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doggie cognitive dysfunction

3559 Views 16 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Beverly Anne
i think that Lady is beginning to show signs of doggie cognitive dysfunction. the most obvious sign is that she is beginning to be very odd about pottying in the house. otherwise, she seems pretty well oriented, as far as i can tell. she's always been a somewhat high strung dog, so i can't really tell if she's showing signs of increased anxiety or ?

this is what's going on with her pottying: in the morning, i call the gang to the door to go potty, and Lady will either go outside, then come back in and potty in the house OR get up, head to the door, then potty in the house on the way to the door.

i've been somewhat suspicious for a couple of weeks, but thinking maybe i was being overly protective. then, this morning, she pottied on her bed.

i don't know Lady's history, as you all know, and don't know how old she is, except that my vet says (and I quote) "she's really old." i'm going to make an appointment at the vet for next week, but for now, am wondering if anyone else here has dealt with doggie alzheimer's or cognitive dysfunction or these kinds of issues in aging dogs, and what should i be watching for?
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Sorry to hear Lady's showing these new behaviors. :cry: I've never had a dog with Canine Dysfunction Syndrom but I think a number of behaviors need to occur to make a definitive diagnosis of CDS. Sending good thoughts for Lady and you.

Here's a website that talks about CDS
Also a Senior Dog Behavior History Form might be helpful.
Thanks, Barbara, esp. for the senior dog history form.
not sure exactly what you mean by potty, but if it is urine only there is another possible cause especial if wetting where she sleeps is common. Given her age spay incontinence is a real possibility. Basical with a loss of hormones over time the dogs lose some sphincter control. This is ussual most often will they are asleep but it can happen at other times to. Usually PPA- trademarked for dog use as Proin is effective in giving the dog back control.
i'm talking about poop. Lady has had spay incontinence for as long as i've had her.

however, this is entirely new behavior. i'll send them both outside to potty ... they'll both *ostensibly* potty .. they'll horse around for a while or look desperate to come back in ... i'll let them in ... and POOF Lady will take a big old poop.

or like what she did the other morning: i call them to go out ... Lady starts heading to the door to go out and potty ... and POOF she sidetracks and goes over to her bed and poops in the middle of it.

i have an appointment for her at the vet on Friday. i don't think much can be said at this point about whether she has doggie alzheimer's but we're going to give her blood tests and make sure she's otherwise okay.
How very sad. I have pretty much the same thing with my mom, caused my medication, and diet. So in an effort to clear that up, the bladder stopped working. If Lady is on any med.'s you'll have to rule that out.
It kinda sounds like she is relaxing her muscles to soon, or they are always relaxed. I hope the vet can help you.
Joan, i was kind of thinking along the same lines and am sort of hoping it might be something like that. the problem is, the way she's doing it kind of fits with some of the descriptions of doggie cognitive dysfunction. she's on occasion losing her training or getting disoriented about where to potty or SOMEthing like that.

the good news is, i've been through a number of different check lists and symptom lists, and she has *none* of the other signs. she's very well oriented. she's happy and recognizes everything (especially her beloved refrigerator where her beloved carrots are). she's playing and active. no unusual anxiety or fear.

i'll know more next week, i imagine. we go to the vet in a couple of hours --- my vet loves her! and, when she saw me in the waiting room to make an appointment, she came running out with a worried look and immediately said "is Lady okay?". so i know she'll give her the proper workup to figure this out.

and if it is cognitive dysfunction, i predict we have a long ways to go til she reaches a critical point with it.
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I'm curios what the vet finds. My cat would go poop near his box when he got about 16 or so, like he had no idea he missed. Or he would just be walking across a room and go, and acted like it never happened. But he never got any other signs of dementia. My mom also had a partail blockage in the bowell system, causing a complete loss of controll. I know people and dogs are entierly different but you might want to rule that out. It's no fun running around cleaning up poo.
Good luck!
Good luck, Linda. I hope the vet can come up with a good solution for the both of you. Lady's a lucky dog to have you
The year before Hansel(dachshund) died at age 16 he definitely showed signs of this. He would stand at the door to our shed to be let in from potty rather than at the kitchen door, we would find him standing in front of a wall staring for long periods of time, he would wake up around 2 am almost every night and pace and bark for no reason that we could figure out, he became incontinent- the list goes on. The up side was that he seemed to forget that he was aggressive and the terror of the neigborhood- he became sweet and almost puppy-like. We built ramps for him so that he could get around our house, and in the last months I built a big cushiony playpen -like enclosure for him in the livingroom so that Murray wouldn't knock him over or hurt him accidentaly. Coping with his old-age problems was a challenge at times, but I really cherish the last year we had with him. Best wishes to you and Lady- I'll be interested to hear how she's doing down the road.
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My 12 year old basset has CCD. She was diagnosed at about age 9. She has no housetraining issues but she has very inappropriate barking - barking at nothing for hours; she gets lost in the backyard which is what first alerted us; she used to love other dogs and now we have to tightly leash and hold her on walks if there is another dog around because she becomes very agressive; and, finally, there are times when I don't even think she recognizes us.

