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wolfpup

Living with doggie dementia

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I've been saying (jokingly) for around 9 months that Lunar had doggie dementia  -  it was confirmed last month.   It does not help that he is also rapidly going deaf.   During the day he sleeps the sleep of the dead, almost impossible to wake him  (and its not worth it when we do)  but at  night he is pacing constantly, panting heavily and whining.   

For the last week hubby has been going to bed at 6pm to try and get some sleep, then when I go to bed he comes downstairs to stay with Lunar and tries to get a little sleep on the settee.   He sometimes gets around an hour between 12 - 3am if he is lucky -  but he usually has to take the dogs out for a walk around 3am  in order to try and settle Lunar down.

Our vet prescribed epiphen, but it is next to useless,  so I started researching & networking (again).

I have got Lunar on  Hawthorn Plus  to try and increase blood flow to the brain, and also invested in some Alpha Lipoic acid (antioxidant) as well as getting dried spinach, powdering it and add a teaspoon a day to his meals  (very high in Alpha lipoic acid). He is also getting fresh salmon and a fresh herring - alternating daily - to up his Omega 3 intake, I usually give the dogs a teaspoon of coconut oil with their meals but have upped Lunar's to around a dessertspoonful.    I emailed my vet 3 days ago to ask him about giving Lunar melatonin, as I've read that it does settle many dogs - and reduces the 'sundowner' syndrome  -  I waited for two days for a reply then bought some from vetmed specifically formulated for dogs, still waiting for it to arrive - hopefully today.

The vets contacted me just now on another matter so I raised the question again, mentioning that Andrew had not come back to me  -  at that point she interrupted me saying that Andrew had just walked into reception and to wait a second,   he immediately took the phone from her and said he had just been trying to ring me but the phone was engaged.    He agreed that the melatonin was a good idea - but said to double the recommended dose.   He said to try it for one month as it can take a while to build up in the system, but if that did not work then he would put Lunar on (not going to spell this right)  Vitofyllin -  is what it sounded like.    Evidently when things get really bad there is a drug called Xanax  which helps to stop the pacing but I want to avoid drugging my poor baby into insensibility if I can.

Physically he is still good for his age - 13.5yo,  loves his walks although recently he is slowing down a bit, - and still loves his food, and on occasions will even try to join in on games  -  but he was never a dog for playing ball etc  even as a pup.   He has trouble with getting on the settee/bed/stairs  and occasionally his back legs just give out on him but overall he is fine.    He gets confused easily, gets trapped in corners etc, but he is getting a little short tempered on occasion - which is totally out of character for him  -  Utonagans are known for being non aggressive.

He is also getting less tolerant of Marley's energy and playfulness - although when in the mood will still romp in the garden with him, chase him around and playfight  -  but I am worried about a real conflict between them.  They have had only two 'set-to's'  the first one was when Marley was round 10 months old and one around 6 months later.   On both occasions Lunar came off very much the worse.   Marley is totally non aggressive  -  but will finish anything Lunar starts  and last time Lunar had over an inch long gash just beneath his left eye.

Lunar still recognises me each and every time, he always greets me with a tail wag whenever he sees me (and as I am at home all day this is a lot), but on occasion he looks at hubby as if he is wondering who this is.   It's been a bit of a trying week as we have had workmen in  -  repointing the front of the house, taking down two sheds and building another one  -  hopefully they will finish today.   It takes Lunar around 4 hours to stop barking at them, to get used to them being around  -  but the next day we are back at square one, he has forgotten that they are allowed in the back garden.

I've had a little experience with human dementia  - but no experience of doggie dementia.   Have joined a facebook group and they have been very helpful in suggesting things I had not thought of that worked for them - at least for a while anyway.   At the moment I think that whilst he is still enjoying his walks and food  (they evidently start to forget how to eat) and is still recognising us, and is not walking around in circles  (another sign of late stage dementia) then  we continue with trying to cope with his 'sundowner' syndrome,  peeing and pooping in the kitchen  - at least its confined to the kitchen for some reason (thankfully).  

