Despite my attempt at humor in the title of this post, I’m feeling pretty concerned right now. I wrote a few months ago about how Sassy, who is 15, was diagnosed with dog dementia, also known as canine cognitive disorder. Her vet recommended supplements, and we noticed a big difference in her after just a few days. She seemed more clear-minded, quicker, more active, more normal. Granted, the pacing was still happening, but it became less of a focus for her.
But now she seems to be blacksliding.
So many things have happened in the past week.
- She keeps falling down the stairs. Like, tumbling, rolling, down. We’ve been carrying her, but she doesn’t like it, so she’s been getting upset — she grunts and yelps and gives us what we call nibbles, basically opening her mouth and pretending to bite us. That’s progressed to actually biting us. Well, Mike. It’s happened twice this weekend.
- She can’t really jump up onto the bed or couch anymore without numerous tries or help from us. This morning after her walk, she couldn’t even hop up the three steps from the sidewalk to our front door without a few attempts. Motor difficulties is something that accompanies dementia, according to this site.
- One of the classic signs of dementia in dogs is that they’ll stand at the hinge side of the door rather than at the side that opens. Despite all the other stuff we’ve been seeing, it was somewhat of a comfort that she hadn’t been doing that. But, she started doing that a few days ago.
- She peed in my bathroom the other day, which I think she used to see as one of her safe, cozy places and not a place she’d soil. Not only did she pee, she started lapping it up before I had a chance to clean it up. This is really abnormal behavior.
- She’s been pooping and peeing in other places of the house, another dementia symptom that’s increasing. It doesn’t seem to matter if she’s just been walked or just been outside in the back. Forgetting house training is another symptom; she seems to be confused about when and where she’s supposed to go. Every time she goes in the house, she seems really ashamed. We just clean it up and pet her and comfort her — it’s not her fault.
- She doesn’t seem as interested in food anymore. We’ve been giving her this wet food since she’d been on these supplements and she usually dances on her back legs with a happy look on her face, eager to get her chicken stew. But she stopped doing that this week.
Last Friday we picked her up from the pet hotel and as we were getting out of the car, her bottle of omega 3 liquid fell to the ground and shattered. So she went without that until Monday. (Her vet was closed all weekend due to the Pope visiting Philly and it’s stupid that the omega 3 comes in a freaking glass bottle.)
I noticed a marked change in her over those days of being off her supplements, and now that she’s back on them, she’s still exhibiting those same behaviors.
Then again, she’ll have moments where she’s her old self again. I was out a few nights ago at a work thing and Mike said she was running around downstairs like she used to.
I’m hoping that the fact that she was off her supplements for three days last week (last Friday, Saturday and Sunday) might have something to do with her current behavior. Hopefully in another few days she’ll get back to how she was before we left for Scotland. I feel awful that we left her.
She saw her vet in July and the vet said her organs are healthy and strong and her system is in good working order. This makes things even more difficult because it’s a quality of life issue for her, not necessarily a medical one in the strictest sense.
I think we’ll observe her this week as Mike and I write our wedding thank you notes and go about our routines, and if we don’t see any improvement, we’ll bring her back to the vet. I read about a medication, Anipryl (generic is selegiline), that became available a few years ago for canine dementia and it’s shown promising results, so maybe it’s time to resort to that. The supplements were the first step.
This is so hard.
She’s been by my side as my fiercely loyal best friend since 2004.
I love my puppy.