Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I've become convinced my dog is senile.
Anyone have any experience with old-age senility in a dog, and if so, have any of you had success treating your pet with anipryl? On Halloween, she'll be 17, and this from a breed with a life expectancy of 15. I just don't know what to expect, but if a medicine will help her be a little less loopy, that'd be nice. I miss her personality. :(

Doglet doesn't recognize people--even me. She sometimes gets confused and just stands and barks at a blank wall. And she seems spacey and disoriented a lot of the time. The good news is that she doesn't seem to be in any pain, but I'd like to see a glimmer of recognition again, and maybe just one little tail wag.

16 comments:

Christina LMT said...

I'm sorry, Phlegmmy! No advice, but all my sympathy.

Hope doglet finds herself soon.

Hammer said...

I'm sorry about your dog. I had one that barked at walls too. I think it was because he was blind and deaf.

Rocket Girl said...

I have not tried anipryl for any of my dogs because it wasn't available to me at the time when I might have needed it. It sounds like it is worth a try.

I too offer my sympathy Phlegmlett.

Charlene said...

Our companion was 16 when he finally died. His breed life expectancy is 10, so we were thrilled to have had him an additional 6 years. The last year of life he lost his hearing, eyesight, ability to recognize me through touch, deterioration of the joints, a general malaise. Before he went "almost blind" (get really close to his eyes and he could see you) he would bark at nothing. We just loved him. We thought about medication, but realized that it would be for us, not for him. He was fine, we were the ones wanting him to be something different. So my advice to you is this...love your pal. Touch often, cuddle, massage those sore spots, feed soft foods, watch for incontinence. Let her be and prepare yourself to let her go :)

Rabbit said...

We considered it for the Aussie, but she'd had a stroke at age 17. She was with us another 2 years. She exhibited the same symptoms...barking at 'nothing', wandering through the house without a clear indication of purpose and such.

I'd think Anipryl or any other dopamine reuptake inhibitor would be helpful, as Anapryl is believed to selectively keep dopamine from being broken down across the neuronal junction. They call it 'doggie Prozac' for a reason.

I'd certainly consider talking to your vet about it- if you're still looking for another vet, I'd suggest the one in Frisco I emailed you about some months ago. He's got somewhat of a specialty practice and might be more inclined to go along than some 'traditionalist', old-school vets.

Hugs.

Regards,
Rabbit.

staghounds said...

Doglet looks like a Jack Russell. I've had nine and known dozens. The MEDICAL life expectancy might be 15 years, but that's if you insulate the critter from the world with which it chooses to interact.

What with big dogs to discipline, dark places to investigate, and physics experiments with gravity, speed, and their interface, 15 is an oooold JRT.

I've seen very old dogs get senile, and it's just as you describe.

You might not get the tail wag or the recognition, but it's in there even so. Doglet just can't connect the big noisy thing you seem to be with the companion of her life any more.

It's a tough place for both of you, my condolences.

phlegmfatale said...

christina - well, I'm thinking I may have to resign myself to her being a little ghost of herself. Thanks, though

hammer - she seems blind and deaf a lot of the time, actually

charlene - i'm cuddling her all i can

rabbit - thanks for the advice. I do want her comfortable, but I also don't want her stupefied, poor little lamb. I'll keep all that in mind

staghounds - she IS a JRT, and the day after 14th birthday, she got run over by a car. If I'd let her have her way, she would have been killed probably about 100 times over. She was always a maniac escape artist. As much as I have been able, I have sheltered her. That intrepid spirit does tend to put a damper on the life span. Thanks. If I'm supposed to be critical thinker in the relationship, it seems I need to just adjust to her changes and try to make her ascomfortable as possible. I'll always love her. She'll always be my baby doglet. Thanks for the kind words.

phlegmfatale said...

rocketgirl - Thanks, honey!

Kim Carney said...

Phlegmlett, that rocks rocket girl!

I cant believe she is almost 17, that is incredible! Well, Scooter would sit and bark at walls, or just bark at nothing, he couldnt see me, but he did recognize ...

that's tough! I am sorry!

phlegmfatale said...

kimmer - thanks, honey. It's hard, but I'm so grateful i've had her this long.

Rabbit said...

Oh, I didn't mean it'd zombify her- I mean that it'll smooth her little wrinkled brain out and she'll be more like she was.

I'm a big believer in SSRI/SDRI neurochemistry, in appropriate situations. Myself, for example :D

I'd sure look into it for her, even as a trial run.

Regards,
Rabbit.

Buck said...

My condolences, too, Phlegmmy. I've been through the aged-dog experience (with a 16 year old and a 15 year old), but the symptoms were ALL physical, not mental. That was painful enough, for all of us. Best of luck to you and the Doglet.

Dedicated_Dad said...

A couple of years ago, I had to say goodbye to the biggest, dumbest, goofiest, happiest, most lovable old Labrador the Lord ever put on the planet.

He was The Boy's Dog. He developed a breathing problem that the Vet told us frankly would kill him. He advised we "do the right thing."

The Boy, now grown, told me he'd kill ME if I killed his dog.

Thankfully, he was home on Leave when Duke decided to make his exit. It was ugly -- I'd have preferred to prevent what happened -- but necessary. The Boy made the decision, we called the Vet, and he did what needed to be done at midnight in a light rain.

I told you all of that so I could tell you this: Ol' Duke was pretty much catatonic at this point, gasping and struggling for each breath. As the shot entered his vein, his eyes cleared for a few seconds, he glanced up at me and the boy and wagged his tail.

When we talked about it later -- when we were ABLE to talk about it later -- The Boy and I both had the same belief. We both knew that Duke, in his way, had said "Thank You" when we ended his suffering. We both heard it as if it had been spoken aloud.

Sometimes it still hits me -- entering our house has never seemed "right" without the sound of his massive tail slapping the wall or the floor when I come through the door.

We still miss him, probably always will, but we know we did the right thing. That said, it would be easier if we didn't have the ugly memory of his last, horrible hours.

The Boy gets it too, and both apologized for his previous statements and swore he'd never make another Dog suffer because he couldn't let go.

I wish I could have saved him that experience as well, though he'd never have understood without it. Maybe it was necessary.

It's never going to get easier to do what I had to do, and I know now that I'd feel a lot less guilty if he hadn't suffered as he did at the end. Boy, too.

On the other hand, the world's coolest Cat showed up one day and announced that she'd moved in, whether we liked it or not. I'm not a cat person, but she's become my bestest Bud. We move on, and find someone else to love.

My advice is to do what's best for Doglet. They depend on us to do all the things they can't do for themselves, including making the decision to protect them from unnecessary suffering. You'll know when it's time, and the rest of us will be here to console and pray for you.

G*d bless...

DD

schnoobie said...

oh phlemmy...my sympathies....she sounds a lot like my grammma except for the barking.(84 in Altzheimers unit) Sounds like she's had a big fat life all the way around. Hope the drugs help return her to her usual bitch-self. Snugs to bof a ya!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It's so difficult when your pets age. I have no dog experience but our old cat did become quite demented. As long as they are physically happy though...

Myron said...

So sorry to read this one. I know you'll do what's best for Doglet. You always have. And she's a lucky Doglet to have you for a hooman. Just keep her as comfortable and safe as you can, which I know you will.