It's one thing to contemplate putting a beloved companion down due to illness - like Angel with her cancer  -  but how do you really  know when it time to call time - when its the mind that is sick?     I certainly won't wait until he gets to the stage I've seen some poor animals at.   In reality I hope his legs give out before his mind does   -   but I know its only going to get worse as time goes on. 

My baby does not deserve this cruel end.

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Oh bless you, poor luna
It sounds like you are doing everything you possibly can hope the meds kick in and help


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Sorry to hear this, I hope the supplements will help him.

Xanax is similar to diazepam (a benzo) which is probably why they won’t entertain it until right at the later stages.

I’ve heard of people using melatonin in aid of sleep and depression, so fingers crossed it helps 🤞🏼

 

 

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Very sorry to read of Lunar's plight - it can't be easy for you or her, though I guess she has the blessing of not really being aware of it all. Can't really offer any suggestions and you certainly seem to have a good handle on the whole situation - though do have friends who's dog had dementia and went through very much similar circumstances, so I could ask them any specific questions you have (the specifics that I remember are the toileting wherever he happened to be and potato being a key ingredient to his meals)

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Sorry to hear this, you are doing all the right things for him and I hope Lunar starts to settle, my son had melatonin for his ADHD to help him sleep and it helped.


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21 hours ago, Markulous said:

Very sorry to read of Lunar's plight - it can't be easy for you or her, though I guess she has the blessing of not really being aware of it all. Can't really offer any suggestions and you certainly seem to have a good handle on the whole situation - though do have friends who's dog had dementia and went through very much similar circumstances, so I could ask them any specific questions you have (the specifics that I remember are the toileting wherever he happened to be and potato being a key ingredient to his meals)

Why potato?   This has not come up in my research (and believe me I've done a lot).    If you can ask them I would be very grateful.

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2 hours ago, wolfpup said:

Why potato?   This has not come up in my research (and believe me I've done a lot).    If you can ask them I would be very grateful.

I will check with them but I'm fairly certain it was for his digestive system which was not functioning well - and potato was one of the few things he could tolerate as a filler/base ingredient

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I feel so bad you are going through all this and LUNAR. Follow the Vet's advice with the Melatonin for another month. Has the Vet done full lab work on LUNAR??
I pray for strength and hope LUNAR can show improvement and get through this.


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4 hours ago, ARMANI & ALINAH said:

I feel so bad you are going through all this and LUNAR. Follow the Vet's advice with the Melatonin for another month. Has the Vet done full lab work on LUNAR??
I pray for strength and hope LUNAR can show improvement and get through this.
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I am ringing for another appointment tomorrow morning to get him in as soon as I can -  he has been getting urinary incontinent  -  but today its awful, running out of him as he is walking around, if he is sleeping he gets up and leaves a puddle behind him.  I have done research that suggests HRT can help.

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It's as I suggested, Chrissie, with respect to the potato

Yeah he had potatoes as they were easy to tolerate but also his gut became insufficient at digesting food and was sending it back out whole.He had a powder that slowed down the gut so it was digested better.As far as the dementia goes he was on fish oils and a herbalish pill called activate......lots of other people use different drugs.I think vivatonin was one but Sully had to have the least chemical one because of his kidney failure.Besides all the other things he has wrong the dementia was by far the worst......Just like a person......confusion.Getting lost in the middle of a room.Not recognising any of us as his family then eventually the messages stopped getting through from brain to body so slowly packed in.There is a group on fb that was good.Ill find it in a sec for you.Ive hidden the group because the updates were so sad 😪

 
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On 8/13/2018 at 9:19 AM, Markulous said:

Activate

I belong to the main ' dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction ' group.    Saw a different vet yesterday as mine is on holiday for 3 weeks.    He prescribed the vitofyllin  -  but low dose and only two weeks worth  -  although saying it can take up to 8 weeks to notice a difference.   The melatonin arrived today  -  the vet checked yesterday in his chemical reactions book and confirmed that I can give the melatonin (melacutin) as well as the vitofyllin.

