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I could have sworn I saw a discussion about senior dogs here before, but I couldn't find it. I must not be searching under the right words. The thread I was looking for I think discussed ways to help keep an older dog's mind sharp.


Anyway, my old girl Skye (9.9 yrs) hasn't really seemed herself since she had a mastectomy/spay last fall. Sometimes she seems confused, sometimes she acts like she didn't hear me.

I don't know if she's starting to have a bit of senility or if she's starting to lose her hearing/sight. For instance, all the other dogs will come in when I call them, but she doesn't. She will come up to the door later and act all miffed that she's been left outside. It seems like she didn't hear the other dogs run off and she didn't hear me call. However, this was a dog I had major battles with getting a reliable recall on when she was young. Her eyes are just starting to show a little of the old age cloudiness, but she ran in to the corner of a dresser drawer this morning. There are other little things about her behaviour in the last several months that worry me, but not stuff that anyone else would notice though. One minute she's flirting and playing with Kael and then she's all grumpy if one of the younger dogs come near her when they are playing (including Kael).


I was also wondering if anyone has used Glyco Flex for arthritis for a senior dog? I think she may have some arthritis in her front feet - she's in 7th heaven if I give her a foot massage. Previously she never really liked me to touch her feet.


The vet gave her a clean check up in June, but in the back of my mind I do worry that the cancer may have spread and we just haven't seen where yet.

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Did she have geriatric bloodwork done in June? This would give you a pretty good idea of her overall health. Possible she has arthritis somewhere besides her paw? The only time Sara (14 this Sept) shows her age if she is in pain and then she's cranky and not overly alert to her surroundings (she has spinal arthritis). Once I got her on a low dose rimadyl and started feeding a grain free food, she improved dramatically. She still wears out faster than the other dogs but her personality is the same as it always was.

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My 11.5 year old does the same thing, doesn't come when called as well as he used to and acts insulted that he gets left out. I know he sees fine because he still hunts bugs and he hears fine, when he wants to. He has developed selective hearing :rolleyes: He was diagnosed a year ago as being hypothyroid (10% of BCs have low thyroid levels). Since he started replacement hormone his attitude has improved and he looks and acts younger, excepet for his "hearing problem" of course. With an older dog you always need to rule out medical causes for changes in behavior.


Did you guys do radiographs of her abdomen and chest when she was diagnosed with cancer? I would get them done, as well as some basic bloodwork (CBC and chemistry).


I noticed the biggest difference with reduction in joint pain when I added large doses of omega 3 FAs to my dogs' diets.

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I had a 14 yr. old GSD/Rough Collie that finally succumbed to cancer last August. He lived very well until the very last few months. He did have some back and hip issues, but we gave him a supplement of glucosamine and condroitin (with MSM) every day. He was completely deaf by the time he passed, but that really didn't slow him down. You just needed to get his attention, have him look at you and use hand commands (I think he kind of read lips, because the vet said he was pretty profoundly deaf).


We had to use pain killers toward the end, but I don't think they detracted from the quality of life much.


I wish you good luck and hope that your pup has more time to spend with you. Sometimes they go through a rough spell and then improve for a long time. I would just take each day as it comes. It's natural to worry that the cancer has spread, but she sounds like she is doing pretty well.



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Yes, she had a complete geriatric work-up both in the fall and in June. They did do radiographs before the surgery. Her thyroid is normal and she seems healthy. It's just little things that are different which you notice about your dog's behaviour patterns when you have had them a long time.


She could very well have arthritis elsewhere. Her movement is normal and getting up and down isn't a problem for her. What I've noticed though is that when I'm blow drying my hair in the mornings, she comes in and wants me to use the dryer on her back - she likes the heat (total look of bliss). She also has trouble jumping onto our bed which is kind of high. I have a covered chest at the end of the bed and I've showed her many times how to jump onto that and then get up on the bed, but she insists on jumping up from the side - doggy point of pride or maybe she's just stubborn :rolleyes: She also LOVES the thermapedic mattress topper and electric blanket on our bed in the winter. She thinks that is the BEST thing EVER. She has her own bed in our room, but refuses to use it. She will lay on the carpet if she's not on our bed. I'm going to get her an orthopaedic bed and doggie bedwarmer for her. Hopefully she will sleep in that as I'd really prefer her not to be jumping up and down from our bed.


