Old chow mix is making me sad

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Old chow mix is making me sad

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Old 02-02-2018, 09:33 AM
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Old chow mix is making me sad

Our dog Sasha is about to turn 14 and the past 6 months have been a real decline. We've battled skin conditions, allergy issues, fur problems, stuff we never dealt with before all popped up all at once. We've had to overhaul all her food, she's getting medication for arthritis and the skin problems, etc... She's now developed one of those senior citizen cloudy eye dots. Not cataracts, just a white milky dot that the vet said doesn't affect her eye sight. Oh, and lots of vet visits have been occurring.

This has normally been a great dog, she's sweet, well behaved, not really ever affectionate and never played, but likes to be in the room with you and likes to lay down by the front door when she knows my daughter or husband should be coming home. She adores my daughter, and that's who she spends most of her time with. She's basically how a chow acts, like a big cat that is protective of her family.

The newest thing that she started doing about 2 weeks ago is pooping on the floor. She's doing it the top of the 3rd floor stairs, and at first we thought maybe or year and a half dog was doing it, but he was in the kitchen and I caught her in the act. Vet thought maybe she started that because I'm pregnant. I don't think that's the case anymore because she's also showing signs of dementia like she stands and stares at walls or seems confused sometimes. She goes outside, and she forgets what she's doing. Or yesterday, I was watching her and she was using her back leg to scratch her head but not really and it was like she forgot how.

But last night, she woke up in a confused state snarling and but my husband's foot. Something she has never done. She didn't break skin, but waking up to that at 3am was really scary. She sleeps in a dog bed at the end of our bed, she just woke up, snarled and reached up and grabbed his foot. With a new baby on the way, I'm starting to get concerned.

My husband and I have already had "the talk" which was so depressing, if she gets too bad, we will have to have her put down. And this is a dog that my husband has traveled all over the country with, and she used to come with us on every vacation, just every where we went, Sasha came with. Even our friend that has babysat Sasha for the past 6 years has said she's not the same dog. We can't even really have her around other dogs at this point.

Baxter, our younger pup, he loves her so much. He licks her face, licks the top of her head while she's laying down, and likes to cuddle up next to her, and he gets very concerned when we have to give her special baths or give her medicine. He wants to be with her 90% of the time. Sasha has been ok, but very recently has growled at him to stay away, so he'll just lay as close to her as she'll let him.

We have another vet visit coming up very soon, is there a special test we can have done to look for dementia? I've had older dogs in the past that had this, and it was pretty awful. Is there anything we can do to make it easier for her? We may have to have the "talk" again sooner than we want, but I don't think any of us are ready for that yet.
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:59 PM
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Sounds like you're in a heartbreaking situation. It never feels like a dog is really ready, and dementia is an especially difficult situation.

To my knowledge, there is no medical test aside from diagnosing from behavior changes.

This is a very good website dedicated to the topic that would be worth looking through and may have some good information for the vet visit: https://dogdementia.com/
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:59 PM
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Oh, I'm so sorry that y'all are going through that with your old girl. I know how heartbreaking it is. There is a prescription medicine that you can try that may help. Some have had supposed success feeding unrefined virgin coconut oil, I say supposed because it may just be wishful thinking, no studies on it that I know of.

When Shadow had that I managed most of the symptoms, he didn't defecate in the house but did urinate, there was a pattern to is so once I figured it out I simply got him outside around the time I knew he'd pee in the house. Luckily he wasn't aggressive, but if you figure out what triggers her doing that then you may be able to stop it. I'd have her sleep on the floor in her bed from now on.

This is a book I wish I had back when I had Shadow, maybe it can help you https://www.amazon.com/Remember-Me-L...ve+dysfunction
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Old 02-02-2018, 06:01 PM
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I'll take a look.

I really just want to maybe stop the dementia from progressing as much as possible, and just keep her comfortable for now. 14 is old for a dog, and we could tell about a year ago that she was slowing down. It's just been the past 6 months that she really has gone downhill and it's just been us managing every new thing that comes up.

When she has moments of aggression, she seems really out of it, like she doesn't know what is going on. That just worries me.
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Old 02-03-2018, 05:29 AM
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I feel for you. I don't have any advice except to say that's how our old girl acted at the same age with dementia. Medication helped with something, I think it was the incontinence and night waking from memory.


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Old 02-03-2018, 04:21 PM
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Unhappy Aww.

.

CCD is sad. I'm sorry to hear U're going thru this with Ur aging dog.

Anipryl has been helpful for many clients' dogs - i've never had a dog who developed CCD, so have no personal experience, but i've cared for / pet-sat / boarded dogs with senile dementia, & with meds, a routine, & a potty-schedule, they did fairly well.

Senior Dog Dementia: 6 Ways to Deal With the Effects

I'd probly get a crate for her, both for night-time sleeping or for daytime confinement while i was at work - but especially at night, for safety's sake.