She is still the love my husband's life and she can do no wrong as far as her Daddy is concerned.
well, the vet called back Friday night with results and i wasn't here so i didn't get them. i just hope the rapid response doesn't mean there's something really awful showing up in her workup.

and the vet did give her a wormer, just in case it's parasites which are causing the inappropriate soiling :blink: --- but she didn't seem to think that was really the case. she also didn't seem to think any organ stuff (kidney failure or whatever) could be causing this behavior, but did say it's important to rule everything else out.

at first, i thought the wormer might have worked and our problems were solved --- Lady was so energetic and just a mad woman and last night even threw her front end on the floor in the doggie call to play.

but she pootied inappropriately again this morning, so i don't think so.

thanks, murray and kstahl --- it helps to hear personal experiences with it. if it is CCD, i've pretty much decided it's fine with me if she's totally spaced out, as long as she's happy and doesn't hurt herself. i'll definitely be rethinking that if she becomes fearful and anxiety ridden.
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just an update, as i finally got her test results (talk about phone tag :lol: )

her blood glucose is low, but otherwise everything's perfect. even her cholesterol (which gives me hope for mine :lol: ).

the vet said, given everything else is right on target and looks good, she's not going to worry about the glucose and suspects it might have been because Lady hadn't eaten right before her tests (which ... i don't remember whether she did).

any case, Lady's done the pootying inside after having gone outside to pooty twice since the vet visit. at this point, we're *assuming* we might be looking at early stages of cognitive disorder --- although who knows? maybe something else will show up.
Linda, isn't there a medication for doggie dementia? I've never had a dog with that so I don't know anything about it (mine seem demented from birth). Anyway, your attitude about Lady's emtional status is admirable. Good luck with everything.--Allison
I had to deal with this with Maggie Mae (ATB). It was very difficult the last 2 years of her life. She would go to another room, stop, look around and forget where we were. She would stand there and howl till we came and got her. She was deaf the last 2 years so she couldn't hear us. That only added to the problem. Our touch would calm her. She always recognized us and went to the door to go out to do her business. When we left the house it was a different story. She became very frightened and would have separation anxiety. She would pee and poop wherever she wanted. We finally put pants on her and used a Poise pad inside to absorb the urine. They worked great! But the poop just fell out of her pants. We gated her so she had the hallways, family room and kitchen, all tile. The clean up sometimes would take over an hour. But it was worth it. She wasn't in pain, still enjoyed her car rides, barking at company and most of all, her meals. We decided if she were to lose her quality of life, that would be a different story. She never did. We couldn't medicate her for the anxiety because she had severe heart disease. We did have her on Clomicalm which seemed to help alittle. You do want you must for your senior dog. They have given us years of unconditional love and they deserve the same from us.
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Allison, there are meds for doggie dementia, but we're not at that point yet. Lady is o/w very well oriented and extremely happy --- actually, happier than i've seen her for a while --- playing a lot, knows just what's going on, etc.

so even though we're kind of preliminarily thinking we might be looking at doggie dementia, it's not completely clear. the one thing we do know is there doesn't appear to be anything else going on. iow, other than dysplasia and perfectly gawdful teeth (thanks to years of lousy care), she's in great health.

iow, the vet's diagnosis: maybe. maybe not. but definitely worth watching. and we'll see soon enough.

Maggie's Mom, yes, i'm preparing myself for possible diapers. not there yet and fortunately, the poop has been very easy to clean up so far. at this point, i'm ... watching and trying to figure my way through it so i'm not caught unaware and Lady doesn't suffer as a result.
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Linda, that Lady is one very lucky dog. Last night at work I took care of a very demented little old lady and boy! was she having a blast. She never stopped singing and clapping her hands in praise of the Lord from 7 at night until 7 in the morning. Thank God all the rooms are private at my hospital. I left there thinking that sometimes a little dementia might not be such a bad thing.
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