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cannibalgoldfish

Article about dog dementia

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I currently have five elderly dogs: Jeune nearly 19, Tamar, nearly 16, Bunter 16/17, Mezza 15, and Sooty 12/13.   I’ve had many elderly dogs over the years it is only with two of these (Tamar and Bunter) that I have seen signs of dementia, so I and the dogs have been fortunate, I think.  

 

The main feature with both of them is they get “lost” downstairs at night and, sometimes, in the daytime.  Tamar gets caught up in the legs of chairs, but she generally finds her way out.  I do watch her and if she seems to be too confused or worried, I rescue her.   So far, they are not getting stuck behind chairs or anything like that, but I’ve had a couple of dogs that that happened too.  They were elderly and their time was drawing to a close, but they weren’t demented.   

 

Bunter is just confused.  He will snap in the wrong place for a treat or go off in the wrong direction from his food bowl.  In the past couple of years, he has become quite snappy so  I have to watch my fingers; he has to be muzzled for me to clean his eyes.   He watches me like a hawk and rarely slept through the day, just lying close to where I was without taking his eyes off me.  I have noticed that he regularly goes into a deep sleep now.    

 

 

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Loki was pretty much blind towards the end. I think some of the "symptoms" mentioned in the article were probably because of that.  But he would just.. forget what he was doing sometimes and would be lost in another world and would look startled if you spoke to him. 

 

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Cannibal I had an old stafford who lived to three months shy of 17. She still could've kept going physically but her mind made her dangerous. She'd often end up in a strange spot just standing there thinking 'how the hell did I get here?' My fear at that stage was that we'd be out and she'd be stuck somewhere unsafe for hours without any brain power to trouble shoot her situation. She was blind, deaf, incontinent (in that as soon as she stood up she'd toilet thinking she was outside so wore a nappy at all times) and she had cancerous lumps all over her. Yet every day she still thought she was head of the doggy pack and was in amongst it. No signs of pain or discomfort and still stubbornly wanting to do everything the other dogs were doing. No lying around sleeping for her! Very hard decision to make in knowing when it was time to let her go.

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Beltar   

 

Such an interesting article.

We are currently living this with our darling 12 and 1/2 year old Iggie girl Tari, and it's so hard.

I think it started about 6 months ago. Previously, if anxious, eg storms, she could always be comforted. But now it's heartbreaking to watch as she suffers such terrible anxiety - involuntary  jerking, bucking, body twitches, pacing, constantly following us and jumping up onto our laps and down again over and over, clawing up at our legs if we're standing, scratching at doors, jumping dangerously over furniture, etc and nothing can comfort her. This can go on for hours. It's hard to believe such a tiny little body can continue with such non stop frantic hyperactivity for so long. It's as if she's possessed!
It first happened just at night, but is now happening all day as well. Initially, under our vet's supervision, 1/4 tablet of alprazolam (same as xanax) did the trick, just enough to enable her to relax, and us to sleep, and things improved. But things deteriorated and soon 1 tablet each night was needed. Once again things improved, and we had almost a month of calm nights - bliss, as I was so sleep deprived. I was sitting up with her to enable others to sleep.

Now it has escalated and we are at the limit of 1 tablet each 8 hours. It is only giving her relief for 5-6 hours and then I have to sit with her 'til she can have the next dose. It's so day to day and all so hit and miss. Sometimes she will relax within 1/2 to 3/4 hour of having the tablet, other times it takes 2 hours!

It's so distressing and heartbreaking to see her like this.

Even though our vet has mentioned Canine Cognitive Dysfunction  - this article has shed light on the sad reality, interesting the progress is so much quicker, we may have to face a very sad and tough decision at some point. During her "normal" hours she is quite good, enjoying a walk , has a spring in her step and plays a little bit with the other dogs, but as soon as she starts clinging to us, and the bucking and involuntary body jerks start we know her anxiety is taking over.

Sorry for the essay! This is something we have never experienced and had no idea how severe it can be.

 

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Little Gifts,

Yeah Loki was incontinent  at the end as well :(  Mostly overnight. He would just.. forget.  

 as she stood up she'd toilet thinking she was outside"  Wasn't until reading this I realised, yes, Loki did the same some times. 

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Beltar,  I've had a dog that was fine for years but then (due to several things, failing eyesight and old age mostly) start to freak out at things like Fire works, thunderstorms, ect. He would try to dig through concrete or bash himself against fences and walls in his panic. :( It's horrible to witness.

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Not necessarily old dogs.  I had a neighbor whose 3 yr old border collie would sit facing a corner for hours and was prone to weird behavior such as unprovoked and unexplainable snapping.  The vet could find nothing wrong. 

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My current stafford, Stussy was at the vet recently and my vet hadn't seen her for a while. I was telling her since we moved to the new house (back then she was an only dog for the first time) she developed some anxiety when left alone, over some noises (like the oven timer, scissors and card punches) and had become destructive when left alone like back in her puppy days. My vet said this is the age (around 12) it often starts.

 

Makes me sad to think she is starting this young. I don't want her to be old!

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