If she seems very anxious, particularly anxiety-driven night wandering, SSRIs may be helpful.

- terry

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Old 02-05-2018, 10:49 AM
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We've setup up a gate system in the house. I have a multi level split house, so it's been pretty easy to keep her confined without a crate as she's never been in one. The one time she was in a larger kennel at the vet, she flipped out, so a crate would actually cause more problems.

My husband has actually been sleeping in a separate guest room with her in her dog bed. He's convinced she's not going to live much longer so he's just spending as much time with her as he can, as she was his dog for 7 years before my daughter and I came into the picture.

She's not getting aggressive for any particular reason. She'll be sound asleep and just jump up snarling. I honestly don't know if she knows where she is sometimes. I've had family with alzheimer's and that's what it reminds me of.

We've unfortunately had to have the talk about how much more money we are willing to spend on her at this time in her life. Vet bills are not cheap, and we didn't have the option for pet insurance on her like we have our younger dog. It's pretty much going to be just keeping her comfortable, and hopefully there's a medication that will help level her out.

I run my own business from home, so I'm always here with her and my daughter has been helping out too. We are also keeping Baxter at a distance from her unless we are in the same room at the time. Like if we are watching tv and they are both laying on the floor.

The other thing that is just kind of a given with older longer fur dogs is her fur looks so dry right now. She's usually pretty fluffy, and sheds her undercoat this time of year, that is not the case now. We give her a fish oil omega 3, but I think because of the skin problems and the medicated baths we have to give her now, her fur is just not going to improve. I've debated whether or not we should shave her down just to keep it looking somewhat nice, but I worry that would make things worse.

I dunno, it's just no fun, and we knew she was getting old, but it's easier to pretend your dogs will live forever.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:10 AM
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Arrow significant symptoms of CCD / canine dementia

.

i think her aggro is probly due to the dementia - looking confused, spaced-out, or lost, is common in dementia patients, human or non-.

A big tip-off is elder dogs who get 'stuck' in corners, & can't seem to find their way out; this can be dangerous to them, as they may not be able to get to water.
Dehydration in an old dog is very hard on their aging kidneys, so thirst - even for a few hours - isn't good. . So far IME, every senior dog who's been getting 'stuck' in corners was Dx'ed with CCD.

The Anipryl often helped keep them oriented, reduced anxiety symptoms, & helped them function - but i don't know how much it costs, as these weren't my dogs, & Rx costs didn't come up in conversation. // We just talked about their dogs, & how they - dog & humans - were doing.

- terry

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Old 02-05-2018, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chibicricket View Post
We've setup up a gate system in the house. I have a multi level split house, so it's been pretty easy to keep her confined without a crate as she's never been in one. The one time she was in a larger kennel at the vet, she flipped out, so a crate would actually cause more problems.

My husband has actually been sleeping in a separate guest room with her in her dog bed. He's convinced she's not going to live much longer so he's just spending as much time with her as he can, as she was his dog for 7 years before my daughter and I came into the picture.

She's not getting aggressive for any particular reason. She'll be sound asleep and just jump up snarling. I honestly don't know if she knows where she is sometimes. I've had family with alzheimer's and that's what it reminds me of.

We've unfortunately had to have the talk about how much more money we are willing to spend on her at this time in her life. Vet bills are not cheap, and we didn't have the option for pet insurance on her like we have our younger dog. It's pretty much going to be just keeping her comfortable, and hopefully there's a medication that will help level her out.

I run my own business from home, so I'm always here with her and my daughter has been helping out too. We are also keeping Baxter at a distance from her unless we are in the same room at the time. Like if we are watching tv and they are both laying on the floor.

The other thing that is just kind of a given with older longer fur dogs is her fur looks so dry right now. She's usually pretty fluffy, and sheds her undercoat this time of year, that is not the case now. We give her a fish oil omega 3, but I think because of the skin problems and the medicated baths we have to give her now, her fur is just not going to improve. I've debated whether or not we should shave her down just to keep it looking somewhat nice, but I worry that would make things worse.

I dunno, it's just no fun, and we knew she was getting old, but it's easier to pretend your dogs will live forever.
I know how hard it is to watch them slowly fade away due to CCD. It's the dog equivalent of Alzheimer and we lose them while they are still with us. The look like our dog, but they no longer act like him or her, and towards the end they no longer recognize us. When I had Shadow I willingly swam in the River Denial, and I hated when something new would crop up with him to remind me of just how old he had gotten and how far the CCD had progressed. Forgetting housetraining, forgetting known cues, getting trapped in narrow spaces, nightime pacing, and at the very end forgetting me. I just handled each thing as it came up, and I know you and your husband will too. It sounds like y'all think like I did, our beloved dog gave us the best of themselves all their lives and we owe it to them to care for them in their old age even if they are no longer the same dog.

