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Demented dog

My dog is demented. For real.

For the past month or so he has been weird. He spends much of every evening and night pacing and panting and trying to squeeze into weird spaces and getting stuck. He gets up on the bed (for some dogs that’s normal, but not for Sam) and then paces on the bed, walking on me, sitting on my head, drooling, panting, and just being restless and bizarre. The other night I had to turn my bedside table upside down just so he’d stop trying to climb up on it – the sound of his toenails repeatedly scraping the surface of it was driving me insane. The episodes of dementia go on for half an hour to two hours at a time, usually once or twice an evening and twice a night. I can’t sleep until it’s over, because he’s so noisy and disruptive about it.

I can’t take it anymore. I feel sorry for him, but I also feel so frustrated and MAD after awhile. I feel guilty getting mad at him, but I can’t help it. I’m sleep deprived. I’m losing at least a third of my sleep hours every single night, and spending that missing sleep time feeling frustrated. It’s like having a colicky baby.

I took him to the vet a couple of weeks ago, and they put him on Deramaxx for arthritic pain, thinking his night-time restlessness was pain-related. It helped for a few days, but that’s all. Today I called the vet, and he said he didn’t want to prescribe the dementia medication (Anipryl) without first talking to that vet who saw him last time, and he’s on vactation. So I’ve got to wait another week before he can start the meds, and then it takes up to a month for them to start working – if they work.

It’s affecting the quality of both our lives to the point where I’m considering euthanasia. Between getting ready to move, waiting for the layoffs, lack of sleep, and having a demented dog, I am feeling pretty ragged.

8 comments to Demented dog

  • Oh I know that feeling of guilt. In her last year or so, my dog had this breathing issue where she would pant really loudly ALL the time. It kind of got on my nerves from time to time I can tell you. But when she couldn’t get up from the ground one day and we put her on Metacam and knew it was nearing the end, all of that irritation seemed to go away. She lived another 8 months after we thought it was “the end” and every month in that time, there was something else that we thought was “the end”, especially the blood in the poop part. But she kept bouncing back and I was surprised to find that I didn’t resent her sickly self as I thought I might, given the irritation with just the heavy breathing before she really started her final decline. We were really fortunate to have a super vet for the last 8 months too. I told her during one visit that I wanted to do the right thing but I didn’t want to do the wrong thing and the vet said she wouldn’t let me go wrong. As it turned out, Uma died at home so I didn’t even have to make “the decision”.

    All this to say that I think you will know when the time is right for you and your dog. If you are getting to the point where euthanasia will make both your lives better, then your vet should help you to make that decision too. It’s so sad when they leave us but it is all part of life. Hang in there.

  • Hang in there, Zoom, we’re pulling for you and for Sam. Keep us posted.

  • Thank you Julia and Dave. I’m hoping that the drugs will help – and also that getting the move behind us will help, as I’m sure that’s unsettling for Sam. Meanwhile I ran away from home last night and slept at a friend’s place just so I wouldn’t go stark raving mad from sleep deprivation. Tomorrow’s the move, and hopefully a turning point for both Sam and me.

  • All the best for the move and you and Sam getting settled in your new place.

  • I managed to get a couple of nights of respite care for Sam, which I desperately needed, and I feel human again. He’s still having his episodes, but I’m better able to handle it now that I’ve had some sleep. I appreciate all your kind comments. (I don’t suppose any of you want a dog,eh?)

  • Donna

    My dog passed away 2 days ago from a severe reaction to 20 days on Deramaxx. He had all the symptoms you describe. On his last night he had seizures. We rushed him to the hospital and he died the next morning. It was the Deramaxx that killed him. Even if he recovered, he may have been brain damaged. An autopsy is being preformed. Good luck with your dog.

  • Donna, I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. That’s awful. How old was he, and what kind of dog was he?

    My dog is still demented, no longer on the Deramaxx and taking escalating dosages of Clomicalm. He’s never going to be ‘normal’ again.

    Again, I’m very sorry about your dog. I hope you’re okay.

  • I am so very sorry for your loss. My chocolate lab, George, had to be put to sleep because of irreversible adverse reactions to Rimadyl – and that was in Oct. 1997 – the adverse reactions and deaths continue in dogs that are prescribed drugs such as Rimadyl, Etogesic, Deramaxx, Metacam, Zubrin, Previcox (NSAIDS). Vets prescribe these drugs like candy for every ache and pain – but neglect to point out the adverse side effects and neglect to do blood work prior to prescribing.

    With sincere condolences.