Strengthening our bond to improve animals' lives

Searching for ideas on medication for a "touch-me-not" dog i

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Forums Members Searching for ideas on medication for a "touch-me-not" dog i

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by 5 months, 1 week ago.

  • Author
  • #13160

    greetings all-  I have a small house call veterinary practice, and do behavior consultations.  I had a call last week from a potential client who has a dog who has basically trapped her in the house.  She got both he and his brother at 8 weeks.  Even as a puppy, this problem dog liked to hide under things, and growled and snarled at anyone approaching him.  He used to like to be touched, but not anymore.  He did successfully receive his puppy vaccines and was neutered.  He’s now over a year old, and needs vaccines.  Owner cannot get him in the car, and when she walked him all the way to the vet clinic in her town, he would not allow anyone to touch him, and owner could not muzzle him.  He resource guards the furniture, his food, and has bitten many family members and guests to the home.  His full sibling does not exhibit any behavior anomalies.  Her veterinarian put the dog on fluoxetine 20 mg several months ago, and has recently doubled the dosage.  Behavior has not changed.  I was told that family sought some sort of behavioral training, though I do not know what that was, or how long it lasted.    I told this potential client I would do some research and see if there was any medication out there that could successfully manage this dog to allow basic medical care.  We can talk behavior consultation if I ever can manage to see and handle this dog.  I am not familiar with the variety of medications that have been used successfully in behavior.  Having just attended the AVSAB Veterinary Symposium in Indianapolis, I learned about Sileo (dexmedetomidine), but see that this needs to be administered to oral mucous membranes.  I cannot imagine this dog allowing owner to manipulate the oral cavity.  We discussed acepromazine, but this of course has no anxiolytic activity, and in my experience, dogs can easily be roused.  And of course, this dog is already on a high dose of fluoxetine.  Does this need to “wash out”?  What other medications might be used safely?  I would very much appreciate some feedback.  I have seen a lot of aggressive dogs, and this one sounds pretty bad.  The family loves him, despite his nature.  At this time, euthanasia is not an option.  Thanks in advance for your help on this.

    Andrea Morden-Moore, MS DVM

  • #13201

    Hello Andrea,

    This is difficult to read and answer because it is such a bad situation, plus for myself, it’s not enough information to give you a recommendation. Hopefully, others in the forum will answer as well. Your potential client is “trapped in the house”, her ability to manage this dog and the aggression is serious.  Having a second dog in the picture complicates the issue further. Given your level of expertise with behavior medications, the level of seriousness and the long term aspect of the case and the potential liability, I recommend you refer this case to a veterinary behaviorist (Board Certified). If there aren’t any close by, then there may be someone like yourself that has had more medication experience and perhaps they can see the case and keep you advised.

    Please note that, no one else has answered you yet, so I’m offering my thoughts. I do not mean to offend you by suggesting you might not be able to handle this case but instead, I am thinking of your best interest as well as theirs.

    In addition, anytime I prescribe medication, I am still using behavior modification, environmental management, training, etc. with a case. They will need other measures to address this situation.

    I hope this helps.



    Carolyn Lincoln, DVM
    AVSAB Corresponding Secretary

    Carolyn Lincoln, DVM
    AVSAB Corresponding Secretary

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Contact us

For any questions, please contact

Carolyn Lincoln, DVM
AVSAB Corresponding Secretary

Find us on facebook, twitter and youtube!