Keep an eye out for other health problems, and when you notice that any pain she may have cannot be controlled, she's having problems standing and walking, or her appetite starts to wane and nothing works to revive it, it'll be time to let her go. Shadow passed away because he stopped eating, the CCD may have contributed, but I'll never really know, I didn't feel it was fair to him to put him through a bunch of test and neither did my vet, so we opted to try medicine which didn't help.

Try eggs and virgin, unrefined, coconut oil for her coat. Both are supposed to help with dry coat. Start her out on very little and work your way up to the full amount you can use for her weight so that you don't overload her system and cause her to be sick. I would't shave her down, I'm thinking that it will likely stress her out and may do more harm then good.
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:46 PM
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I'm so sorry this is happening! While I really hate to say this, I think it is her time.
Based on what you've said, I believe you know that too and I just want you to know that it really is the kind choice and doesn't mean you're giving up on her. You could try more treatments and drag it out but at best, it's only going to slow things down. She has lived a long life full of love and even if I know you want more time, I'm sure you don't want the end of that happy life to be like this.

She sounds so much like my old dog Cassie who passed away in 2016 from cancer. Like your dog, she was always such a sweetie but not super cuddly - she just wanted to be near her people and watch the world go by. My family got her when I was 6 and I was 21 when she passed so it felt like a part of me died with her. She pretty much followed me around everywhere from the moment we got her and it was so terrifying when I had to make that final choice for her. The moment I truly knew it was time was when she'd been declining significantly for about a month, and she started staying in one spot on the kitchen floor rather the following me everywhere; she would try sometimes but just couldn't seem to get comfortable anywhere else. She also had some cognitive issues (never aggression, though sadly the dog I had after her did when her liver disease caught up to her) and would go to the bathroom in the house or get confused about where the doors were. It was very sad to watch and I knew she wouldn't want to live that way when she was always the type of dog who wanted to be aware of her surroundings (we used to joke about how we never seemed to really see her sleep, she'd be dozing but the second someone moved she was back on alert and ready to go).

The questions I think you need to ask are: is your sweet girl happy with how things are now, will she continue to be happy if this is the best it ever gets from here on out, and can she do the things she loves to do without pain or stress? The last one can be a hard question to answer when the things your dog really loves and values aren't the "standard" things like playing with their toys or going for walks. Cassie just wanted to follow me around and be with me, and she wanted to keep an eye on everything, and go outside some during the day and sniff around/bark at things/etc. She would get so excited for food/treats and watched me intently when I cooked every night. And she liked to roll around on her back on the carpet being silly. By the end she wasn't interested in doing any of those things and really wasn't capable of doing any of them either.

Most importantly, I feel like if she had gotten aggressive that truly would have been the last thing she would have wanted. She never wanted to hurt her family and just seemed to love us all so much and care about our safety. She would not have wanted to hurt me or put me at risk (or put my parents or their dog at risk when we lived with them). I'm sure your dog would not want that either. Right now this poor sweet girl poses a real danger to your family (including your other dog, who may end up needing to defend themselves at some point) and to herself, and I just can't see that being a happy way for her to live out the rest of her days. Would she want to risk ever biting your husband again (even if she didn't break skin), or spend her days growling at her canine friend to go away? Would she want to put your daughter or you or your new baby in any sort of scary or harmful situation? I'm sure it's hard to even picture the dog you know and love doing that. But she's showing aggression because, at least in those moments, she's not herself and doesn't really understand what's going on around her, so you can't count on her being the sweet dog you love so much when she just doesn't understand what she's doing or why. That's so sad for her and your family and it's not her fault at all, but you can't set aside the fact that it's also very dangerous with a baby in the house soon. And I can't imagine that's how you want to remember her when she's gone, or how she'd want to say goodbye.

Please speak with your vet about this and seriously consider whether prolonging her life with treatment is the right choice. Enjoy the time you have left with her and make some happy memories in these last days - but don't feel you need to keep pushing it if deep down you know it will only drag out her suffering until the good life she had and the dog you loved for so long is far behind you. I'm sending warm thoughts to you all and I'm so sorry again for the pain you must feel. My heart especially aches for your daughter - there's nothing like the love you feel for your childhood dog, but I'm sure she has so many wonderful memories to carry with her always. I know that no matter what you choose, your dog is so lucky to have a family like yours who has loved and cherished her these last 14 years of her life. I don't say all of this to be cynical or to sound like I'm judging whatever choice you end up making. I just know that the times I've had to say goodbye, I didn't always see clearly what others could see from the outside. I'm really grateful I have a vet who was honest and direct that it was time to start asking those questions even when it was devastating to hear. I needed that "permission" to think about it without feeling I was betraying my dog somehow or giving up. If you feel you need that permission too, here it is. You aren't giving up, you're working hard to give your dog a happy ending - and I wish you all the best in doing that.
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