ensure that all family members including Lily have a say in it. Take Lily with you and request that she be allowed to spend some time in their exercise area with any potential new pack member, one at a time. Watch her and it will be obvious which new friend she selects. Male/female combinations often work the best.

My dog, Jack, is an 8 year old desexed male Staffordshire Terrier cross. He goes to pieces whenever there is a storm. It has only started 6 months ago and he seems to be getting worse fast and sometimes escapes my yard despite 6 foot timber fencing. Last time Pabloinjured himself on the fence loosing 2 teeth and leaving it blood smeared from wearing his nails down past the quick.

This is a common phobia in dogs. It is called brontophobia, or fear of great noises. Most dogs prone to the problem show a sensitivity from a much earlier age though you may not have noticed. “Norm al”dogs habituate, or come to accept loud noices without “going to pieces. Abnormal or phobic dogs “sensitise” with exposure to the feared stimulus. As dogs age they become increasing susceptable to anxious illness due to aging chemical changes within the brain. In the interests of reducing Jack's suffering and reversing some of the possible aging changes within his brain, antidepressant medication at high doses may be needed. Your Vet should give Jack a clean bill of health and a full blood test, including thyroid check. Access to indoors via a doggy door, and provision of a den can both be very helpful to provide Jack with ways to manage his fears. Relaxation training and pheromone therapy may also help. Consultation with a Veterinary Behaviourist is strongly recommended.

DR. JACQUELINE PERKINS
BVSc Hons MACVSc (animal behaviour) BA
(Dr. Good Dog)


Hi, my name is Jackie Perkins. I am a Veterinarian with a special interest in animal behaviour (animal psychiatrist). This area is rapidly growing and, in my opinion, is the most highly evolved area of study because EVERYTHING about an animal affects its behaviour.

 

I am a registered psychiatric nurse of 15 years practice. I have done a lot of work with schizophrenia in humans and look forward to fully characterising this enigmatic disease in companion animals. It can be a very mild disease, and diagnosing it in animals is tricky! I also have a Bachelor of Arts with majors in psychology and ethics. My family had a commercial Corgi kennel so I have been directly involved in all aspects of canine care and training for my entire life.

If you have any behaviour cases which you require help with, I would be delighted to become involved.

Information supplied by:

Good Dog Behavioural Clinics
Dr Jacqueline Perkins BVSc Hons MACVSc (Animal Behaviour) BA
Ph: +61 7 3351 0600
Email: gooddog@dodo.com.au
Website: www.good-dog.com.au
Address: PO Box 2101 Keperra, Qld 4054 Australia

Troy Laboratories
Be active with your dog - dogpedometer.com

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