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Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Please post any questions you have about aging or senior health issues here.
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pamelarn
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Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by pamelarn » Sun Aug 10, 2008 1:39 am

I have a Maltese mix rescue (have for about 4 years) who we think is about 11-12 years old. She recently was diagnosed with sublating patellas and I believe she has some spinal issues as well. She has always had an inchworm type back and has recently developed some crepitus in it. Recently she has been waking up at night and wandering aimlessly around the bedroom as if she is looking for me or is just confused (her eyesight and hearing are starting to decline but this is different). This does not seem to happen in the daytime. Tonight I heard her again and her inchworm back was more pronounced, her front feet are closer to her back feet when she stands. Her alingnment from head to toe is sort of in a half circle (if looking at her from above). She still looks like she is confused. There was no injury before this that I am aware of. I figure there may be some issues with the back, but also wondered if this could also be vestibular syndrome, or if dogs can sometimes get a sundowner's type thing?

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critters
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by critters » Sun Aug 10, 2008 5:59 am

:red: Yes, critters can become senile. Vets do/did use something for it, but I don't know how effective it was. I can't think of the name of it...

Christine
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by Christine » Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:02 am

Welcome...besides the fact that crate rest might help the spinal issue, my first thoughts are to ask if she has had a blood panel done. From my own experience with a dog who first experienced vestibular issues, then blindness (the night pacing happened at the beginning), now arthritis in the hips, blood tests and a senior examination uncovered the fact that she was hypothyroid (we both take the same medication for that!) and that her liver was compromised.

Antibiotics and prednisone helped the vestibular for Bailey, but we had three more incidents over the past 4 years. Medication for her liver and a careful diet has gotten that under control. If it is vestibular syndrome, it is similar to an inner ear infection for us, so her world is spinning. Sometimes pain will cause them to pace. If she is going blind, confusion can cause that too.

Someone else will come along with more information about the spinal issues and crate rest, but I am thinking that containing her a night into a smaller area might help. I leave a light on in the living room and block off areas with pillows.

The last thing I am thinking about is that my vet just mentioned that there is special food to aid older dogs with possible dementia). Here is an article on this subject: http://www.smalldogsparadise.com/health ... -dementia/

Oh, my goodness, there are just so many things going on here to address. I wish I could be more help, but definitely get some more testing done and read the sticky adressing mobility issues. Good luck with your baby girl and please keep us posted.
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GabrielDeafBlindPupFamily
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by GabrielDeafBlindPupFamily » Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:08 am

Your poor, lucky little girl. I can't tell you how glad I am that she found you.

Confusion does set in with canines as it sometimes does with humans. We talkedk about doggie dementia a time or two here as well. There are some who recommend a change in diet, because that can help 'heal' the mind. I don't know enough about it to make any recommendations.

I'm googling sundowners now and all I come up with is the famous horse. Hang on, let me 'merck' it ... Nope, nothing there.

Do you mean like the 'gloaming' hour? The end of the day? She is late middle aged for such a small dog, I would imagine.

You can 'play' with her to heighten her ability to focus. lay on the floor in front of her. Hold a ball up til you get her eyes on it. Follow it to the floor, roll it to her, see her reaction, those sorts of things.

There are supplements that help human congnitive function and memory. Might you talk to doc about something like Focus Factor, or something? If you google memory supplement vitamin, a whole bunch of good links come up.

I hope someone comes along who will have some experience in your problems. Lucky little girl.

There is a lot of spinal experience here, and if you visit the paralysis forum, you might get some good advice. The patellas might be helped with some support, a wrap or something of that nature?
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Precious'mom
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by Precious'mom » Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:55 pm

Hi,

I was wondering if your dog has had any x rays of the back. My 14 1/2 year old miniature schnauzer has spondylosis which is fusing of the spine, which is quite painful to her and causes her to walk around with a pinched looking back, hunched over like the hunchback of Notre Dame! She started to show symptoms that I noticed at 9 years old and was diagnosed at 10 years old. She gets more sore the longer she lays down, so when she gets up, she walks around really haunched like until her back relaxes after several minutes, but she can't sit or lay down until that happens. So, I'm wondering if that could be a possibility and the reason your dog is wandering at night is because it gets uncomfortable and has to walk around a little bit until it can sit back down. Just a thought. My girl is deaf, partly blind due to cataracts now, and has dementia, but she gets around okay, and is on rimadyl and glucosamine for her back along with fish oil and vitamin supplements for her kidneys. But maybe if this sounds like something that might fit your dog's symptoms, check it out online and ask your vet about it.

Jennifer

pamelarn
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by pamelarn » Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:10 pm

Thanks for all your replies. I'm encouraged that she is still very attracted to food. I've given her 1/4 of baby ASA and it seems to help a little bit. She has cried when I picked her up couple of times from the left side but not from the right side (she weighs 4lbs). Her head and body are circling to the right. This odd sort of alignment started last night. The confusion thing started a week ago. She has always had that little bit of inchworm back and a pinched back neck (since I've had her--4 years) and I don't know what she was like before it just seems more pronounced in the last few days. Spondylitis sounds probable.

