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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dear Abby - Canine Senile Dementia

Dog Dementia

Lately; I have noticed that my dear precious Abby has been a little off of her game. Well; really, a lot off her game. She seems to wander around as if she is looking for something. In corners, under the bed, trying to squeeze under the coffee table- just odd things. All of her toys and bed is accounted for and yet still she is searching. Since we had hard wood floors installed I can hear her pacing all night long. Looking, looking, looking. Tap, tap, tap as her nails click across the floor.

I also noticed that she would bark to go outside; go to the toilet, come back in - only to repeat the cycle a few moments later. The problem being that once she went out for the second time she would simply sit and just stare off into space before barking to come back in.

I thought perhaps she might have a bladder infection since she has been wearing pull-ups now for almost 2 years.

Which is a whole 'nother story.

Dog diapers are insanely expensive. Forget the fact that they go through them hand over fist (constant dribbling being an issue)  and unlike the Geico guy that rides around on his motor bike blowing money in the breeze as he passes by - I, myself am not made of money. And then there is the factor that dogs can get out of a diaper faster than Houdini could get out of handcuffs.... I came up with the plan of purchasing regular toddler pull-ups (for Abby I found that a 3T was the perfect fit) You simply put their back legs through the leg opening- pull them up until they come almost to their upper chest and wah lah! No escaping them babies. No sir indeed! They can wiggle and waddle and snap at them all they want and they stay right in place until you (Super Doggie Mum) remove them. Toddler pull-ups are about 1/3 the price of diapers sold expressly for dogs. Problem solved and money saved. I only mention that in passing should you ever find yourself the  owner of a dog that requires wearing a diaper in their advanced age.

Anywho; back to the odd wandering ...

Thinking that perhaps Abby may have developed a bladder infection and "may" require some type of antibiotic- off to the Vet we went for a check-up. I explained the systems to the Vet who then did an urinalysis - which came up negative for anything. Thus he did some blood work- which also came back as nothing. He checked her heart, lungs, bones and zero. Nothing, nada.

Once again; explaining to the Vet (who we established in an earlier note is of the opinion that I am as twisted as tangled yarn) I labored to outline the specifics of her odd behavior. For weeks she could hardly get around on her back legs- often dragging one leg as if it was detached from her body. Which mysteriously disappeared over-night. Not the leg- the limp. I claimed that she had experienced a miraculous healing privately in my heart.

Then seemingly over night she no longer required the use of doggie diapers (she completely quit dribbling urine) and again I claimed a miraculous healing in my heart.

She quit eating for almost a week and then began to eat as if all the food in the world may very well disappear tomorrow and she better get her fair share now before it was too late. 

But this odd wandering behavior persisted and she had developed being very shy when you tried to love on her (pick her up and pet her ect.) So he checked her eyes and said "Well, she is blind you know" as if that was a foregone conclusion and I was at least marginally retarded for not picking it up on my own without being told.

Well; yes, of course I had noticed that her sight was off but she is almost 14 years old and excuse me for stating the obvious but at my own advanced age my sight is off too and to my knowledge they don't make doggie corrective eye glasses (and you're a complete dickhead of a human Mr. Vet)

The bottom line is that Abby has what is called canine senile dementia. The old mind is slipping away.

Here in the deep South we know how to treat our human relatives that suffer with senile dementia. We give them a cocktail and sit them on the front porch in a cozy rocking chair - where they spend their afternoon waving at cars that pass by. If Uncle Bob comes out of the bedroom dressed in his late wife's dress - we let him wear it because honestly; what does it hurt if it makes him happy?

What we don't do is hurry right out and stuff them in a Nursing Home because all of the sudden they are just more trouble than they are worth. And (here is a shocker) We don't humanely euthanize them either. No prick of the needle for old Uncle Bob. We give them COCKTAILS and let them live it up before they go on to Glory.

But; what do you do with a dog?

Apparently according to the Vet (who we have established is a total douche bag) the humane thing to do is to simply put them down. Let them go. Or you could possibly try a round of Parkinson's Disease medication to see if that doesn't clear up a little bit of her confusion (to the tune of $148.00 per month)

What a load of shite.

Parkinson's drugs when you don't have Parkinson's disease? I think not.

Put her to sleep because she is starting to slip a little in the brain firing?

Are you insane?
Listen; folks. Here is the deal.

The reason that dogs get canine senile dementia is because they get better vet care than dogs did in the past. We take them in for checkup more often than we as human beings go in for checkups. Thus they are living longer. In days past- when we really didn't make it a point to run off to the Vet's office whenever we felt something was amiss - dogs (and cats) died because their body's simply gave out. They got sick, they died and that was that. Now with all of the Vet care that dogs (and cats) get they live longer with healthier bodies and thus we see their minds begin to slip away.

Personally; I find this to be a good thing. Kind of like good old Uncle Bob spending his days sipping cocktails and waving at cars while wearing a floral dress that once belonged to his late wife. I would rather have a live dog that is as looney toons as a rat running around a shite house that a dead one that I won't ever see again this side of Heaven.

There are alternative medications that you can give a dog (or cat) that's mind is slipping. Western medicine is always a good standby. Ground Ginko and a touch of Hawthorn roots sprinkled in their food may stimulate brain cells.

If all else fells you can always give them a cocktail. Abby is rather fond of the occasional sip of a Bloody Mary (she won't turn her nose up at a Sunday brunch Mimosa either) I have also been known to give her a pinch off the old Valium or Xanax when acting especially anxious or fearful. But; that's just me. You may feel different.

For those that are wondering - here are the signs and systems of canine senile dementia (which is not all inclusive but will give you a starting point to watch for:

1. Any system of a disease that is ongoing for a while and then suddenly stops without any type of treatment (urinary dribbling, arthritis, partial paralysis - especially in the hind quarters etc..

2. Aimless wandering.

3. Not responding to name

4. Fearful - nervous shaking

5. Inspecting corners of a wall frequently (will attempt to lay down in the corner for a bit and then get up to inspect another area)

6. Seemingly unable to locate their bed, food & water bowl

7. Distant behavior - formerly a loving dog (or cat) that no longer wants you to pet them or cuddle with them.

8. Frequent crying out, whining, whimpering in their sleep - almost every time they are asleep (not just occasionally)

9. Almost seizure like behavior in their sleep (shaking as if cold or afraid)

10. Does not immediately wake up if petted or moved.

For those that already know that their dog (or cat) is suffering from the onset of dementia and wish to explore an alternative treatment than to simply "put them down" I highly endorse Chinese herbs. This is the vender that I use which you may also find helpful:

Look for "Heart & Brain Support" $15.00 for a whole lot of herbs.

In the end; I will let Abby go when I think that she is suffering. Which at this stage of the game I do not believe in my heart that she is. Until then ... we will press on ... ever awaiting that Glorious Appearing of our Lord!

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