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Craig won't let me sleep


Laurae
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So 12 yo Craig isn't letting me get any sleep at night ever anymore. He starts barking in 5-second to 2-minute intervals every couple of hours. There is no reason I can fathom, except maybe he senses a noise and his compromised hearing and sight puts him on alert. I have lost all patience, and I am always completely exhausted now. I am crabby and unproductive at any kind of work. Are there sleeping pills you can give dogs?

 

I know the end is not too far for him. His brain is scrambled. He has what look like mini-seizures (though maybe they're just night terrors) throughout the day, in that he will be seemingly asleep or just hanging out awake on the couch when he starts growling and lifting his lip before starting to attack the air and then snapping out of it and looking around embarrassed, licking his lips with a slow, fat tongue. He often attacks (though doesn't do any damage to) Taz for no reason. He also attacks (though doesn't do any damage to) Meg if she goes anywhere near him. But though he makes life for the other dogs more miserable, his own quality of life is still fairly good in that he eats fine, hikes with everyone, etc. I know he is not really going to improve, but I also don't really want to "rush him out the door," so to speak.

 

Right now, I mainly want to be able to get some semblance of a full night's sleep again...

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I would try to put him a crate somewhere his barking won't affect you. Has he had a recent vet check? Sometimes they don't know they are doing this...one of our old girls did this as she aged, she had to go out and have a potty every couple of hours. We finally set up a run for her so that it wasn't so stressful on the whole family.

 

Good luck

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You could try giving him melatonin. It might not completely solve the problem, but it might help him to sleep a little better. I had a foster dog a few years back whose brain was scrambled and he, like Craig, would wake us up every night at least 2-3 times with whining and barking (for no apparent reason). We started giving him melatonin every night and it helped. It didn't completely stop the barking but he did it a lot less frequently.

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Hmm, an underground bomb shelter maybe? I do sympathize, without a good night's sleep I'm a Very Cranky Person. Several in a row totally ruin me.

 

Have you talked to the vet? He might be able to suggest a mild sedative. I use, with my vet's approval, generic benedryl for fireworks, gunshots (we seem to live across the street from an informal shooting range). I've not had to use it more than a few nights in a row, mainly around July 4th.

 

A white noise machine in your room or in Craig's room? DH uses an air filter, and it really helps keep out ambient noise.

 

Good luck!

 

Ruth

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I like the white noise machine idea. I stayed with my daughter in the city one night. I didn't think I'd ever be able to fall asleep with the city right out the door. She turned on the machine. Then I thought the machine would bug me but I quickly adjusted and fell right asleep. Don't know if it'd help but defiantly worth a try.

I really feel for you Laura. Jazz (14) has all of a sudden decided to eat dog poop. Never had this issue before with her. Eats enough to get really bad diarrhea. I'm hoping it has something to do with the snow being so deep that poop is just really easy to spot. Maybe poop on a snow plater is just to irresistible. But at least she sleeps at night. I do hear her stir quite a bit but no barking...yet.

Good luck

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Maybe see if your vet will prescribe Anipryl for him - it's a medication for improving (or stalling the loss of?) canine cognitive dysfunction in senior dogs. It sounds like he no longer possesses all of his faculties, and the night terrors thing is common to older dogs ... it's like they wake suddenly and are confused, and they vocalize about it. Something to consider for sure.

 

RDM

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These are all great ideas, and I will try them. Robin French suggested Anipryl on facebook as well, Sheena. Looks like a trip to the vet is in order, at the very least. Thanks everyone, I should have written this post months ago, when he first started this. Guess I needed it to be every single night all night before I asked for help!

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Laura,

Anipryl is quite expensive and is marketed specifically to the pet market. My vet's office manager claimed there was no generic when I asked (Minnie was on it, but not for cognitive disorder, but for her Cushings). With a little research I discovered that the human equivalent does come in generic. It's called selegilene and I used to obtain it with a vet prescription from a pet compounding pharmacy for about 1/4 the cost of the brand name.

 

I feel for you. I banished Minnie from my bedroom late in her life due to her constant licking that used to keep me awake. I hope for the sake of all, you find a solution.

 

ETA: I also discovered, quite by accident, and confirmed with the pharmacist, that Selegilene should not be taken with the supplement SAM-E.

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Laura,

Anipryl is quite expensive and is marketed specifically to the pet market. My vet's office manager claimed there was no generic when I asked (Minnie was on it, but not for cognitive disorder, but for her Cushings). With a little research I discovered that the human equivalent does come in generic. It's called selegilene and I used to obtain it with a vet prescription from a pet compounding pharmacy for about 1/4 the cost of the brand name.

 

I feel for you. I banished Minnie from my bedroom late in her life due to her constant licking that used to keep me awake. I hope for the sake of all, you find a solution.

 

Good tip--thanks Nancy, I will look into this.

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Gotta third (or is it fourth?) the recommendation for Anipryl, which restored peace to our household when last year Johnson (~13.5) began behaving just as you described Craig at night. For awhile, he was on the generic, but then the brand name actually became cheaper (relatively speaking--it's ~$80/month at our clinic). Our vet told us it could take a couple of weeks to see results, but we were fortunate they were immediate (within 2 days). Our vet considers such a positive reaction to the Anipryl a diagnosis of CCD, which would also fit with Craig's other symptoms, as other folks have noted.

 

I, too, will have to investigate the human pharmacy option Nancy mentioned. Johnson already gets his heart med on the Kroger $4 refill plan, so he has an account there. But my vet is usually good about checking human pharm costs for maintenance drugs before dispensing them to me through her clinic, so maybe this is just a shift in medication costs ovet the years.

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He has what look like mini-seizures (though maybe they're just night terrors) throughout the day, in that he will be seemingly asleep or just hanging out awake on the couch when he starts growling and lifting his lip before starting to attack the air and then snapping out of it and looking around embarrassed, licking his lips with a slow, fat tongue.

 

Laura, focal seizures could be a possibility: Canine Epilepsy Network Scroll down or click Types of seizures on the left for descriptions of the different types and whether the presentation of them seem to fit what you're seeing. I'm sure you'll get it sorted with your vet's help. :)

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