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Old 02-21-2013, 08:46 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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Default Aging Dogs - when to be concerned?

I just wanted to post to get a general consensus from chazzers. I know several of us on here have doggies that are showing some grays and getting up there in age and while I am in complete denial and Maddie is going to live forever, I had some questions, and I wanted to hear some stories of what others are going through.
I have been concerned about a couple things with Maddie, and I am unsure if I am overreacting or nit-picking, or if there is reason to be concerned / I should persist with the vet and want medications, etc.
I really only have two dogs that I grew up with that I have experience with knowing them when they were young and as they were aging. With Nikki, the sheltie I grew up with she was very sedentary in her later years so there were never any "weird" problems... And both dogs were VERY overweight so my experience with that part is limited as well

I wanted to share a list of I've noticed with Maddie lately, I voiced my concerns to the vet and he told me to journal things and we'll go over it at her next appt. All of her blood work, fecal, urine, eye tests came back good (minus the one eye she's blind in, lol, of course.) She has lost a lot of her hearing...
She gets walked daily and since its so cold we play ball in the house, her activity level is the same, she's always go-go-go unless she's sleeping, which she does sleep more than she used to.
My Mom has read over and says I am over-reacting and this is all normal-again-dog stuff. Which if that's true I'm good with that!!

* Hearing - she sleeps like the dead. Like, dead ferret sleep for those who know how that is She doesn't hear me come home, so no longer greets me at the door or is excited to see me When I wake her she excited-startles wiggles her butt at me, but doesnt want petted, immediatley wants to go outside. Nikki never lost her hearing but from what I've read online that's normal
* Speaking of outside - she plays the out/in game. A LOT. She used to do this when she was bored, when she was younger. Sometimes she "goes", but most times she just walks around and wants back in. We used to cuddle on the couch and watch movies all night but I'm letting her out 5-6 times in like 2 hours(give or take).
* Hungry hungry hungry, but has lost some weight. Maybe normal muscle tone loss in an older dog? Not sure. I am feeding her twice what I was to maintain (including some wet)... but as far as her appetite, its the same lol in the sense that she's always been a starvin' marvin' Thyroid is normal
* She had a couple of accidents a couple weeks ago. She hasn't had an accident in YEEEEARS and hasn't had any since. Very weird. My brother is almost always home to let her out (and she always "asks" to go out, but she didn't this time) my schedule was inconsistent, but I was home when she had the accidents and she did it almost right in front of me (went behind my chair)
* All of the sudden out of nowhere she's been running off, even trying to door dart - which makes me sad because this is a dog who's been offleash / hiking pretty much her whole life. And now that her hearing is going I can't call her back so she has to be leashed unless she's in a familiar space and a very secure fence
*The other day the leash snap was frozen and busted when she hit the end of it (which is also knew behavior, leash charging) she took off. Normally, she comes back within 5-10 minutes (she ran off twice when we first moved in last year. Pushed the door open with her paw, never got the chance to since then). But she go confused and lost and I couldn't find her for nearly 2 hours. (Bailey was out with me in the freezing cold looking for her). Eventually she went the the neighbors back door 3 houses down because they had a door similar to ours. She was scratching and crying to be let in, and then freaked when they went to let her in and they were strangers. Oy.
* At night in bed she is way more clingy and cuddly than she used to be. This is not a complaint at all lol. But she has to be touching me, or often lays on top of me all night long. She used to need her space, and I kick a lot so she used to prefer her bed lol
* Anxious/Antsy outside of the house, won't settle down even in familiar places. Car is fine. Parents house, friends houses, she can't lay down and is up my butt or playing the out/in game if I am not actively working with her, like training class. It may sound petty but its enough to make me leave her at home instead of taking her like I usually would if I was helping my parents or a friend move furniture or something. This goes back as far as Thanksgiving because I remember I left earlier than I normally would because I wanted to get her home.

That's all I've got right now. Her appt is next week, some think I am overreacting If I am, that'd be great. If there's nothing I should be medically worried about, just need to change a few thing here with me and her, that'd be great too. I am more worried she is sick or something medically wrong, you know? Ah nice little long vent here, sorry
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:55 PM
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Cali Mae Cali Mae is offline
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Moses does similar things.