Really hope the melatonin works  -   last night was pretty horrendous for hubby  -  I took a Nytol I was so desperate for sleep.    Aktivait has a good reputation  -   but now Lunar is on the vitofyllin I want to see if this works first.   

The vitofyllin is to improve the brain, cognitive awareness and hopefully to reduce the confusion.   £50 for (visit and 2 weeks supply)

Melatonin -  doggie sleeping tablet !  to try and redress the sundowner syndrome and try to bring normal sleeping  patterns back (reversed at present)  £30 plus postage  -  one month supply

Hawthorn Plus  -  increases blood flow to the brain  £28 plus postage

Alpha Lipoic Acid  -  strong antioxidant   £8 plus postage

Spinach  -  powdered one teaspoon daily  -  high in alpha lipoic acid   £10 plus postage  -  around 1-2 month supply

cbd oil  -  liquid gold  -  mainly for his arthritis - but some on the forum are using it for CCD  £15 plus postage

Riaflex canine joint plus   £28 for 3 months supply plus postage

Riaflex  Devil's alternative    £30 plus postage

Maxxicalm tablets  £28  -  did not work last night !  Mind you it only arrived yesterday.    The Melatonin will replace this - but can use it during the day.

In addition he is now on  a high omega 3 diet  -  salmon one day and herring the next  in addition to his normal raw meat diet.

I know I got something else as well  - but cannot think what it is  - just got to wait till it arrives.

After Sunday's awful day with bladder leakages I ordered a doggie wrap  (nappy)  which arrives today  -  although yesterday it wasn't so bad  just back to the dribbles - not the puddles.   The main reason for this is to try and reduce any acid burn on the skin from the leaking urine  (this one wicks away the urine from the skin)

The costs are mounting on my small pension  -  if hubby had any inclination he would have a duck-fit !   I am responsible for all vet fees, medication, dog food (its my choice to feed high quality raw).   I am going down to my son's for a week on the 23rd of this month  -  but have already used up my spending money  -  thankfully I have already bought my tickets!

I'll keep you posted guys

 

On 8/13/2018 at 9:19 AM, Markulous said:

 

 

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Update on Lunar.     GOOD NEWS !

The Melatonin  (Melacutin) did not work  -  in fact it appeared to make him worse.   When I needed more Vitofyllin  (only had 2 weeks worth) I nearly had a duckfit at the cost  -  66p per tablet and he is on  2  a day plus a £5.50  'prescription fee'.   I asked for a written prescription (£10.50) and one week's supply.   I searched online and found that Viovet sold them at 40p each  for the 100mg.  The prescription was for 6 months and I ordered two months worth.

He is also on Amitryptiline   2 a day at night.

A couple of weeks ago I took him back to the vet as neither hubby or I were sleeping and we were at the end of our collective tethers.  The vet could see the state I was in (no amount of makup could disguise the black bags under my swollen eyes).  He gave me a 7 day supply of sedative type medication.  Said to give one tablet at 9pm and if by 11pm he had not fallen asleep to give him another one, but not to give any more for 24 hours.   I did exactly as I was told and on the Friday evening gave him one tablet and then 2 hours later I gave him the other one as he appeared to be slightly more agitated than usual.   He eventually went to sleep around midnight Friday.

He came round sufficiently to be able to stand precariously on Sunday afternoon !    Needless to say we were back at the vet's waiting for them to open at 8am on Monday.

It turned out that in very rare occurances dogs can be hyper-sensitive to the drug  -  and Lunar is one of those dogs (of course he is).    I asked if we could try vallium (diazipam) and the vet agreed and gave me 2 weeks worth to try.

He is still on the:  Hawthorn Plus (increases blood flow to the brain)  - but I am now making my own for 1/4  of the cost,  the Alpha Lipoic Acid  and the  Spinach,  also the fresh sardines and salmon for the Omega 3. 

In addition I have him on Organic Brahmi powder  (Bacopa) which basically is for clarifying the mind and encouraging a balanced emotional state.  He is also on Organic Gotu Kola  (an adaptogen) which offers support for the nervous system, promotes a calm mind and sound sleep, lifts mood and promotes mental clarity.  It also increases circulation to the brain and nourishes the nervous system.

