Posting here for my sister, who is nearly at her wits' end with an older dog who's recently developed serious anxiety.
The dog's a 10-ish year old lab mix, spayed female. She's always been a model citizen and super easy to be around. The past couple of years it became obvious she was losing her hearing and some vision but she seemed to cope without issue.
A few months ago, she quickly developed a case of anxiety. Some separation anxiety when the family leaves (she has a dog friend with normal, unchanged behaviors) but primarily outburts at bedtime and throughout the night. She paces, pants heavily, and paws at everyone in bed incessently. She cannot be left outside, crated or closed up as she is out of her mind tearing at the doors and destroying her surroundings. They haven't slept in months.
The dog's had multiple, complete workups at the vet. Within the last year she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure (in the very, very early stages) and had a total workup and ultrasound with a cardiologist. She has had her regular senior exam, CBC's, bloodwork to check thyroid/liver/kidney function, xrays, physical exams, etc. following the onset of anxiety.
The only anomoly on her results is a slightly low thyroid. She's being treated with prescription meds as hypothyroid, despite the fact she's always been very trim and in fact has lost something like 6 lbs on her 46 lb frame. They gave the meds a few weeks to work and retested with little change. The vets then added Prozac to attempt to combat the anxiety.
Still no improvement. The dog's still losing weight and panicing at night. The vets are looking to refer her on.. but to where? What kind of specialist? Behaviorist? They would also like to put her on a sedative so the family can rest. They literally cannot sleep. The vet's recommended ace. Thoughts on a better option that's compatable with the psychotropic drugs? Other suggestions on what else they can work up? ANY help would be much appreciated!
I think they need to find what is causing the weight loss. That seems very suspicious to me. For sure get another opinion. Until then, her symptoms are also consistant with pain. If anxiety meds don't work, maybe try pain meds.
Our old lady Labrador was pretty much the same at the end of her life. We learned after the fact that tramadol and alprazolam are not compatible, and in fact made her worse. Tramadol alone seems to help our other old dog, both with pain to some extent and just to let her sleep soundly. I would imagine you've already tried that.
We finally decided that our old lady dog was just not enjoying this life any more and didn't have to stay here any longer. She got to the point where she never relaxed and would hurt herself when she had her panic attacks. No fun for anyone to find 90 lb of Labrador stuck in the bathtub.