His hearing is horrible now, back when we had work done in the kitchen... he'd happily sleep through it and not even flinch when it would abruptly start. He sleeps like a log too, I always have to gently touch his leg in order to not startle him.

He also likes going off on long strolls as we call them, at night. He's okay if I take Cali out with him, but he used to come to the back door, we'd do a wave motion and he'd run to the front door. Now, he runs out through the backyard and comes back a good fifteen to twenty minutes later.

He's still good about staying with us on hikes but with his hearing, I'm going to put him on a long line for our hikes this coming spring/summer/fall. Cali and I ran into a loose dog, who was likely a good seventy pounds last fall and the dog repeatedly jumped up at me while I had Cali in my arms until his elderly owners finally caught him. And with Moses being as reserved as he is, I don't want to take chances with that scenario happening again and not having as much control over him.

It sounds like typical "old dog" stuff for the most part, but it's always best to get everything checked out, even just for your peace of mind.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:18 PM
JessLough JessLough is online now
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Easy. Send her to me.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:26 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cali Mae View Post
It sounds like typical "old dog" stuff for the most part, but it's always best to get everything checked out, even just for your peace of mind.
Thank you for posting bout Moses.... that makes me feel better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessLough View Post
Easy. Send her to me.
NOOOOOOO... I can't live without her, you know
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:52 PM
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adojrts adojrts is offline
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I feel your pain we are going through changes here as well with Hailey (16) and Bobbi (14). Luckily Petie seems to be ok except for the vision loss.
Hailey statles easily now, I know her hearing and vision are bad. She does the wander thing in the backyard but it is fenced so she can't get too far. She has had accidents in the house too lately and she barks alot when crated (again something that she never did in the past). One thing that is surprising is her lack of tolerance for the other dogs and esp the pups. The dog that adopted and nursed an orphaned litter of pups that weren't even born here is now not to be trusted with the pups. She has also started some fights with the other dogs when they startle her. Not the dog we know and we are having to manage things so differently and carefully now
The upside is her health and weight are good.
Bobbi BARKS non stop, which gets the others barking and he is eats everything and anything that he can. If he isn't barking, he is looking for food and then barking. Driving me and everyone else batty.

For the first time, we are being forced to crate and rotate dogs. And I have crates set up in several places of the house so I can crate or put a dog in a room and just shut the door because of the barking. I have spent a lot of money on food dispensors, toys etc.
Bobbi too is healthy and excellent weight..........if he would only stop barking

Sadly it isn't going to get better or easier but we'll manage.............some how.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:59 PM
JessLough JessLough is online now
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I'm going to post more when I get on a computer, but I wanted to mention, any sudden change of behaviour, especially if it's a big change, should be given a vet visit. So many things are pushed off as old age when really, its something else.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:21 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adojrts View Post
One thing that is surprising is her lack of tolerance for the other dogs and esp the pups. The dog that adopted and nursed an orphaned litter of pups that weren't even born here is now not to be trusted with the pups.
This is Maddie, too. Well, not the nursing part But Maddie's always been really tolerant and 'helped' teach the fosters I've had, of all ages. Now she doesn't tolerate puppy behavior like she used to, she's quicker to growl or snap. Only she doesn't have those front teeth because of that dog attack so its not an effective nip
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:33 AM
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Most of those sound like typical old dog things. But, I'll say that it's also similar to issues I had with Tully when she was first diagnosed with Cushings disease. Excessive hunger is one symptom of that, and with Tully at least, that also came with dramatic weight loss. Excessive drinking/urination is a super common symptom, and was the first one my Tully had, though we mistook it for behavioral because her bloodwork was normal. She had a lot of problems with incontinence, which turned out to clear up when she was treated for Cushings.

Since it's caused by a flood of cortisol, behavioral changes caused by the dog being afloat in stress hormone are not uncommon. In Tully's case, she eventually turned out to have neurological symptoms which indicate that she probably had a larger than usual adenoma in her pituitary, which may have been the reason her behavioral changes were so noticeable.

Not saying your dog does have Cushings, the normal bloodwork is indicative that she doesn't. But my Tully's bloodwork was always normal. I was told that was very unusual, but it obviously can happen.

I would consider ruling it out, were I you.
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