Dementia in dogs(4 Posts)
Our 9 year old bulldog seems to be suffering from dementia. It started early this year when she started getting spooked by small movements and snapping at people who tried to stroke her. Since then she has started sometimes attacking peoples ankles when they come into the kitchen (where she sleeps), goes off and sits in unusual places (under the kids beds, outside in the cold and dark etc etc), climbs along the backs of sofas and tries to jump from one to the other (often falling and hurting herself), getting onto sofas and beds which she has never been allowed on and never tried to get on since being trained, sitting staring into corners, getting stressed easily.
The odd behaviour is constant now and I worry how much she is suffering. At what point do you say enough is enough with dogs that have dementia? Her appetite is still good and physically she seems to be fine. She saw a vet a couple of months ago and they couldn't find anything wrong.
I posted about our 11 yo recently- our vet has suggested amytriptilene although not using this as yet.using a beaphor calming spot on and pp have recommended zykleine to us. I
There are few medications which may be helpful. Ask your vet about them and my advice would be to try anything available immediately. Give it a good try to see if you can alleviate (at least some of) her confusion. If she doesn't respond, I would find that deterioration too sad to live with for both of you.
To decide whether enough is enough with dementia is the same as with any other illness, disability or old age end of life decision - quality of life. Our terrier had dementia in the last year of his life and for most of that time he did a lot of odd things but seemed happy in himself. He would often get 'stuck' in corners or any space where moving forward was not possible, as if he was unable to mentally cope with the process of moving backwards. He never seemed stressed though and once righted would carry on his day or his game. He appeared to be in the blissfully unaware category for a long time so I learnt to stop stressing. Right near the end he did get more stressed as his sense of space got worse and one morning we found him going round in circles and not having a good time at all. It was very sad. He was such a happy and intelligent little chap.
So yeah, like any end of life decision, is depends on your dog's quality of life. Don't forget though that watching dementia from an outside perspective is often more distressing than being the sufferer, who may or may not be blissfully unaware.
As long as your dog is enjoying life, let him, but if he is not then let him go. Try to see the things he does more from his point of view and then you will be able to decide if he is stressed by his own behaviour to the point of life no longer being worth living. As I say, our terrier did the oddest things and regressed but he was still so happy, for a long time.
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