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Discussion Starter #1
I think Opus might be going a little senile and I wondered if any of you guys with elderly bassets might be able to offer some advice.
He will be 15 in October, and apart from being blind he has very little problems physically- unless it's getting up from pancake basset pose, that takes a little longer, and I put that down to muscle degeneration.
But of late he's taken to wandering about the house and appears a little confused at times. He's eating well and as obsessed with food as ever, but these episodes are increasing.
Yesterday I found him standing in the bathroom just staring at nothing. When I patted him he seemed happy enough and followed me back to my office, but it was a little unsettling.
He's starting to lose control over his bladder and bowel regularly, which is again I think a matter of degeneration. The mind though is a worry. I have taken to playing tricks and games with him again, getting him to give the paw, sit, stay and so on, to keep him mentally sharp. We take a stroll around the block every evening, but he's not enjoying them as much as he used to do and seems a little fearful at times, something he never was.
He is better in the morning than the evening.
Anyone experienced this? And is there anything I can do to help him?
 

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My personal experience with an aging dog is limited. Could his eyesight be going as well? My mom has a poodle that is losing his vision due to cataracts and he seems to get confused quite a bit. He's lived in the same house since he was 5 months old (he's 9 years old now), so it's not unfamiliar territory. He gets confused in the yard and places he's always spent a lot of time and it seems to happen most in dark or low light situations. Being unable to tell where you are and what's going on surely can cause fear.

I think when they get older, they just need more help doing the things they used to do on their own...just like people.
 

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Have the vet check him out, if it really is cognitive dysfunction there is medication for that (Anipryl) which I'm told is quite effective.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Opus is completely blind, MollyMcFrecklesMom, and has been for a while now, it does not seem to bother him unduly. We are careful not to leave unexpected items around and he manages as though he could see for the most part.

Soundtrack- appreciate that, thank you! He's due in for a check up next Tuesday so I will bring it up then.
 

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Our dachshund Hansel who passed away several years ago at the age of 16 had a problem with this the last year he was with us- he would stare at things for long periods, would get confused about how to get back in the house from our yard, and would wake up at 2am and bark for hours at nothing. The barking was the worst, we couldn't get back to sleep and walked around like zombies due to sleep deprivation.

We gave him lots of extra attention and tried to help him with daily things as he slowly went downhill. He had Cushings and I think was on Anypril for that, so we didn't use any other medication.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you guys, I very much appreciate the replies. I'm so worried sick about the old fellow, he's so robust in other ways.
 

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Lots of good advice for older bassets. I have a 13 year old basset, the hardest thing for me to figure out is if she is losing her hearing, or just getting more stubborn as she ages! :)
 

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My Springer, Boomer, lived to 17, developed dementia at 15. He would stare, get confused, do funny/odd things, sometimes seemed lost. Walks were shorter, naps longer. His hips became weak & sometimes leaked a little urine. He lost his sight & hearing but never lost his appetite!! The last two years were difficult at times but they were still good years. Boomer taught us to live life like a dog, to enjoy the good, forgive the bad, and let everything else go. Arlene, the one thing that Boomer never forgot was that he loved us and we loved him.
 

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I sent my boy Spencer to the Bridge last August at age 14 years. He was diagnosed with doggy dementia at about age 12 & suffered from much of what you described. He would wander aimlessly, seem to get lost in the yard & would have to be led back in, would bark at nothing, go from a dead sleep to periods of extreme (for him) activity, get his days & nights mixed up, etc. I also thought he was going deaf, but when the vet checked him out, Spencer responded to every sound the vet made. It seemed his hearing "loss" was also related to the dementia. His brain just wasn't registering what he was hearing. I started giving him Anipryl & he did quite well on it. I also found it helpful to keep his life very predictable & low-key. I also had to be careful to not startle him, since he was not reacting to sounds. When I approached him & if he wasn't looking at me, I would stomp on the floor so he could feel the vibration. He also leaked urine. He was prescribed a medicine (I can't remember the name) to tighten up his sphincter, & it worked perfectly. Thank God for the meds, as they controlled the problems he was having for 2 wonderful years that I will always cherish. Good luck to you, & don't get too caught up in the problems to not enjoy your baby. Despite knowing what lay ahead, Spencer's senior years were my favorite.
 

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Thanks for sharing the story about Spencer. My 13 year old girl Tiggy has some of the same behaviors, just not quite to the level where I need to take her to the vet. She will be laying flat on the floor and I can walk up to her and yell loudly, and she does not know I am there. She gets startled very easily too. The moment I knew she was having trouble is when I took her to get her nails trimmed, she was so scared that she messed all over the table (pee & anal glands), she has never reacted that bad before (although she never liked people touching her feet!) Now I know that there is a medication that can help her, unfortunately, when she gets worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks a million for the replies folks, it's good to know that I can help Opus. I love him to pieces and though I hate to see him winding down, after 15 long amazing years together I intend to make the remainder of his natural life as comfortable and peaceful as possible.
 
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