I have a German Shepard/Golden Retriever male that is almost 13 years old. In July he had surgery for a twisted stomach/bloat. We got him to the vet in less than an hour from his first symtoms and he had no problems with the surgery. Well ever since the surgery he will not sleep (at night) longer that 2 hours. I think he has dementia and will pace around the bedroom, sometimes getting stuck in the corner. We try take him out and he sometimes cannot control his bladder, urinating as we head for the door. Then the pacing will continue for quite awhile before we get him to lay down. Now, during the day he will sleep a little longer, but will pace for hours. It is quite draining for anyone who watches him. He will get stuck in corners, tries to turn "into" wall, or just seems out of it. He is babied so much (we have to feed him with at spoon now almost like he forgot to eat) and we really don't leave him alone any more. He just doesn't seem the same (mentally) since his surgery and we are wore out from our sleepless nights. He still seems happy and alert when you walk in the room with him. Just want him and us to be able to relax a little. Any ideas on what is wrong or what we can do? Are there any drugs that can help relax him, even though he is so old? Help!!!! Thank you in advance for any help you can give us!
I had an english bulldog w/dementia. He had surgery for a torsioned spleen at 9 1/2, I can't remember exactly when the dementia set in after that to make a correlation. In humans however, having to get general anesthesia can worsen symptoms/progression of dementia (this was the case w/my dad) so it makes sense that it may do the same in dogs.
Ben would also pace at night and continually get up from the bed. Apparently, humans w/dementia get restless inthe late afternoon (sundowning), and the canine version occurs at night. If he went downstairs he would often get lost in the corner until I went and got him. It is an exhausting thing to live with!
At the time (Ben passed away in 05) my vet said there was a drug that sometimes helped w/dementia symptoms in dogs, but he hadn't had much luck with it, so I never used it. I did have a limited amount of help using Rescue Remedy (sometimesfor me too, lol).
You might want to check w/your vet to see if there are better options on the market now.
My oldest pit bull is going on 14, and in the past month has had 2 small episodes that make me believe she is starting to go down the same road, although fortunately night restlessness has not started!
Good luck, and hopefully someone else will have more specific advice for you!
I'm sorry I haven't the exact, specific advice you need (ie which drug is used, etc) -but I do have a little positive feedback that might give you some hope.
That is, I was on a dog walk last year sometime, and met a woman walking her elderly retriever. He looked slightly overweight but great for his age (15) She told me she had had the same problem with him as you have had with your dog. A happy enough, laid-back dog in the day, but increasingly confused at night, and restless when they all needed to sleep.
She took her dog to the vet and dementia (or a form of it) was diagnosed. The vet did prescribe something for it which helped tremendously. Unfortunately I cannot remember what the drug was called!
You do need some good advice about this from a vet. If your vet doesn't have any answers, do try a second, or even third -opinion.
I would also recommend having a talk with Dr Carol Osborne. (scroll down the page here and there is a link to her down on the right) She may have some good ideas for natural remedies, and/or dietary changes which might possibly help him too...?
Thank you for all your advice Deadgamegrrl and ginger899. I could use all the advice I can get right now. This has been the longest 4 months with the sleepless nights and pacing. I am learning more and more and am so grateful for this site. I have read both of your comments and appreciate everything you have wrote. I have written Dr. Carol Osbourne and she suggested Melatonin and Deprinyl. I was lucky enought to find the Melatonin. Keeping our fingers crossed. Then my mission tomorrow is to find the Deprinyl. And Deadgamegrrl I think we are going to try the Rescue Remedy if these don't work. By the way thanks for explaining the pacing for dementia, makes sense now. And Ginger899 we are going to make an appointment with the vet again to see what other medication we can try. Glad to know there is hope. Thank you both sooooo much! Will keep you updated.
Thanks! I'm starting to think it may have been a medication issue. She is on tramadol as well as metacam for her RA and osteoarthritis. She had a stomach issue for about 4 days and I think her meds were disrupted during the time not much was staying down. I know tramadol is pretty much the devil w/people, and even though my vet says that no physical dependence will develop in dogs I'm not sure I totally believe that. Seems like an awful lot of human docs think tramadol is harmless as well.
It does seem to really help her pain so I'm keeping her on it, but it makes me wonder.
She had one episode of running to the front door instead of the kitchen when she heard the food hit her dish (very bizarre) and then about a week later she got lost in a corner of my sitting room instead of coming to bed. But now nothing more for a few weeks (fingers crossed).
Old dogs are so amazing, with their gentle love and devotion. I just wish they could go on forever. Let me know what your vet says!
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