Marked improvement.   He can again get up and down stairs without collapsing halfway.  For the last three nights he has slept upstairs and through the night – which means hubby is no longer on the settee downstairs and we have slept too!   He occasionally initiates a play session with Marley (twice yesterday).  He is no longer continually incontinent – just a very occasional small drip  -  he is back to asking to go outside to pee.   Thanks to the diazepam he goes to sleep (wakes occasionally but settles down quickly again, - he no longer paces all night whining and panting heavily) but is still up and ready to go for his 4am walk – even making it as far as the park again  -  around 1.5 - 2 miles round trip -  before he had gotten to the stage where he struggled to get round the block.    

His eyes are brighter and he is far more ‘engaged’.   I estimate he is back to somewhere close to 90% the dog he used to be – before he was around 20%.   He no longer gets trapped in corners and unable to think his way out of them.   He still sleeps a lot during the day but I can wake him easily - and he is awake for much longer periods during the day than he was.   He has even started to pester Socks (our cat) playfully again  -  much to Sock's displeasure.   Socks no longer stays upstairs during the day - he has full run of the house at all times  -  and enjoys the 'paddock' we created for Angel so he can go outside.   He hadn't been outside for around 8 years (his choice) because he was scared  -  but the approx 12ft x 10ft enclosure is just right for him and on sunny days he sits outside on Angel's chair and waches the dogs in the garden along with all the birds, knowing nothing can get to him.

We are constantly surprised at Lunar's progression and improvement over the last few weeks -  he is no longer grumpy (well no more than he ever was before the dementia), plays more, even remembers his name around 50% of the time  -  we have to remember he is going deaf so it could be that he just does not hear us sometimes.   He even tries to trick me into giving him treats again,  he asks to go out to pee,  just stands there for a few minutes (not knowing I am watching from the kitchen) then comes back in and sits down by the treat box looking happy and expectantly at me.  Cheeky boy!

I know it is the vet meds and the additional supplements, - but I have my baby back to almost where he was 12 months ago.   3 months ago he appeared to be a very old dog  - now he is back to appearing (and behaving) around 8 years old again (he's 13) and Marley has his playmate back for romps around the garden - (which burns off Marley's excess energy thankfully).

I know its not a permanent cure -  but for now he is back to enjoying life to its fullest again  -  what more could any of us ask

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Awww, what a relief for you and to have Lunar back to more or less himself you must feel very happy. You are dedicated to your furbies.


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Like most of us I would go to the ends of the earth and beyond   (feel as though I have done)  😫

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UPDATE  (of a sort)

 

Lunar's ccd is progressing slowly and if anything slightly improving, I am convinced its mainly due to the Gotukola, Bacopa and hawthorn berry tincture. He is currently on the following meds:
VITOFYLLIN
AMYTRYPTILINE
DIAZIPAM
LOXICOM
GABAPENTIN
GOTU KOLA
BACOPA
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
HAWTHORN BERRY TINCTURE
GLUCOSAMINE & CHRONDRITIN
DEVIL'S ALTERNATIVE
 
He has only just started the Gabapentin and Loxicom, because I noticed he was getting more unsteady on his back legs (he will be 14 in 5 days time) - despite the glucosamine & chondritin and the Devil's alternative (devil's claw) for his arthritis. I took him to the vet and her first comment was "he is very unsteady on his front legs - almost no control" - I then said his back legs are worse. After checking him over thoroughly it turns out he has arthritis in all toes, paws, ankles, knees, elbows, and hips & shoulders. In the last 5 days there has been no improvement in his movement so the vet has said to increase the gabapentin.
 
When I first had the diagnosis of ccd last year I asked God to take his legs first (and I am not a praying sort of person as a rule) - as at least I would know when it was time - far easier than with this dreadful disease of the mind. He still enjoys his food, knows us (95% of the time) and really loves walkies ................ for about 150 yards now, then we have to turn back with him let him in the house then continue the walk with our other dog a 3 year old husky. He is never left alone, there is either one of us or our other dog here at all times - and we go out together shopping once a week - hubby does the shopping then rings me to pick him up so we are both gone for a maximum of 15 minutes (I also have arthritis of the spine and cannot stand for too long). Like Lunar I have good days and bad days - so really do understand what he is going through. I know he will tell me when it is time - and it is not yet. It is his 14th birthday on Thursday and we will give him a good party and celebrate his life with us (we are his fourth owners).
 
