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Canine dementia and erratic behaviour

(15 Posts)
Titsywoo Fri 03-Nov-17 18:04:34

Our 9 year old bulldog is suffering from dementia. She has been behaving more and more oddly over the last year. First she starting snapping at visitors if they tried to stroke her, then she was snapping at the ankles of some people who visited. In the last 6 months she started going off to hide under beds when she always sat with us in the kitchen quite happily. Now it seems like she wants to be away from us! She gets very stressed when we are sitting in the kitchen watching TV in the evening and starts panting heavily and behaving strangely (climbing on the back of the sofa and trying to get out of the room). We have now had to make sure she stays in the kitchen as if she goes in other rooms she pees on the beds (we are in a bungalow). She isn't incontinent she just wees on anything soft (apart from her own sofa!). But she clearly is upset by being confined to the kitchen (it is a big room with a sofa area and leads to the garden). I sat on the sofa with her earlier and she got stressed so went to sleep in the garage instead confused. I often find her sitting in the flower bed in the garden in the dark rather than coming and sitting with us. When she is inside she drives us mad pacing or jumping up and scratching at us for no apparent reason (plus the weird climbing on the back of the sofa and trying to sit on our shoulders!). Not sure if the vet can really do much for dementia but she seems fine health wise so we don't really want to put her to sleep. Any ideas?

LimeJellyHead Thu 09-Nov-17 20:52:17

I'm sorry to hear that. Our little terrier had dementia. He went badly down hill in about 1-2 years. So keep an eye on things and try to see it as much as you can from her perspective so you can be sure to know when she is no longer enjoying life and instead finding it all too confusing and upsetting.

For her current issues, she sounds like she is looking for a quiet dark place of her own, so what about making her a dark cosy den to hide in. Not with a door or anything, just her own den that is calm inside for her to relax and get away from all the hubbub, but if she does also ewant reassurance she can still pop her head out and see you sitting there. Maybe all the noise and lights are upsetting her so even if you can watch TV with headphones, that has to be worth a try, as well as the den.

As it is still early days you could try her on tablets. I can't recall the name of the product but do recall that the earlier you start it the better.

Floralnomad Thu 09-Nov-17 21:38:18

There are some pills they can have , I’m not sure of the name, but my mums elderly terrier was on them for a bit . Unfortunately they made him sick so he had to stop taking them . He can be incontinent of urine but they put puppy pads under all the dog covers on the sofas just in case and do lots of washing . He also goes into the garden and has to be collected as he seems to forget where he is and what he is doing . He is 15 this month ( his sister is normal) and has been like it for at least 18months - 2 years .

Titsywoo Mon 04-Dec-17 22:40:33

Hi all,

I'm really hoping for some advice. The vet now agrees she has dementia and has given her anipryl but it's not making any real difference. She no longer really wants affection and keeps running away and hiding. At the moment she has squeezed behind the shed and is hiding in the corner of the garden behind it where we can't get to. It's freezing outside and she is just standing there staring straight ahead. She got upstairs earlier (into new loft conversion) and peed all over the floor and has been pacing madly all evening and panting heavily. She won't go near DH who she always loved. Instead she sat in the raised flowerbed for 4 hours and wouldn't get out even if offered food. But some days she is mainly calm and her behaviour isn't too erratic. I don't know if it's time to let her go but she is healthy physically so it seems wrong. Help!

Titsywoo Mon 04-Dec-17 22:42:17

Oh and we have made several quiet dark places for her to hide and sometimes she goes there but often she just hides in the garden which isn't ideal in this weather. We've borrowed a kennel but she is ignoring it.