I really appreciate all the suggestions and will look in to them. Will make an appointment with my vet this week. Thanks!

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Dianne
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by Dianne » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:21 am

:heartswelcome:

When you visit the vet to discuss the back issues, ask about canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome(CDS).

Some of the symptoms of CDS include; general confusion, inappropriate vocalizations, getting day and night mixed up, confusing indoor and outdoor (especially for toileting), and personality changes. Recognize any of these?

Anipryl is a medication used with CCD that may or may not be right for your Maltese.

The site below has more reading material links at the end of the article.

http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/disease ... eniors.htm

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Conten ... A=2549&S=0
"How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world." -William Shakespeare

Goldenz2
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by Goldenz2 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:48 pm

Hi there,

My 13 year old Golden Retriever is recently having a problem with this. As soon as 9pm comes...he gets restless and will barkbarkbarkbark. I think he would pace if he could but he has limited use of his rear legs. He does keep trying to get up a million times. He is also about 90 percent deaf now so that is confusing to him as well.

We started giving him Melatonin at 9pm every night. It works like a CHARM! He sleeps almost through the night only getting up once to change (try to) positions. I don't know the dosage for you because your dog is small but you could certainly discuss this with your Vet. I am so glad that my boyfriend thought of this because we have to monitor his quality of life daily now and this was really affecting it.

Good luck and take care,

Jeanne in NJ
Goldens, Angelo & Archie

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puremutt
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by puremutt » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:42 pm

got the same problem with my 14 yr old, guess it's a senior dog common problem.
As soon as we are ready for bed, he starts pacing en being restless.
My vet also prescribed melatonin, I did try it at first but I changed to Tramadol ( pain med tru vet).
Some nights he does sleep tru the night, that's a treat for us.
Maybe I used a too small amount of Melatonin, 1/2 30 mg tablet for a 55 lbs dog?
mickey 1994- sept 26 ,2008


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CarolC
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by CarolC » Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:41 pm

My golden retriever went down the 14th and he has started barking all night, too. Never did it before. He is 13 1/2. He doesn't start at a certain hour, he starts when I go upstairs to bed. It shouldn't matter, he has always slept downstairs. Hope when his wheelchair comes he will get enough exercise and he will sleep again.

pamelarn
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by pamelarn » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:11 am

Wow! Lots of interesting replies here. My Maltese's back got better after a day and a half. Never quite sure what it was, maybe a pulled muscle. I'm not sure how often she gets up and wanders around at night (I'm a heavy sleeper and she doesn't bark at night) but now I'm curious about it.

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critters
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by critters » Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:24 am

CarolC wrote:My golden retriever went down the 14th and he has started barking all night, too. Never did it before. He is 13 1/2. He doesn't start at a certain hour, he starts when I go upstairs to bed. It shouldn't matter, he has always slept downstairs. Hope when his wheelchair comes he will get enough exercise and he will sleep again.
Just wondering, Carol, who did you order Merlin's cart from?

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CarolC
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Re: Can dogs get sundowner's? and other problems

Post by CarolC » Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:37 pm

https://dogswithdisabilities.com/mental ... lities.htm

This article has a lot of ideas for Sundowner's. They had one dog who became so anxious and panted so much that she bloated twice. :shock: :shock: Here is the description:
Sundowning is a symptom of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It's also known as “late-day confusion.” Their confusion and agitation may get worse in the late afternoon and evening. One of our dogs, Mulan would get extremely agitated in the evening starting around 6pm - as the sun was going down. She would begin panting nervously gulping air, and on two occasions bloated. Yet, during the day she was her normal self.
I can believe it. It reminds me of Merlie when he barked and panted so much, which I posted about here:
CarolC in https://handicappedpet.net/helppets/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=12516&p=65067#p65067 wrote: But the air quality is really honestly grossing me out and wearing on me. He does not have especially bad breath. If you were around him and talked to him and petted him you would not notice his breath at all. He has some tartar but I don't think he can have a dental because of age and kidney trouble. Maybe I should ask. I don't think the bad breath is coming from his teeth or mouth per se, it seems more like it is from his lungs and throat and stomach while breathing? All that pant-pant-pant-bark-bark-bark, yeah ALOT ALOT ALOT, it doesn't take him long to foul the air in the room. I open the window and there goes the air conditioning or heating but it smells better. When he isn't barking nonstop the air is fine. We all have to breathe that air, it's gross! :( :( :( :( :( :? It's like an old grandpa, what do you do for old grandpa stomach breath...?
The article has a lot of good suggestions for Sundowner's or dementia. One idea I had not heard before, that I wish I had tried, was using a night light. :idea:

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