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Ritz is my 18.5 year old (based on information when we adopted her from a local rescue 15 years ago) Shelti mix. She has had her ups and downs physically for the past year or two, but has been doing quite well since we got her eating again due to an Rx for metronidazole about 6 months ago. Not surprisingly she is mostly deaf and almost blind (I think she can 'see' far objects.) She is still pretty 'agile' in that although she can not go down stairs, she can still make it up the 4 stairs on our front porch. Since we have a 2 story house, she has become accustomed to being carried up and down the flight of stairs. [she refuses to sleep downstairs. She is aware enough of her surroundings that she insists on sleeping in our bedroom at night. If we do not bring her up, she will bark and bark and bark.]

 

And that is part of the problem -- What I don't know how to deal with is her increasing barking at nothing. She will stand at a window (either downstairs or upstairs) and bark for as long as we let her. Just tonight, it was a 45 minute session. I went to her twice to pet and massage her, but the minute I left the room, she started her incessant barking. She will also do a lot of pacing and panting at times.

 

For others who have had senior dogs, have you noted any these symptoms? Is she distressed or confused or both or what? And how have you dealt with it? Any meds that might help? Maybe a DAP collar? Her behavior has gradually degenerated over the past few months i.e. longer periods of barking and pacing and panting.

 

I will probably be taking her into the vet this week to see if she can suggest anything. She has a lot of experience with senior dogs and was the one who put her on metronidazole, but would love to get any suggestions here too.

 

Thanks.

 

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gotta love doggie dementia :) My old girl gets me up most nights about 3:30 AM barking. But my first dog (as a grown up) had the continual barking episodes. He would bark for hours. Now I understand there are medications for such problems. Check with your vet

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It's sad to deal with this, I feel for you. Anipryl (selegeline) is a vet product that is actually approved for Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. A supplement to try would be SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) and also coconut oil. Medium-chain triglycerides as in coconut oil have been shown to be helpful in both dogs and people.

 

For incessant pacing I've found a lot of success with the anti-depressant trazodone. I don't know of other vets using it, though my experience has been really positive. Per a trusted psychiatrist, it's no longer mainstream in people because it causes excessive sedation, but it is safe and, my favorite, for dogs it takes effect within about 20 minutes...no waiting 4 seeks to build up in the body.

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Thank you for the replies. My main purpose is to bring some calmness to Ritz. I can't imagine she enjoys pacing and panting and barking - and obviously, neither do I enjoy hearing/seeing her do it.

 

Emily - your advice is very helpful. I will bring it along when I talk to my vet. I have coconut oil on hand to start supplementing.

 

Pam - LOL! I see it could be worse. :) At least, Ritz sleeps well through the night at this time. I guess I was just having a pity party.

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You're welcome! I hope the oldsters can find some relief, it's sad to see them so unsettled.

 

Side note, a friend's BC I have on trazodone takes 100mg twice a day to control her incessant pacing and attention-seeking behaviors. I tried it it in my 50# dog who can be a little restless in the car, and 50mg really knocked it to him! It didn't make him wobbly like Xanax can do, just really subdued.

 

I got the idea from an article where ortho vets used it post-op to keep the dogs quiet. We are now using it this way at work when a particularly active dog needs some help keeping quiet after surgery.

 

I've also used it at night when one of my males *completely* lost his mind the last time the bitches were in heat! He needed 100mg ;) Robert is a very determined fella.

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Jovi, there is already coconut oil in the balanced fat you bought. Just an FYI.

 

I've had mixed results with using the Anipryl in client's pets. Some respond, some don't.

 

Lately I have been trying Anxitane for those who are worried about drug side effects. I've seen an excellent response in some, no response in others.

 

Funny story about trazodone. My PTSD Border Collie was really bad at one point. He dropped down to under 20 lbs (healthy weight is about 40), refused to eat, refused to go outside, wouldn't play, was waking up screaming from nightmares. I was at the end, considering a quality of life decision. Out of desperation, he was put on a combo of fluoxetine (prozac), trazodone and alprazolam. When I went to pick up his meds at the pharmacy, the pharmacist totally freaked out. She said, "You know you this combo can cause heart damage and you shouldn't get pregnant or drive a vehicle while taking them."

 

I just laughed and said, "If my neutered male dog gets pregnant or drives a car, I have bigger problems to worry about."

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LOL, funny story Liz. [bTW, I always get a chuckle from the pharmacy staff when I pick up the phenobarbital for my cat, Squeaky. For some reason :blink: they think her name is funny.]

 

I had noticed that there was coconut oil in the Balanced Fat product. So I give her ~1 tsp of coconut oil at one feeding, and 1-2 tsps of Balanced Fat at the other feeding each day. Right now, I am feeding a low-fat kibble (because I made a mistake when buying the bag.) I am almost done with the bag (~2 days left). So I have been pretty liberal with the added fat for my other 2 dogs. I have the 32K RedPaw on hand for the next bag.

 

I started a the coconut oil on Tuesday, and Ritz had a good day yesterday. I am not going to attribute it to the coconut oil (too early to tell), but am happy that one day was better than the current normal.

