Most of u know my Tucker and Justice-the 2 bestest mini schnauzers in the world.
I am hoping to get some input abt thunderstorm phobia-I have read a bit on the internet, but I wonder if anyone has actually dealt with it.
Here's the background:
Justice is 8 yo, and an epileptic. He has never had any fear of thunderstorms in his life until abt a year ago. For a couple years he would have seizure activity due to the change in barometric pressure (but never had fear of the thunder or lightening). Once his seizures were more controlled he stopped breaking thru with seizure activity with barometric changes.
One day, over a year ago, he was having pre-ictal (before seizure) behavior when a thunderstorm began. He then had a grand mal seizure. From that time on, he has been terrified of thunder and lightening. I think he is associating the weird feeling he had before the seizure, and then the seizure with the thunder and lightening.
Terror is definitely the word to describe how he reacts when the noise and the lightening start.
Debs sent me a "Calming Collar" with calming herbs (safe for an epi), and it has helped. I also started putting a Thundershirt on him before a storm begins. Both the collar and shirt have taken him from absolute terror where I worried he would get hurt by his behaviors, to 'just' being very, very scared. He is so frightened he is having partial seizures.
I have set up a Soft Krate "man cave" for him, and even move it into the bathroom where he seems to prefer. I cover it with blankets and play calming music made especially for animals. I try to distract him with clicker training using treats before the storm starts and during it...but he totally shuts down for any food or play.
He doesn't stay in his 'man cave' -he paces, pants and tries to get into small spaces.
I really don't want to add more meds to his already pharmacy of daily medications. But, I will be talking to his neuro this next week, and I am guessing he may give him a medication to at least calm him so I can do some kind of behavior modification with him.
But, what?? Do i try a CD with sounds of a storm-does that really work? We are putting blinds up so at least if he is in my room he won't be able to see the lightening.
Does anyone have any idea's? Do I need to find an animal behaviorist? I know the neuro can (and probably will) give him medication so at least he can be worked with...but, I am at a loss how to help him.
Help!!!! Oh, and Rescue Remedy has never helped
Here is Justice with his Calming Collar and Thundershirt on. He looks calm since he is laying down-but I put him in that position hoping he would relax-but he is ready to bolt. You probably can't tell from this pic, but his eyes show his fear:
Again, not as relaxed as he may appear-he is in "statue" mode-like maybe if I act like a statue that scary storm will go away.
Edited by k9sign, 26 March 2011 - 11:12 AM.