Help with our demented dog.
April 28, 2010 10:25 AM Subscribe
Dog dementia - help!
posted by k8t to Pets & Animals (40 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Our 11-year-old yellow lab has Cushing's Disease and is suffering from dementia. He is constantly (20 hours a day) stressed and anxious. He pants a lot. He tries to crawl into small spaces. He makes a mess of the house trying to get into closets, bathtub, whatever. He is only happy when his nose/head are elevated at a 45 degree angle. He can't sleep. (Therefore we can't sleep.) (Do any of these symptoms indicate something other than Cushing's/Dementia?)
Beyond Dog's discomfort, this affects us as well. As I mentioned, one of us is up with Dog for a few hours each night. I cannot leave the house unless I absolutely must because of fear of what mess Dog will make. (I have a meeting today, so I am paying to board him at the Vet's.) Yet I can't work here because he is too needy. He is also starting to 'herd' our toddler. (He is generally great with our toddler though and Dog's worst day, anxiety-wise, is always Monday when Toddler goes back to daycare.)
I am terribly sad that Dog is unhappy and that death is on the horizon. But I also do not know how much more we can do to accomodate him - we already aren't sleeping at night, I can't go to campus to work nor can I work from home, and we're considering keeping Toddler in full-time daycare this summer because it is too hard for 1 adult to deal with both Toddler and Dog all day (and this creates a greater financial burden). No one wants to visit or babysit because of Dog. We can't go out of town anymore. These things are not really sustainable.
What we have tried: Trilostane (caused diarrhea) and Selegiline (caused diarrhea). Currently he takes Tramadol for pain, Metronidazole for killing off bugs (he has tummy issues often), and recently the vet gave us Acepromazine as a sedative so that he (we) can sleep. (This makes him have cherry eye. Gross.) Vet suggested Benadryl as a mild daily sedative recently. Yes, I keep talking with the vet. She said that there is another drug but that it is pretty dangerous. She also suggested that we might go to see a specialist (that is 2 hours away). We're going to try the Selegiline again for a few weeks and switch to a different treatment that is "riskier." We're also switching to Prescription Diet bd. I just bought an Anxiety Wrap, a dog phermone diffuser and dog phermone collar.
At this point I don't know what to do. How much do these specialists cost? Can they do much? I've read that diet can help, but does it really? What about crating him? (He can get through baby gates easily.) What about doggy daycare during the day so that I can get some work done? How can we help him keep his nose/head at a 45 degree angle? At what point do we start seriously discussing putting him down? Our goals are to make him comfortable while also making our lives less stressful. Right now he is obviously not comfortable.