 

I go into the vet tomorrow with Ritz.

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After our vet visit today, I have decided to start with conservative treatment and see how Ritz responds. She was already on a supplement called Composure Pro so I will be increasing her dosage from 1 to 2 chews per day. We are also going to add Vitamin B12. And the third addition is a product called Neutricks (neutricks.com) which is a protein that is purported to support brain cells.

 

Fingers crossed.

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Just as a point of information, many years ago, my dog Minnie was on selegilene for Cushings disease. When I initially scoped out options for pricing, I learned that the same medication, Anipryl, marketed to the veterinary industry, is marketed to people as Eldepryl. They are both selegilene. The human version was priced at about 1/2 the cost of the vet one. But, I was able to save 1/2 off the Eldypryl price by purchasing from a veterinary compounding pharmacy. One other important note for those who considering this route. I learned that due to potentially dangerous drug interaction, dogs on selegilene should not be taking SAM-e.

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I certainly hopes that something works, but as is commonly known, not every medication works for all dogs (or people). But I still have my hopes high.

 

Other points of discussion from the visit:

I had a complete blood panel done for future use if necessary. I am trying the supplements, but if they don't work, I will probably be trying one of the anti-psychotics next. Since side effects include possible kidney or liver disease, the vet wants to be certain that nothing is going on with those two organs before prescribing an stronger meds. By taking blood now, we are ready for the next step if we go that way.

 

The vet was happy that I am already giving her fish oil. She felt that any anti-oxidants are always good.

 

Ritz does have some nerve damage in her left hind leg. I can't detect it when she is walking, but when her back paw is curled up and put on the table (I don't know the term for that), she does not straighten it out. She has been compensating for this extremely well in normal life.

 

Vitamin B12 had to be ordered via Rx from an online source since the vet didn't have a spare bottle. I take B12 tabs, but the vet thinks that the injectable is more bioavailable for dogs. Since I am used to giving injections to livestock, injecting 0.3 ml SQ into a dog will be a piece of cake. [i will also have close to 1000X more B12 than I really need, but at least it was really cheap.]

 

Assuming that Ritz's back legs don't totally give out or her kidneys don't deteriorate (she has slightly elevated BUN levels) within the next month, I will report back whether I notice a difference or not. I figure to give it a month and then re-assess.

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Ritz does have some nerve damage in her left hind leg. I can't detect it when she is walking, but when her back paw is curled up and put on the table (I don't know the term for that), she does not straighten it out. She has been compensating for this extremely well in normal life.

 

Proprioception.

 

Keep us posted!

 

J.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had this problem with my bearded collie. I used a combination of an herbal supplement, cholodin, and anipryl. Cholodin had gotten really good reviews and possibly would have done well on its own but Gemma had a setback after some anesthesia and her dementia got worse so I added in the anipryl. Best decision I made because I had her back with me once again unitl it was her time.

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A report back - 2.5 weeks after starting the new regimen. The new regimen is 2 chews of Composure Pro (source of L-theanine, Thiamine (Vit B1), L-Tryptophan & Colostrum Calming Complex [a proprietary ingredient]) and one chew of Neutricks per day. Additional is once a week Vitamin B12 (SQ).

 

I think it is helping. Most days she seems calmer, but she can still have occasional long fits of barking and pacing and panting. I have noticed that once she starts her stressy behavior, it is also a bit easier to snap her out of it.

 

Physically, she is well - eating well, eliminating well and getting outside for free-ranging sniffing around the house. I even notice her running laps (one or two) around the house. :)

 

Based on the testimonials I read on the Neutricks website, I was hoping for a more dramatic improvement, but I realize that Ritz is 18.5 years old and there is probably only so much improvement I can expect??

 

So, in the end, I think I will continue with what I am doing now for a few more weeks and continue observation. And based on what she does, I will decide if I want to try stronger meds or be happy where she is - which is calmer, but still a certain level of anxiety remains.

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Thanks for the update, Jovi.

 

I may give the Neutricks or the Select Antioxidants my vet recommended a try for Tilly, though I'm not excited to have to try to give her yet another pill. I know they're chewables, but she won't eat anything like this, so it's just another (big) pill to try to hide in her food, which is especially tough on the days she barely eats at all.

 

Yes, I know how to pill a dog, but she now literally fights tooth and nail and has even begun biting down on me when I try to pill her. Nothing -- liverwurst, cheese, peanut butter, etc. -- will entice her to eat them any more. <sigh>

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Gentle Lake,

The Neutricks is a chewable, but like your dog, Ritz usually will not eat chewables. So I just break it up and put it in her regular food (kibble + wet topping + water) and mix it together. I don't think she knows it is there. Not sure what flavor (liver?), but it has a strong smell.

 

Ritz is still eating well - thanks to mirtazapine which she started last August. If it wasn't for the mirtazapine (anti-nausea), I think she would have been gone by now because she had almost stopped eating.

 

Good Luck with your Tilly.

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