KinkyAfro Tue 05-Dec-17 08:54:16

I think I'd let her go, as heartbreaking as it would be, she doesn't sound like she's enjoying much now

BertrandRussell Tue 05-Dec-17 08:57:33

She sounds very unhappy- it's time to let her go. sad

BiteyShark Tue 05-Dec-17 09:48:00

As hard as it is I think that it doesn't sound like she is enjoying life anymore. I think as you have tried lots of things to improve the quality of her life which have not worked it sounds like it is time sad so sorry flowers

villainousbroodmare Tue 05-Dec-17 11:17:37

She sounds to be in a pretty miserable state. Sorry for you both.

bunnygeek Tue 05-Dec-17 12:22:38

This is so sad sad I agree with others that at this point you have to look at quality of life and it doesn't sound good for her at the moment. Poor thing.

A friend had a dog who, towards the end, would sleep or hide in strange places. He had a lot of spinal pain and the vet suggested that he was going to strange places because they were places he didn't yet associate with pain. So in his little doggy mind if he went to the corner of the dining room, the pain would go away because there hadn't been pain there before. This would explain why your poor pup is winding up in odd places.

snowpo Tue 05-Dec-17 15:44:29

Is the vet sure it's not pain? Our dog has been doing weird things lately and I've been looking into pain responses. All the things you've listed are shown on various veterinary sites as possible pain responses. Withdrawing, hiding & panting/pacing. Dogs are wired to hide physical pain so she might be reacting to something hurting. Hope you find an answer.

Titsywoo Tue 05-Dec-17 20:26:46

We taken her a couple of times and they can't find anything physically wring except maybe a small amount of arthritis in her left back leg. She can't walk fine and still jumps up on the sofa so I don't think it bothers her that much. She doesn't pant all the time just when she appears to be stressed out because she can't get somewhere she wants to go. Usually somewhere that we don't want her to be. Last night DH had to climb behind the shed and carry her out as we think she was stuck (or just lost). I managed to get her to go in the kennel after that and she was happier and spent a few hours in there today.

I agree that it's time to let her go but DH is struggling as she seems physically fine and at times seems to be her old self again.

This afternoon she came in from outside and her whole body was sort of convulsing like mini spasms all over. It was very odd. Maybe she was shivering but it felt like something else. I think we'll talk to the vert again. They didn't seem to think it was time to put her down but to be fair we didn't ask.

snowpo Tue 05-Dec-17 23:04:19

Aw poor thing, sounds like she's in a state. Our dog has gone the other way, really clingy. Most of the time he's fine and nothing physically obvious but will pant, shake, refuse to come in from the garden. Initially nothing was found but then the vet discovered tumours and we wonder if the cancer has spread elsewhere which is affecting his behaviour through pain or changes in his body.
Obviously not saying your dog has this but maybe something hidden.

If it is dementia, hard as it is I think you have to overlook the fact that her body seems physically fine. If her mental state is so bad she is finding life traumatic it's probably time to let her go. Must be so difficult though especially if she has times when she seems better.

Ploddingon2016 Thu 07-Dec-17 19:03:38

We had a spaniel we decided to pts just over 2 weeks ago. He was displaying very similar behaviours. As well as getting stuck, he would walk into things and didn’t seem to be able to settle at night often just pacing the garden for hours on end until finally I could settle him for a little while. He did have another other health issue (pancreatitis) but I hoped as he was on meds he was comfortable with that. Putting him to sleep was the hardest decision ever, I cry every day because I miss him so much. And I’m still not sure we did all we could for him but it was so hard to watch him pacing round the garden and getting stuck. He withdrew from our company too only coming to us occasionally to give the odd bit of affection. The vets we saw, there were several in the same practice, couldnt come up with a solution or suitable medication and although I think they may have missed something that he could have had (he showed lots of symptoms of Cushing’s disease but was never tested for it) I don’t know if he would have reacted favourably to more treatment. He was 11 so the vets were more reluctant to treat him too.
It’s so hard to make the decision but if the quality of life is not good you have to think of the dog and not your own feelings as hard as it is. I wish you all the best.

Ploddingon2016 Thu 07-Dec-17 19:06:00

Ps. Has she been tested for cushings? Does she drink more? She’s obviously urinating a lot. Just a thought

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