She's always been the alpha dog in the household and it seems like she has passed this role on to the next oldest girl. She ignores stuff the younger dogs do that she would have reprimanded them for a year or so ago.


Hard to tell if its the "old age selective hearing" or if she is really losing some of her hearing. I know many old dogs get to the point of "hey, I'm old and I'm not going to mind if I don't want to." She acts like she doesn't hear me in the house sometimes also or will look confused about what I asked her to do. However, she does seem to hear the word "cookie" just fine.


The vet was very confident that they got all of the mammary tumor and that it hadn't spread. They had clean edges when they excised it and I caught it really early. She had a bit of a time with recovery. She has never done anesthesia well and it really knocked her for a loop, then she pulled out the drain even with the e-collar. She was not a good patient. Anyway, its just a fear I have that it may have spread. We lost our Lab to cancer a couple of years ago and there was nothing we could do for him as we caught it way too late.


My dogs have always gotten supplemented with Omega 3 fatty acids. I give fish oil caps. Someone had recommended Glyco-Flex to me for older dogs or dogs with CHD/arthritis. I think I'm going to give that a try.

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My Border Collie, Shiro sounds a lot like your gal. She is 13 yr and is deaf now and has partial sight. She is the alpha bitch but Tess is really the alpha bitch. She is slow, her hips waver and she just plods along.


She gets Missing Link, SeaMeal, vitamins, Glocosamine/chron and aspirin (as needed)


Hard to wake up and when she does, she is confused and sometmes crabby. She gets Proion (sp) to help her with her bladder control.


I took her to the vet and had tons of tests on her and she is fine....just old age. Her stiffness/back legs pain was accerated by the UPS truck driver running over her backend.


If your vet says she is fine, then don't worry. She has a loving home and what more can she ask for?


On a side note, Shiro still loves to herd, she just kinda plods along and quits after 2 minutes so I have Tess actually work the flock and Shiro works up close. The sheep move about and Shiro thinks she did it all and after I call her off, she just puffs her chest out and thinks she still is the best sheepdog on the farm. I fuss over her and she then runs to her daddy and he loves her up.


All in all, it sounds like you dogs is just getting old, although at 9 yrs I think it might be a bit early. With large breed (Great Pyrenesse) they usually have a shorter life span and at 8 yrs are ready to retire.


Kiss your sweetheart for me!!!



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Jeanne, could this be the thread you're thinking of?


I'm sorry to hear about Skye. Could be related to the spay, I think -- nobody will ever convince me that estrogen is unrelated to cognition -- but it could be just moving into old age. Maybe you could ask your vet about trying her on Anipryl?

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Hi Eileen ~


YES! That is the thread I was looking for. Thank you! If she seems to be getting more confused, I will ask the vet about the Anipryl. I think you have something there with the estrogen and cognition.


Diane ~ Skye gets SeaMeal also. She's on a supplement called ShowStopper as well. I know you are right about if she's in a loving home and the vet says she's OK, I shouldn't worry so much. It's just hard watching your dogs get old. I had to quit taking Skye to herding as she kept coming up lame on her front foot - another reason I think she has arthritis in her feet. She still herds airplanes in the back yard though.


Just to show me she still has what it takes - this morning I put a fan in front of our bedroom door and closed the door so the fan was between the jam and the door. I stepped over the fan to go get something and she just pushed the door open and gave me a look like "you really think that's going to stop me from going where I want?". Then when I went to leave the room, I opened the door for her to walk through. She ignored that and jumped over the fan, then looked back at me with a big grin on her face. Now I wonder if she's just toying with me :rolleyes:

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