I hope by sharing this, it can prevent it happening to someone else and their pet.

 

First let me tell you about Max. Max was a foster that stayed about 3 years ago. He was a large marshmallow of a German Shepherd. He was the gentlest dog you'd ever met.

He had a few issues. He did not like any type of restraint. It took a long time for him to easily allow me to put his seatbelt harness on when we had to ride in the car. He did finally get to where he let me without struggle, but it was easy to tell he was uncomfortable with it. Drawing blood for heartworm checks was always an adventure too. He would cry and whine and try to get away. I remember having to lay on him t o get it done. Now while he was throwing a fit, he was never muzzled and no one ever worried he'd bite over it. Max was not aggressive in any way shape or form.

He'd stand like a statue for a regular vaccination or his Adequin shot for the arthritis. Then, you weren't having to restrain him in any way so he was just fine.

He LOVED to play fetch and if I napped on the couch, I would wake up to a collection of toys. He would drop them on me hoping to get me to wake up and throw one. The rule in the house when visitors came over was NOT to throw it for him. He would never stop and would pester them until they kept going and going and going. Of course most didn't listen and would have to spend their time here throwing toys for Max. He never really liked the cats. They'd rub all over him and he'd flinch away. If they kept it up, he might give a small growl. If they still kept it up, he'd just get up, sigh, and leave the room.

He also LOVED food. I had to make sure the cover was on the food can and all bags were put up. I learned my lesson after coming home once and finding him looking like he'd eaten a watermelon.

Last fall, I came home from Petsmart to find a horrible sight. There was vomit all over the kitchen, and Max literally had every hair standing up on his body from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. It was the oddest sight and one you can't even imagine seeing.

I immediately called the clinic and while awaiting the return call I found the chewed up and empty bottle of Propalin. It's a medication we used for Frannie's incontinence. I had only opened it a day or two earlier so there was close to 60 tablets in it. It is an amphetamine. He was as high as you could get. My sister came right over to help me drive him to the Vet. Even after LARGE doses of tranquilizers he was still wired. Three of us tried holding him down to get the charcoal in. (again, no thought or worry about him biting) He had enough sedation in him he should not have even been able to walk. We finally got some charcoal in, then hooked him up to IVs to try to flush it all out. 48 hours later his eyes were STILL dilated. Physically, he recovered fine with no harm to his kidneys or liver.

Mentally, he was never the same.

Several months later, his behavior started to really change. He started urinating in the house, often after only having been outside 20 minutes earlier. Even as a 4 year old unaltered dog, he only lifted his leg once in here just after he came. Urinating inside was way out of character for him.

We ran test after test and there was nothing wrong with him. One day, he went after the little Chihuahua when she got too close to an empty food bowl. He did not hurt her, but she was wet from his mouth. It was so out of character for him, that she would literally shake for days if he came near her. Then the panic attacks started. He would just start whining and fussing and pacing for no reason. I'd let him out, he'd continue. I'd let him in, he'd continue. He'd lay on the floor and just whine. He didn't want to go outside and he didn't want to go in. It was as if he was terrified of something unseen. Back for more testing.

I did research on amphetamine overdoses. All I could find was low doses for dogs, he did not get a low overdose. I did find information on people who had OD'd. It wasn't promising. The long term effects were bad.

Again, they found nothing wrong. We put him on Clonicalm and it did seem to help out for awhile. He still wasn't 'right' but the panic attacks stopped and so did the peeing in the house.

I was managing the situation. I made sure the little dogs were separated from the big ones when I wasn't home or too preoccupied with something else. I always supervised him with my niece and nephew just because he was big and came to me as an adult. But, I decided that I wouldn't let them play with him at all anymore. The last few weeks he was regressing. He was peeing in the house again. His behavior was unpredictable. One day he would be fine and 'normal', the next he may be panicky, another he'd be very sullen and vacant. I'd often have to take him by his collar to get him to go outside. He made ugly noises at one of the cats because his tail swept across his face.

One day Chris was here. She'd gone into the kitchen to get a drink. When she came out, she mentioned he just wasn't right anymore. It was later that day she admitted that he scared her. Remember, she helped hold him down when he overdosed and had no fear of him then. She said he just lay on the floor staring at her. He didn't greet her, didn't wag his tail, and had a scary vacant look. She said she almost turned around and walked out it was so eerie.

That haunted me. Chris of all people would not be afraid of Max! It made me do a lot of thinking. I had been telling myself that next time he did something so out of character for him, I'd know the damage was too severe. I realized that next time could mean disaster for one of the kids, the other animals here, or even myself.

On a Thursday, I made the final decision and had Max euthanized. It was, I think the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I could not manage the long drive to the clinic where I work, with him in the car. It would have been hell.... I called a local Vet. They know me well and through tears talked with the Dr. I wanted her to understand why I was bringing in a seemingly healthy happy dog to be put down. I also needed to arrange for him to be sedated first. There was no way I wanted him leaving while struggling against the restraint of finding the vein. At 5:00, as I held him in my arms, Max left here, hopefully leaving the demons that terrorized him so badly these last few months behind. Frannie's meds had been kept on the kitchen counter for months. I don't know if the cats knocked them down, or he was counter surfing.

I learned a very hard lesson and now all medications are kept completely out of reach. So check your counter and sinks. It only takes one time for irreversible damage to occur.

Barb