However I do feel guilty for asking for an 'easy way out' and apparently for the first time having a prayer answered - but I know that he will at least be able to tell me when he wants to go over the bridge - before this disgusting mind disease takes everything away that made my beautiful companion, - him. I really do not think it will be too long - maybe a few months - but they will be months filled with love and caring and when the time comes he will be at home surrounded by his family and his best friend, Marley  will be at his side whilst he crosses over. I can only wish the same for all your furbabies, that they are still able to tell you when it is time to let them go, with dignity.
 
Lunar.thumb.jpg.e147784752b98be281ab7b6fcdf0aa9c.jpgThis is my first sight of Lunar
DSC09149.thumb.JPG.1379b46494085da960ed551974084d10.JPG A few weeks later
1655268199_Lunar(3).thumb.JPG.8123141ddaf4ae62b39e193881959181.JPG As a young adult
552037828_LunarBernie2.thumb.jpg.09b713a0bc765bade9f3acaf13e25e39.jpg  With his old buddy  Bernie   relaxing after a heavy play session
P1010156.thumb.JPG.0399640b498a8e5ff9896e2076797a91.JPG Middle aged Lunar relaxing with current best friend Cane  who came to us aged 10
P1010431.thumb.JPG.3b1fd138d3c0641f1b6945c567ec290f.JPG   Lunar at 11 years old  showing he's still got what it takes to cope with hyperactive new friend Marley
705123689_P1010498-Copy.thumb.JPG.6b266888b4b45bdaa7b7c54ee0752906.JPG Still bright  and playful at  12 1/2 and looking good for his age
P1010942.thumb.JPG.ad91886e42bef933404eb49cc7faa308.JPG  January last year    -  time for a rest after another exhusting play session with Marley
 
In soon to be 14 years there has never been one growl or snarl, let alone bite  -  however I am now having to be very careful with him around our cat  - who he has happily lived with since coming to us as a 12 week old pup   -  I think he sometimes forgets who Socks is and sees him as a stranger.

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Oh dear, I'M so sorry you are going through this with LUNAR. It sounds like he is still doing pretty well with the diagnosis. If he would become in pain or anything like that, he would probably be able to show you signs whether he has this diagnosis or not. I feel as long as he is walking around, eating/drinking fine, pottying fine & seems happy, those are the things that should be of benefit to him and telling you he's still fine. I'll be praying for LUNAR.


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Since the previous post the vets have put him on yet another medication in addition to all his others   -  he is on 8 different tablets and capsules in the evening,  6 in the morning, and 1 at lunchtime.   I am going through tons of cheese - its the easiest way to get him to take all his tablets   -  but of course for every bit of cheese he gets  - Marley also has to have a piece of cheese.    The older he gets, the more important food is to him  -  he eats like a Lab now  -  but I have to be very careful with his weight - I've got him down to 36 kilos  -  the vet would like one more kilo  -  but has said really one kilo would make no difference,  yet every ounce I can get off him must help with his arthritis, its less for him to carry around.

The vet assures me that on these meds he will feel little or no real pain, - but will still feel discomfort and stiffness, and this morning he got his back foot caught up in the wires of my computer - and just stood there,  he could not lift his leg an inch off the ground to get rid of the wire   -  either that or he had forgotten what to do to get his foot free   - even though he has been doing it for years   - its getting difficult to tell now.

He is still enjoying life though   - albeit at a much slower pace,    I will know when it is time  .....................  and its not yet,  but I know it is coming.

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What a truly sad day that’ll be when you have to make that decision. How wonderful you’ve shared 14 years with Lunar, I hope I’m lucky enough to have as many with my 2. Lots of hugs for Lunar


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