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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings. I have read this forum for years but never posted. I need any advice I can get on how to help my senior dobies. I have a male, that's doing pretty good. Had cancer last year but almost a year without occurrence. He is 12, well-bred and only started showing signs of anxiety and arthritis in the last year or so. He's a big boy, now at 85 pounds, and having occasional accidents in the house and trouble sleeping.

It's my girl that's the most ill. She's 12 as well, but I adopted her at 3 years old. She was horribly abused and I don't think very well bred. She's had health issues the whole time I've had her. About a year ago, she developed dimentia. The confusion and sleeping difficulties are bad enough, it's the almost panic attacks she has, often at night, that are the most difficult, and most sleep disruptive for me. She is on meds, but the vet said, anything that helps a little is progress. Some don't find any relief on meds. She is also having poop accidents, when she sleeps and now often can't get outside quickly enough. She's also gone about 80% deaf.

She has great mobility issues and can't get up on her own anymore. She falls a lot too. I've worked very hard at keeping her weight down, so she's around 68 pounds now. Not skinny, but on the thinner side. Oh yeah, and now she's started having seizures.

She is the sweetest thing on the planet and I'm trying to find anything that I can do to help me care for her now. Anyone have any ideas on the best way to help your big dobie get around? I have a lift harness that helps a little but it's getting tough on my back. I also think I'm going to have to start using diapers as my mom, who lives with me, is almost at the point of not being able to take her out when I'm at work.

I would be most grateful for any advice anyone has for senior dobies. Having two senior ones is far harder than I ever thought. I also never expected my girl, Katie, to live to 10, never mind 12. She has such determination. It's amazing. She still even tries to protect the house even though she can't really do anything other than bark.

Thank you,
Sharon
 

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dang, i wrote a long post and then......it was gone. :(

i'll make this one short.

read up on CVI aka Wobblers.

also research the supplement MSM.

do a few searches on DT for senior doberman health.

so sad when they start going downhill.

Hugz to you and your Senior Doberman.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, she's on a lot. Thyroid medication, proin, rimadyl, diazepam, Dausequin MSM (twice a day), resveratrol (non-grape based formula), ginko biloba and a couple other supplements I can't remember right now. I have done a lot of searches over the past year. The rimadyl is a small dose because she's no longer existing a lot of pain. Her difficulty in walking seems to be lack of muscle strength, and of course the arthritis. Both my dobies eat a grain-free natural dog food supplemented with pureed chicken and sometimes speghetti sauce and yogurt, flax seed. I appreciate the words of comfort Darkev. We have wondered about wobblers with her as xrays showed compression of the neck vertibre when I got her and her front legs are bowed out. Of course this only makes her problems with her back end more difficult. Her front was never stable to begin with.

Any other words of advice or supplements to try would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Oh and my boy, whose in much better shape, is on Dausequin (once a day) and a bunch of supplements with regards to his cancer. I have been reading a lot from a dog cancer specialist, I can't remember his name, and the supplements he recommends.
 

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I was surprised to see that there is favorable research regarding the use of ginkgo in dogs... I didn't know that, so thanks for the opportunity to learn something! I would be cautious with this for any dog that had bleeding issues... I increased the amount I take of this myself, and find I am bleeding like crazy from even little scratches!

I am wondering if you have given Anipryl a try. If the ginkgo isn't really doing the job, it might be worth switching to Anipryl for a month just to see if it was more helpful. I have used it with one dog, and was amazed at the results. Not all dogs will do as well as mine did, but possibly it would work better for her. I do not know if it can be used in combination with the ginkgo and the other meds/herbs she is on.

Valium for dogs I have never been all that impressed with. Sometimes, valium can compromise motor skills and I am wondering if this could maybe be making the instability worse...

You can very safely increase the quantity of MSM you are giving above and beyond what is in the Dausequin. Another 1000 or 2000 mg. per day might improve her mobility.

Which grain free kibble are you on? Recently, some lower protein grain free products have been introduced, and for senior dogs, particularly, you want as high protein as you can get. You talked about her lacking muscle strength... protein deficiency will cause a loss of muscle mass (and, therefore, strength), which you can see as the hollowness some elder dogs develop in the hind end.

I wish I had more for you, but it sounds like you've done your research and have a helpful vet... I am not sure I have any suggestions that would make a huge difference.
 

