Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Dog + Rain = Sleep Deprivation

Our dog, Ace, is now 11+ years old. My wife and I picked him out of a litter of puppies from the San Diego County Animal Shelter, located in Carlsbad. As it turns out, he was the lucky one of the litter, as the others were put down due to illness the Monday after we adopted him. He had is share of health problems when he was young, but he bounced back nicely and he's been with us ever since.

He is a big dog. At around 115 lbs and tall enough to pick stuff off the dinner table, it is challenging keeping food away from this mutt. We had to put a lock on the pantry because he knows how to open up doors and took to browsing through the pantry and devouring a box of cereal or loaf of bread. To say that our dog is food-motivated would be an understatement.

Ace is part chocolate lab and part great dane. We did not know about the great dane portion of his heritage until it became obvious as he grew. About one year after we adopted Ace, our first child was born. 3 kids later, and Ace has been pretty good with all of them although he is a bit grouchier now than he was when he was a puppy.

I'm not sure how old Ace will get - he's got some serious gray around the muzzle, many fatty tumors on his back, chest, legs, etc., and he's definitely not as nimble or energetic as he used to be. From what I understand, the average great danes life expectancy is under 10 years. Since Ace is a mixed breed, I imagine that he is expected to supersede that number.

So, what has this got to do with the title of the post? Well, the last year or so has seen Ace change his behavior under certain circumstances. Now, whenever it rains, he gets extremely scared. He will come upstairs when the rain starts and start knocking stuff down, making a huge racket. He will go into the bathroom and use his nose to life up the toilet seat and then let it come crashing down. When you try and comfort him, you can feel his whole body shaking. When this occurs at night, well now you know where the sleep deprivation fits in.

We talked to the veterinarian, and he gave us two pills to test out. This medication is called Clomicalm, and cost us $6 a pill! Gah! Doing a little detective work, I have found that a generic is available online, which would be significantly less expensive. Let's hope that our vet is willing to prescribe the generic and fax Ace's prescriptions to the online pharmacist - otherwise we are pretty screwed.

If any of you have any other suggestions, I am willing and ready to listen!


  1. Aw, poor dude. I'll send this over to my gal, she may have something else to suggest :)

    A couple of our dogs get some valium if it's thundering.

  2. Thanks much, amigo! I'm hoping that our vet won't give us any problems getting a generic drug, which seems to discount the price significantly.

  3. Liz doesn't check her email as often as I thought she did, but she gave this to me to send to you:

    "Check and see if their vet authorized a generic
    version, he/she may have but this is one of those
    types of medication where vets really believe the name
    brand works better (I can only think of two). Or, if
    the problem behavior/anxiety is only intermittent like
    with rain then 'Ace' may be a candidate for Ace or
    Valium. This is of course something their vet would
    have to check into based on history, etc.

    Hope this helps."

    So basically, talk to the vet because they know Ace. By the way, "Ace" is a nickname for one medicine that might help. If you mention it to your vet they should be able to extrapolate the whole name. I can't remember it off the top of my head, but it's given to animals before they're transported sometimes, as one example of its usage. Calms 'em down if given enough in advance.

    Email's probably best if there are any questions, my friend.