My Personal Experience With Fear Aggression (Chapter 5)
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Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?
How far would you go to save your dog’s life?
Maybe you can’t answer that because you haven’t had to be in that position.
Unfortunately, I have been in this position and I can say I will do whatever possible to save my dog.
One day, randomly, I was thinking about my little Shih Tzu and how she’s had the majority of her teeth taken out but yet still manages to eat and chew on toys, etc.
It made me wonder if I could have Frisbee’s teeth removed and if that was even an option.
Once again, I hit the internet, and low and behold it’s a real thing. It’s called disarming.
Basically, all of the teeth are removed except the canines. They are filed all the way down but not removed because the roots are too deep.
It’s an extreme measure reserved for only special circumstances. It is also not supported or approved of by the Veterinary Society.
But, I was desperate and felt it was at least worth looking into.
I called my veterinarian and asked her to recommend a vet dentist that had experience with disarming.
I made an appointment and here’s what I learned. First, they don’t just arbitrarily do it because you want it done. You have to have tried some other things yourself to minimize the aggression issues. This dentist felt I had done all I could and he was willing to disarm Frisbee if I chose to do so.
He said he could live a totally normal life and eat like normal but would take time to adjust. He also told me that it’s a pretty brutal surgery and sometimes has to be broken into two separate surgery dates.
Whew, a lot to think about. And wait until I tell you the cost.
When I got home I went back online. I needed to find someone who had done this to their dog and reach out to them. I needed to know what psychological effects this had on their dog. I couldn’t find anyone that I could reach out to but in my research efforts, I did see that it was highly recommended that you see a behavior specialist with your dog before you make this decision.
So, once again I reached out to my vet to get a referral to a local behavior specialist. I made an appointment and my husband and I took Frisbee for what turned out to be a full 5-hour appointment and cost over $800.00.
What did we take from that appointment?
Pretty much nothing. We did end up putting Frisbee on doggy Prozac to help relax him and reduce his anxiety. He still takes Prozac to this day.
We went back for one more visit with this particular behavior specialist but once again, walked away with nothing.
In the end, I decided against the disarming. My husband was totally against it but said it was up to me. Had he known the cost, I am pretty sure he wouldn’t have allowed it under any circumstances.
Are you ready for the price…
Yep, $9000 to have him disarmed. Honestly, I wasn’t thinking as much about the money as I was about saving my dog. But, I just couldn’t stop thinking about the intense surgery and not having anyone to consult who had done this procedure, I just couldn’t do it. And I found it odd that the dentist didn’t refer me to a behavior specialist prior to agreeing to the surgery. It made me suspect that it was a high-revenue surgery for the dentist.
Back to the drawing board.
What exactly did the drawing board look like now?
Basically, just trying to be diligent, making sure we weighed the risk versus reward any time we allowed Frisbee around people and just trying to not make any more mistakes.
And that has me thinking. What about other factors such as exercise, burning off energy, all that stuff.
Yep, you bet that’s important and I have to admit we don’t walk Frisbee nearly enough and he does not get enough exercise. Like everyone, we get busy and preoccupied with work and family and our own issues and one day leads to another.
I do believe if we could walk Frisbee more or if he had a four-legged buddy to play with to burn off energy he might be more relaxed and less reactive.
It’s something we work on.
As far as getting another dog, that’s on the backburner for now. Our little Shih Tzu is almost 13 years old and is in bad health with Cushing disease, diabetes, is blind, can’t hear and has arthritis. She’s a little trooper and plugs along but my hands are full at the moment.
Even when we are in a position to add another dog to our family it will have to be done with the help of a trainer. I need to be 100% sure that adding another dog will enhance Frisbee’s life (and ours) and not create more problems. I can’t afford to get another dog who has any issues, but yet I would so long to rescue one. Another big sigh…
I guess I will cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, I have enough on my plate and more drama to come with Frisbee…
Stay tuned for what happens next…