Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction- UPDATE

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Cindy
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Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction- UPDATE

Post by Cindy »

Poor old Kayla (age 12/13?) is really starting to show her age, at least mentality. As you might recall, she's been deaf for about 1.5 years. This hasn't presented too many issues except that she follows you everywhere so is constantly under foot! Her vision is not great but she can definitely see, even if she misjudges stairs from time to time. All of her blood work has come back great except for a thyroid on the low side. We started her on q very low dose of medicine for that but it was increased after 5 weeks and another blood test. About the same time that we increased the thyroid meds she started peeing in the house, sometimes right after we've taken her outside where she peed. We suspected a UTI but she was tested and there's not a problem. The vet gave her a pretty thorough exam and all seems to be good. But ... the inconsistent peeing in the house has continued so she's now wearing a diaper indoors. Of course, since we starting the diaper about 4 days ago, she hasn't peed in it once! :roll: . Her energy level seems normal and she can take a 6-7 miles hike, while swimming along the way, with no problems. And all of our dogs get alot of exercise probably 6 days/week.

I've been doing a lot of reading and came across this article which describes alot of her behaviors (http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues ... 086-1.html) particularly the pacing, staring at the walls, eating slowly (she always wolfed her food down), wandering aimlessly, etc. If you read down the article it sounds like supplements might be helpful but I'm not sure exactly what or how much to try. She gets Taste of the Wild dog food (which is pretty good quality) and also fish oil.

I'd love to hear about others experiences and what you've done. Also any suggestions on what supplements, etc. we might try and in what amounts. All ideas and suggestions are appreciated. With all the dogs we've had over the years, we've never really had to deal with this. Thanks.
Last edited by Cindy on Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Kayla RIP 10/2/15, Pippa, and Layla
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Barb Wright
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction

Post by Barb Wright »

It sure sounds like Kayla fits the symptoms/description of CDS. It is about the age that Cassie also showed some of these same displays, though I did tend to put some of it down to a drug she was on for treating a congenital defect. That said, I do have some thoughts about "what to do" (some of which I did do).

Fruits and vegetables....well, you're not going to be able to get the amounts into her needed to really make a significant therapeutic impact. Pureeing some dark fruits (such as blueberries, blackberries) and dark green veggies, and adding a tablespoon or two a day will certainly be beneficial, but only over the long run. I would do that (did that) just because it can't hurt, may help some. That said, antioxidants are best achieved by using a nutrient dense supplement. "Garden of Life" has a raw organic supplement in powder form that would probably fulfill this approach fairly well. For a dog probably 1-2 teaspoons twice a day would be considered "therapeutic". Start with 1/2 tsp and increase to tolerance over a week or ten days.

I would go ahead and use the Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Alpha-Lipoic Acid supplements as well. Whatever the dosage recommended for an adult human cut at least in half...if it gives a child dosage use that. If you know an alternative or integrative vet ask them what would be a suggested therapeutic dose. I haven't used those supplements on any dogs, but I do know they are good for humans.

The herbs that were suggested in the WDJ article are all available in tincture form and that would be the way to go. There are other herbs that are also good antioxidants and I can list those if you want. But, start with just ONE of them (Ginko would be good) and see if you think there is improvement. Plan on at least a two week minimum, and most likely more time, to see if there has been a noticeable change for the good. Start with 1/4 the suggested dose and increase over a week/ten days to half the maximum suggested dosage. Keep in mind that unless specifically designated for a canine all supplements are calibrated for humans. Size of recipient matters :!:

Digestive enzymes and a probiotic (powder or liquid) would also be a good way to go for an elderly dog (works good for humans too :wink: ).

Caveat #1.....if you start all of this at once you won't know which one did the trick, but on the other hand, it is not likely that just one supplemental addition to the diet is going to make a huge difference....rather all the above would be beneficial. None of the above would be harmful if you stick with "recommended" dosages rather than "therapeutic" doses.

Caveat #2.....if Kayla is on any kind of meds you need to run all this by your vet. Hopefully s/he will be able to advise if any of the above would be contra-indicated.

You know me, I'm a true believer that giving the body the right nutrients to work with will so often give good results. The body is in a constant state of "replace and repair". As the body ages those abilities decline and that is why nutrient dense nutrition is even more important to the aging body.

Hope some of these thoughts help.
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13

janet909
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction

Post by janet909 »

My Moby, who will be 13 in October, was diagnosed with cognitive dysfunction this summer. He is also deaf and his eyes are getting cloudy but he can certainly still see. He also gets a minimum of a 2 mile walk every day and even goes on camping adventures that involves hiking in the mountains though the days of the long crazy mileage are certainly over (I don't mind as much as I'm older too). No incontinence, thankfully. His symptoms were just being confused at times. One day, I came home from work and I couldn't find him. Can't call him because he's deaf. I found him in a far corner of the property, just standing there looking a bit confused and lost. (It's a part of the property that he typically never goes to as he has his favorite spots). Then when we went camping, one morning, he couldn't find the door to the camper after using it for days. Some days at the park, he starts following the wrong people and then gets obviously panicked when he realizes it. Nothing major but my vet started him on the following supplement: Neutricks 5 mg which is 5mg of apoaequorin. It supports the proteins and cells that normally diminish with aging. He says the studies are showing good results. Of course, I can't say as I've just started the supplement. I do plan on reading your article though.

