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Dog Dementia? Anyone with experiences to share?

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  • Dog Dementia? Anyone with experiences to share?

    Hi All,

    I have posted here before about my Pit Bull, Cayden. We are having some issues. I got a full blood work up/chem panel done on him and everything checked out fine or close enough to normal to not be alarming, except he had some hookworms which we treated. However, I had all that done because he is off. Just not right. Basic rundown of things that have changed or are not his normal behavior:

    He has been having accidents in the house
    Rolling in nasty stuff (not normal for him)
    He stares off into space often and seems to "check out"
    He goes off and on his food - will eat normal one day then will just pick at it another day
    He has been chewing on stuff and getting into things he never used to get into - like he never used to beg or steal food that was sitting around but now he does it often
    He is increasingly getting more and more nervous/anxious/timid
    He doesn't come when called as responsively as he used to - ex: the other day he ran into the neighbors yard and instead of coming when I called him, he kept wandering around and wound up pooping in their yard then ran away from me (knowing I was angry he didn't listen, I'm sure)

    I've had to start crating him again when we are not home and at night because otherwise he pees on the carpet and sometimes poops on the carpet as well.

    He just is not his normal self. He's never been a "normal" dog but he is getting more strange as the days pass. Of course, my mom worries that with him being a Pittie, that he will snap one day and go crazy. I don't see that happening - he doesn't have a mean bone in his body - but I am seriously concerned that he could be experiencing early dementia.

    He still recognizes family members, he still knows commands, etc.... but the signs are starting to point to dementia to me... Vet is still puzzled, doesn't really know what could be going on and I don't have several thousands of dollars to do MRIs and Cat Scans and take him to a Vet Neurologist...

    So, basically, does anyone have experience with dog dementia? Does this sound like the beginning of it? Is treatment effective?

  • #2
    I had a Yorkie with this 12 years ago. He did the "checking out" thing. He was blind but still managed to get around well. The thing that made me take him to the vet was when he started walking circles and bumping into things. That is when I took him in and we got the diagnosis.

    He had one day that was really, really bad and his anxiety level was really high and he was endlessly circling. That is the day I had him PTS.
    Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
    Bernard M. Baruch


    • #3
      I and some other posters had good results with anipryl. It's also VERY affordable and at least with my dog, worked pretty quickly.


      • Original Poster

        Thank you Mara & Amwrider. I will have to call the vet and see about getting an Anipryl prescription. It probably won't hurt him anyway and at this point is worth trying. He's only about 6 1/2-7 yrs old so it stinks to think that he may already be exhibiting dementia, but that is the only thing I can come up with. I was thinking he'd had a stroke but strokes are really rare in dogs and typically end up killing the dog not too long after the actual stroke according to my vet. Which leaves dementia. *Sigh*


        • #5
          Strokes aren't all that rare in dogs (or not at least working for a neurologist.) He is a little young for dementia...he may have a brain tumor (doesn't have to be cancer, at this age usually a menengioma. I just took a 6 year old dog to an MRI last week that was having behavior changes and that is what he had as well. Most of us don't have the money for an MRI, but if you see a neurologist, you can medically treat the right thing. Maybe if the anipryl doesn't help?


          • #6
            Originally posted by Beckham03 View Post
            Strokes aren't all that rare in dogs (or not at least working for a neurologist.) He is a little young for dementia...he may have a brain tumor (doesn't have to be cancer, at this age usually a menengioma. I just took a 6 year old dog to an MRI last week that was having behavior changes and that is what he had as well. Most of us don't have the money for an MRI, but if you see a neurologist, you can medically treat the right thing. Maybe if the anipryl doesn't help?
            I agree - he seems too young for dementia. Very young. I would get a referral to a neurologist. There is nothing saying you have to persue any diagnostics, but talking to someone with more knowledge than a regular vet is a good idea. They may be able to give you different drug trials, and "probable" diagnoses with (hopefully) a good treatment plan.


            • Original Poster

              I will see if I can get an estimate on prices from the canine neurologist ... though even the $300 vet bill for all the bloodwork put a huge dent in my bank account so I just don't know if I can afford to take him in for tests that may not show anything. An MRI might be the best bet if I could get one done reasonably. Will have to do some research.


              • #8
                NOVAFIT is another drug for cognitive function. My daughter is trying it on her 14 1/2 yr old border collie. She has seen some improvement. He has a multitude of problems due to old age. She is just trying to give him the best quality in the time he has left.


                • #9
                  What part of KY are you in? My clinic also runs a clinic in Cinci and I used to work for the neurologist who is there. She is a very nice, caring doctor...and would be honest with you and not push you into stuff you don't want to do or could not afford. I would drive there and trust her with my own dogs.


                  • Original Poster

                    I am actually back in PA - SE PA (Chester County) actually. Thank you though!

                    Side note, he peed in the family room again this evening. We are all here, he had just gone out a bit before, and I go out there and he had peed on the carpet. He then proceeded to sit on the rug and zone out - sat down, took a step forward then backward with his front legs, put his head almost to the ground and started moving it side to side. When my mom called my name so I could come see him doing it, he perked up and then when she said his name, he turned and looked at her - so hearing my name must have zapped him out of it. IDK It is just so bizarre and really worries me.


                    • #11
                      I think before you set your mind towards a MRI, go talk to a neurologist. Nerve defecits, which can be done by physical exam (no imaging) can also tell you a lot whats going on. Doing your own research is fine, but often you will get extreme right and left wings. Consult fees are generally very affordable, well worth the money to have someone that has a specialty in veterinary neurology put their hands on your dog.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                        I think before you set your mind towards a MRI, go talk to a neurologist. Nerve defecits, which can be done by physical exam (no imaging) can also tell you a lot whats going on. Doing your own research is fine, but often you will get extreme right and left wings. Consult fees are generally very affordable, well worth the money to have someone that has a specialty in veterinary neurology put their hands on your dog.
                        This. I think consults here are still around $188, just to give you a ballpark figure. They may not even recommend an MRI...but at least it would get you heading in the right direction.


                        • #13
                          It could be depression - the lack of interest, lack of wanting to obey, running off, gazing off... Like children, dogs will do strange things when they are depressed.. including projecting their personal problems by being disobedient. Do you work with him often? Giving him something structured to do even 10 minutes a day can make a world of a difference. I have a 3 yr old that isn't himself if you don't take 10 minutes out of your day to make him feel like he is an individual (I have a small pack myself) so when I get coffee in the morning he comes along as the designated co-pilot. It keeps him dapper and makes him feel valuable - and if I don't do it he's a glowering giant mess.

                          On a more serious note, it could also be a stroke - which could affect everything from cognitive function to hearing: he's young, but that's not too young for a stroke. Also have him checked for cancer/lymphoma - it can happen in any life stage in any dog, and some of the symptoms you listed could be part of it. His appetite changing and his demeanor changing all point to something "wrong" - since he can't tell you, you'll have to find out yourself.
                          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                          • #14
                            Our almost 16 year old JRT seems to be increasingly senile. Still very into food, but sleeps deeply for long periods of time. She will go up to us, and beg to be petted, but sometimes when we do she gets violent and aggressive. Usually she can find the doggie door and the backyard, but she's had a few "accidents." Vet has her on some meds, but I don't remember the name, and am honestly too tired to get up and look right now. It's been that kind of day.
                            It's 2017. Do you know where your old horse is?

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