Thursday, June 3, 2010

Do Dogs Get 'Roid Rage??

I went to THE STORE, yesterday afternoon when I got home to see if our satellite receiver had arrived yet (it had and after another two hours on the phone with customer service, is working - sort of.  But that's a different story.)  Being a dog owner and a responsible one, and since I was walking, (Eyebrow IS very small remember) I took the dog along for a walk.... and she tries to kill me, or commit suicide... or something!

Some background information:

Taffy is a small dog, of uncertain breed, that we bought for $5.00 at a garage sale about 14 years ago. (And YES it WAS on GARAGE SALE DAY in Eyebrow)  Taffy has developed some health issues over the years - her eyesight's going, as is her hearing (though she seems to be able to hear the can-opener from anywhere in the house.)  She moves a little more stiffly than she used to and doesn't quite have the same pep that she used to. (Fair enough - in dog years she's somewhere around 98)

Of more concern to us was a skin allergy she seems to have developed to something.  For a while she was scratching herself raw and it hurt us to see her doing it as much as it must have her her.  The Veterinarian couldn't be sure what the allergy was from, but prescribed a course of medicine to help control it (Prednisone - a steroid) with the warning that "In the long term it had bad side effects," but, considering her age, we shouldn't worry to much about long term effects.  "Cut back the dosage if possible - but use the lowest dose that keeps her comfortable."

That's the background - on with the story:

Taffy and I leave the house headed for THE STORE and I've walked about 50 metres and almost to the highway before I look back (A highway runs through the middle of Eyebrow cutting it in half, North from South - don't imagine a huge, 12 lane superhighway; this is a small town.  The highway basically becomes a street through town and traffic is supposed to slow down while going through - if there's traffic.  Usually there isn't.  Also Taffy isn't on a leash as it isn't necessary - again small town, and she's normally a very well behaved, well trained dog that knows how to heel.  But not today....)

When I look back, I see that she is standing on the front steps.... just standing there, looking at me.

"OK," I think, "She's old and mostly blind - she's lost me." So, I call her (no response.)
"OK, well I know she's mostly deaf too."  I walk back to the house to let her see and hear me.  When I've gotten almost back to the house, she recognizes me and comes running; passes me wanting to take the lead and heads for the highway.

"With her eyesight, she may not be able to see traffic coming," I think to myself (on the rare chance that there might be traffic) and hurry to catch up with her.  No problem - she stops at the cross walk to sniff the grass, giving me time to catch up with her.  There is traffic, (amazingly)  but the closest vehicle is about 3 blocks away - lots of time.  I call her and start across, look back and realize that she apparently is done sniffing yet.

THE TRAFFIC is two blocks away and its not one, but two vehicles with a third appearing from the opposite direction.  I call her, but she is ignoring me determinately sniffing at something (deaf, remember?) Worried that she will decide to dart out into THE TRAFFIC and get hit, I reverse course, to go back and wait with her on that side, until THE TRAFFIC is past.

But as I approach, she ducks away like I was going to beat her, does a quick circle around me and heads straight across the highway - with me trying to catch her, almost under the tires of the first vehicle which had to slam on its brakes.  I wave apologetically to the driver and go onto the highway to retrieve Taffy, but she's having nothing to do with me.  The car which had nearly run her over didn't worry her but me walking toward her seemed to terrify her.

Scared, she - with me following - skittered away from it almost under the tires of the second vehicle approaching from the other direction which also had to slam on its brakes.  (To avoid hitting both of us) Meanwhile the third vehicle, (following the first) almost ran into the back of the stopped vehicle in front of it - not expecting to suddenly have a vehicle parked in the middle of the highway, in its path.

So my dog and I narrowly avoided getting run over, managed to nearly cause a two-car collision, and did create a three-car traffic jam.

I still can't account for my dog's strange behavior.  "Roid Rage?  Or maybe Paul has been paying her off in dog treats to take me out and make it look like an accident.  Ninjas' are like that.....

1 comment:

  1. I found your page after experiencing aggression from my dog that currently is on pred toward my other dogs; aggression happened several days in a row about an hour or so after the dose was administered. This is the first time I have experienced this apparent effect, and I have had numerous dachshunds on pred for back issues. (But not this one.) Many things that affect people affect dogs as well, so my thought is that roid rage probably is possible.

    As for your dog's behavior: dogs are ALWAYS unpredictable. Even if they have never strayed from your side before, you never know when a squirrel or something tempting will lead them into danger. Keep her safe, use a lead!

    Your dog has already entered the geriatric stage, based on the age and your description. Rather than consider roid rage, I suggest you watch for signs of dementia. You may want to speak to your veterinarian because fish oil is believed to help slow the demntia process; there also are veterinary prescription medications that are available. Incidentally, some of the dementia signs my dog periodically shows are: confusion, pacing (sometimes constant), apparent fear when you reach out (can't see hand until it is close), bumping into things, getting caught beneath chairs or in corners and unable to free self, and pottying accidents. You can easily deal with the latter frustration by putting down a puppy pad, so your dog will not feel guilty just because she doesn't have the ability to hold her urine as long as she used to. It will make you both a lot happier! Good luck! :)