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Doggy Dementia - Does anyone have experience?

(7 Posts)
walkthedinosaur Tue 29-Sep-09 08:33:09

This probably sounds stupid but I'm really starting to get to the end of my tether now and it's wearing me down.

I have a very old springer spaniel, she's 16, but apart from the odd day of ill health this year she's fighting fit and very happy but she has most obviously lost her marbles.

The worst thing for me is she's obviously forgotten why she's taken for walks, I let her out this morning, she did a wee and then legged it back home, literally didn't want to stay out any longer. Got in the house did the DC's breakfasts and she'd pooed over the hallway. Cleaned it up. Took DC's to school let dog out again when I got back and before I came upstairs to work, been up here 30 mins, got a nasty niff of something and she's pooed again. The thing is this is happening two or three times a day, and it doesn't matter how many times I walk her she's still messing in the house.

She's obsessed with eating. She has killed a house plant. I'm studying in connection with work, she literally climbed onto the dining room table and got my homework and ate the paper, yesterday she had found a ballon belonging to the DC's, this morning it was a carrier bag that the new yellow pages had been in, always grass whenever we go out, she'll raid the bin if I don't lock her out of the kitchen, then of course she's sick and I have more cleaning to do. I literally have a bucket filled with water all day just to clean up after her. She was never a chewer as a puppy.

She has something like OCD, must pace a particular route around the house, has got to check every corner.

It probably sounds really stupid but this constant cleaning up of dog poo and sick is really doing my head in. I can't have house guests becuase the dog will poo when they're here and as I say I can take her out loads of times she doesn't do anything. The DC's can't leave the door to the garden open when they play outside, because she'll sneak outside to steal apples from the ground eat grass (or worse, the longer it's been dead the better) it's like she can't remember that she's been fed. I've even taken to feeding her twice a day but that's not working either.

If anybody has been in a similar situation I'd be happy to hear from you. DH thinks we should take her to the vet and have her put to sleep, but as I say she's happy in herself. I've had her since she was born, my parents owned her parents, and I love her to bits, she was my first baby, but all this cleaning and smelly house is really starting to get me down. DH works away, I work full time from home, I have 2 young DS's, having to clear up dog mess three or four times a day is just adding a level of stress I can't cope with.

bedlambeast Tue 29-Sep-09 09:33:58

Message withdrawn

beautifulgirls Tue 29-Sep-09 11:12:55

PLease talk to your vet - there are some medications that can help in some cases - things like vivitonin, or b/d diet food. Not all dogs do respond but some do.
Pooing in the house can be related to arthritic pain and loss of control too, so sometimes just getting pain killers if they have stiff legs can make a difference too.
At least if you talk to the vet you may get a clearer idea of what is a happy quality of life for her too and when/if you should make the decision to put to sleep if she is not happy. It is a tough time when they get old but I'm sure you only want the best for her whatever the outcome of your visit.
good luck.

higgle Tue 29-Sep-09 20:07:18

Poor you and poor me too as I have almo;st exactly the same problem. My dog Marston is 16 in November and is a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. For the last 2/3 years his behaviour has been totally deraneged, though like your spaniel he is physically quite well. Yes, he goes out stays in the garden for ages and then pees and poos in the house.If you take him for a walk it doesn't make much difference and he has the constant pacing up and down the hall and in a sort of figure of 8 circuit of the house as well. He was absoloutely devoted to me when he was younger and used to sit by the door when I was out and wait at the window for me to come home from work. Now he doesn't really seem to recognise any of us and doesn't interact with humans at all. Doesn't bark, doesn't wag tail. His appetite is really good and he steals food ( which he didn't when he was young) too. As he can still manage a walk and seems happy in himself we would feel terrible having him put down so he spends a lot of the time in the garden when the weather is good, and I try to keep him in a confined space when he is in ( he doesn't mind this) When all this started he was very disorientated about time and used to wake us in the night barking for food and needing to go out, but he seems tohave gone through that phase now, and is OK at nights as long as he is let out at 6am. I have loved this dog so much but at the moment I find myslef thinking it would be for the best if his physical health went downhill as I really have not got it in me to say goodbye whilst he is OK in himself. We did try some rather expensive medication but it didn't really work - though the vet did say that sometimes it works wonders, so perhaps worth a try ( and I think you can get it cheaper on the internet once you have prescription) Sorry cannot be more positive but at least you are not alone with this. I have done some research and the record for longevity with PBGV is 17 years 3 months - just hope he isn't planning on making it to the Guiness Book for Records.

walkthedinosaur Wed 30-Sep-09 08:17:10

Thanks for everyone's messages and higgle I feel your pain. Fortunately for me my dog still recognises us and interacts with the family, she's our very best friend at meal times!

She sees the vet a couple of times a year, once for her annual health check and the second time for a repeat prescription for some medicine she gets. Every time he expresses surprise that she's still with us and still so healthy, apparently the average age for spaniels to die is around 10. He tells me that she's in excellent condition for her age and although a little arthritic she can still run home from her walk like a whippet if she suspects I've put food down for the cats and she can get home and eat it before I stop her.

She has been in the same routine forever, walked at the same time each day and fed at the same time each day, I don't need to look at my watch to know when it's 5.00 every night, the dog standing with her bowl in her mouth waiting for food is as good an alarm as any grin.

I too find myself waiting for her physical health to decline as I can't bring myself to have her put to sleep, and even though she drives me nuts these days - I mean I caught her eating soil out of the plant pot yesterday, it will break my heart to lose her. However, I will think long and hard about ever having another dog, this particular stage of her life is very difficult for her (although I doubt she thinks so) and for me.

She's due an appointment with the vet at the end of October for her vaccinations so I'll bring it up with him then.

minimu Wed 30-Sep-09 08:30:07

I am not a vet as I believe beautifulgirls is but do take your dogs to the vet and explain the symptons. It may be a simple medical condition that could be controlled. excessive hunger thyoird for example or an issue with kidneys can cause odd behaviour. I would personally go before the end of October and see what they suggest fingers crosseda simple blood test may give the answer. The B/D food can work miracles for some dogs with dementia. I do hope there is a solution to make both your lives easier

winestein Wed 30-Sep-09 21:02:24

If it were me I would also go before the end of October, and not, as your DH suggests, to necessarily have her put to sleep. If it is kidneys the poor thing could be beside herself with all manner of things. Make an appointment. It'll cost, what - £30 - £40? smile

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