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I was surprised to see that there is favorable research regarding the use of ginkgo in dogs... I didn't know that, so thanks for the opportunity to learn something! I would be cautious with this for any dog that had bleeding issues... I increased the amount I take of this myself, and find I am bleeding like crazy from even little scratches!

She doesn't have any bleeding issues. I did read about those concern. It's always good to be reminded.
I am wondering if you have given Anipryl a try. If the ginkgo isn't really doing the job, it might be worth switching to Anipryl for a month just to see if it was more helpful. I have used it with one dog, and was amazed at the results. Not all dogs will do as well as mine did, but possibly it would work better for her. I do not know if it can be used in combination with the ginkgo and the other meds/herbs she is on.

I have thought about trying it now that finances are better. Maybe I'll talk to my vet about it in a few weeks when she has her annual checkup.
Valium for dogs I have never been all that impressed with. Sometimes, valium can compromise motor skills and I am wondering if this could maybe be making the instability worse...

It could be affecting her instability, but after trying four different medications, this was the only one that helped with her anxiety. Beyond my sleep deprivation, I was getting very worried about how little sleep she was getting. Plus that constant high level of anxiety, even when I was with her, figured couldn't be good for her health.
You can very safely increase the quantity of MSM you are giving above and beyond what is in the Dausequin. Another 1000 or 2000 mg. per day might improve her mobility.

I didn't know that. Any brand you would recommend?
Which grain free kibble are you on? Recently, some lower protein grain free products have been introduced, and for senior dogs, particularly, you want as high protein as you can get. You talked about her lacking muscle strength... protein deficiency will cause a loss of muscle mass (and, therefore, strength), which you can see as the hollowness some elder dogs develop in the hind end.

She is on Blue Buffalo Freedom. But it's supplemented with shredded chicken.
I wish I had more for you, but it sounds like you've done your research and have a helpful vet... I am not sure I have any suggestions that would make a huge difference.
Any advice is appreciated. Even just a sympathetic ear. I do have a good vet, but he doesn't always go too far outside the box. So he suggested Dausequin (after she'd been on Cosequin for a while) but didn't suggest extra MSM. So thanks so much!
 

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I use this: Now Foods, MSM, 1000 mg, 240 Capsules - iHerb.com. If you PM me, I will give you my e-mail, which you can use to get a $5.00 discount on your first order... as a disclaimer, I get to "own" you, and will get a tiny percentage... but, I really like iHerb and have been recommending them for their prices, service and selection since long before they started their referral program.

The Blue Freedom is a moderate protein food. Unless you are adding LOTS of chicken, you may not be meeting her needs, protein-wise... and, if you are adding lots of chicken, you may be causing nutritional holes in other areas. Something like Innova EVO would be my first choice, and you could even bump the protein higher with some chicken...

I really think you should cross your fingers and give the Anipryl a shot. There is a generic version that's a little less spendy. I was dealing with most of what you wrote about(confusion, anxiety, night time distress, house soiling, etc.) and it all was magically fixed in a couple of weeks... my understanding is that it proves effective to some extent for about 80% of dogs. If the valium is making her unsteady and the Anipryl worked, you might even be able to help her instability by dumping the valium. You might want to see about using a bit of milk thistle, too, since Anipryl in some cases affects the liver (although it did no damage to my dog).
 

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I would ask your vet about Adequan shots. Beginning when he was about 12.5, I gave my Walker (died at age 14.5) monthly muscle shots at home of Adequan, daily Cosequin tabs and daily Rimadyl. The Adequan made a huge difference in his ability to get up on his own and remain mobile.

He was started on the Adequan shots initially at one per week for a month and then monthly thereafter.

I love senior Dobes. They are so laid back and appreciate all that we do for them.

Good luck with your girl.
 

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When my Papillon was old the last two years were bad she did not know us,did not eat,she wore diapers, BUT it was off & on I would think it was time for her to go then she would be better for a few days the have a bad day or two. My vet said to give her Fish Oil they had went to a seminar Fish Oil helped their brain work better.The vet thought she had Alzheimer's dog can get it too.At 14 & 1/2 years old she finely quit eating so had her put to sleep. They are hard to work with since they go back and forth on the good days and bad days. Good Luck to you both.
 

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Are you seeing a specialist for the canine cognitive disfunction (dementia)? That's really the domain of a specialist, specifically a veterinary behaviorist. Most regular vets aren't well-equipped to help you with the different medication options and how they interact with other meds.
 
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