Cindy
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction

Post by Cindy »

YES!!! This sounds so familiar and I am reassured to hear your story. This week John and I both had to work and John came home 2 days and found Kayla curled up sleeping in the garage (her normal hang out when we're gone) at the bottom of the 3 steps into the house. I guess it was her way of being able to take a nap but still know when we arrived. We'd have to trip over her!! Now we're going to move her dog bed over there so she can be comfortable. The other interesting thing is that we started putting a diaper on Kayla when she's in the house and she hasn't peed in it once! I don't care - if it works then I'm happy!!

I'm still waiting to hear back from my vet about supplements but I am certainly going to mention what you were given. Is that something you can buy in a store or do you need to order online?
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Cindy
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction

Post by Cindy »

PS I found the Neutricks on Amazon and after reading all the reviews I thought "why not" and ordered a bottle. It seems that many people see remarkable results in a few days to a few weeks. For $35 for a 2 month supply we really have nothing to lose.
Some days at the park, he starts following the wrong people and then gets obviously panicked when he realizes it.
Kayla has done this a few times although not recently. But on long walks when she gets too far away, she sometimes panics if she doesn't see us waving at her right away. And believe me - this dog can really motor when she wants!! It's next to impossible to catch up to her so we are really careful to always be keeping a close eye on her when she's off leash.
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Cindy
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction

Post by Cindy »

Got my jar of Neutricks today (love Amazon prime!) and Kayla gobbled the first one down. Will keep you posted if I see any changes. Paws crossed!!
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Cindy
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction - UPDATE

Post by Cindy »

Kayla has now been on Neutricks, Sam E, and increased fish oil for just about 3 weeks are we DEFINITELY see some changes. The biggest one is increased energy, wanting to play with Layla sometimes, and bounding (yes, I really mean bounding) on and off the deck. It's not s pretty sight since her vision is not great so she misjudges distances sometimes :oops: It's hard to evaluate the peeing in the house part because we decided to put a doggie diaper on her when she's indoors and this seems to serve as some kind of "reminder" to her. She's still eating slowly (not a bad thing) but all in all, a turn for the better. I wasn't expecting anything dramatic since her symptoms weren't terrible to begin with, but I'm glad to see noticeable changes. If this regimen keeps her from deteriorating any further then we will be happy. :D :D It's a beautiful and cool (only getting into the 60s) day in VA so we're off with the dogs to take our favorite 7 mile hike. I'm sure the cooler temps will be nice for them but they will still go in the river swimming!
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adele
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction- UPDATE

Post by adele »

That's good news! You gotta be beaming to see her feeling a little better. I hope you all enjoy you hike.
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Cindy
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction- UPDATE

Post by Cindy »

The hike was great - did almost 8 miles! And Kayla started out racing around just like she was 2 again. She was keeping up with Pippa and Layla for the first mile or 2 and then slowed down to a more reasonable pace. We always try to calculate how many miles the dogs actually run compared to what we know we are doing. I think triple or quadruple!! Everyone was tuckered out this afternoon and spent a few hours on the sofa watching football!!
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Barb Wright
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction- UPDATE

Post by Barb Wright »

Wonderful report 8) 8) Also very interesting to hear what you did and how it is working.....certainly methods to keep in mind with aging puppers. Eight miles sounds like a good hike, glad all are doing well :)
RIP Sweet Cassie 4/98 - 3/13

adele
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction- UPDATE

Post by adele »

I do the same thing with Lola, she has to be covering 3 or 4 times the distance I travel. She effortlessly covers so much ground! Someone needs to design a pedometer for dogs... I'd love to know how far she really travels.

8 miles is terrific and it's so nice to hear Kayla kept up and enjoyed herself. I'm also logging away this info for the future.
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Cindy
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction- UPDATE

Post by Cindy »

I'm also logging away this info for the future.
My friend in WI has a Britt who is just a year or so younger than Kayla. She's started losing track of her "mom" at the dog park and starts to panic (like Kayla does) and is really slowing down. So she has started Bridgett on the same supplement regimen but is a couple of weeks behind me in starting them. It will be interesting to see if she notices any differences and what they are. I find all of this VERY interesting and as I said, it's not an issue I've ever had to deal with before.
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StFrost
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction- UPDATE

Post by StFrost »

Thanks for the tips. My own britt, Sammie, just turned 17 and she is showing the same problems--lost in corners, forgetting how to jump off the bed, waiting too long to go outside and then having an accident which only stresses her out and makes things worse. Will start a similar regiment very soon.

janet909
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction- UPDATE

Post by janet909 »

I am so glad to here that she is improving !!!! We are diligently giving the Neutricks to Moby now and he seems to be alert and keeping track of me at the dog park. I have not seen any episodes of just staring at a wall in a complete daze so we shall see. I am really happy for you !!!!! These dogs just break my heart when they struggle. Three cheers for Kayla !!!

Cindy
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Re: Senility/Cognitive Dysfunction- UPDATE

Post by Cindy »

Now I just wish they made hearing aids for dogs! That's the biggest problem I having now and I almost lost Kayla in the creek! She couldn't see the path out because the grass had gotten so long and she couldn't hear me or see me waving my arms. Fortunately Layla went back in and rounded her up!!.
Kayla RIP 10/2/15, Pippa, and Layla
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