Stress ~ Part 2: Dillon, Rally Excellent

Wednesday, January 01, 2014 12:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Written by Marilyn M. Miller

A few months ago (last April)  Dillon was diagnosed with high blood pressure. This was discovered with other tests that were done on him before surgery. Dillon's top number in the BP reading was 280 !. A dog's blood pressureis tested like a human's with a cuff on a front leg. Their numbers are also equivalent to ours. A reading of 280 was way too high !!!

 Our vet prescribed the BP medication "Metronidazole". This made him violently ill and after a couple of days I called the vet and stopped giving it to him. The next drug prescribed for him was "Benazepril" which also made him violently ill. This medication was stopped also. According to our vet, it is extremely rare for either of these meds to affect a dog in such an adverse way. The third one that was prescribed for Dillon was "Enalapril" which did agree with his system. We were to try this for one month, then take Dillon back for a recheck. At our next appt. I was told by the vet that they wanted to keep Dillon there for a few hours to calm him down and take several BP readings. I was sent home. I was not too happy about this. I knew that Dillon would not become calm at the vet's no matter how long they kept him. His anxiety would only get worse.

 We took Dillon back once a month for a few months to be rechecked.  On one visit for a recheck, the vet tech called me after a few hours to say we could pick him up. There was a dog in the clinic who was barking for hours and this was not helping Dillon relax. I said "Of course he doesn't like the barking. He hates it when Luckee Fella barks in the house. It does upset him."  The numbers had come down somewhat but were still around 220 - 200. Our vet finally gave up and sent us to a canine cardiac specialist in Portsmouth. I should have suggested this months earlier.

 At our first appt. with Dr. McGregor, he gave Dillon an echo cardiogram. I was with Dillon during the test, talking to him in a calming voice. Dr. McGregor said Dillon's heart looked healthy and that if the pressures our vet quoted were in the upper 200's all the time his heart would show damage and he most likely would be dead. The specialist's diagnosis was that Dillon is a nervous dog. He has what is equivalent to a human" "white collar" syndrome which I have every time I have a doctor's appt.

 Dr. McGregor took Dillon off the vet's BP medicines and put him on "Atenolol" which hopefully will reduce his stress level and lower the blood pressure. Dr. McGregor wants to see Dillon again the first week of January and hopefully his BP will come down by then.

 I did not find Dillon until he was 4 months old so he missed out on the most formative months of his life. Who knows what his life was like before I rescued him. He is afraid of a lot of things. I waited until Dillon was 5 years old before I began training him and taking him to Rally classes. He caught on to his exercises fairly quickly and was able to achieve a Rally Excellent title. He did stress out over the jumps and refused to go over them a few times but we persevered.

 Thanksgiving Day Dillon was invited to go with us to friends in Deerfield, NH for dinner. He was shaking in the car, thinking it was another trip to the vet's office. Dillon had never been to anyone's house before. He had met our host and hostess when they were at our house on different occasions. Dillon loved all the good smells in the kitchen and walks in their huge backyard with all deer and other wildlife smells. I took a Nylabone for him to chew while we were having cocktails. He was content just to be with us. At the dinner table he laid right between Glenn and my chairs. There was no begging. He was as good as gold. I was very proud of him !

 Our host and hostess would be happy to have Dillon again in their home. Training does pay off !!!

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