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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11110
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 17 years.
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Our dog, Joy, (male pit & Our dog, Joy, is a pit & American

Customer Question

Our dog, Joy, (male pit bull &
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What seems to be the problem with Joy?
Customer: Our dog, Joy, is a pit bull & American bull dog mix. We rescued him when he was about 7 mos. old. He is now 11 years old. His overall health is very good, we have him checked regularly, his liver and kidney tests only a month ago, showed as very healthy in the high normal range. However, he has had seizures, starting 3 years ago. At first just one, then gradually became more frequent. He is on phenobarbital, and a small dose of potassuim bromide with a small dose of valuim per day.
JA: Seizures always look scary. Let's get you talking to the Veterinarian. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Joy?
Customer: Yes, our concern is that although we have a wonderful vet who comes to our home, we have told him that Joy becomes very overly sensitive to touch and very anxious at night when he goes to bed and it takes us both quite a while to calm him - he sleeps with us. He seems to have something that it making him very uncomfortable in his entire body, and if you stroke him he is fine, but if you suddenly touch him, he has a startle response. He basically seems to be hurting in some way, and our vet does not seem to understand this. His advice is only to feed, water, walk, which we have already done. We are wondering if this is a side effect of the meds he is on. He was never like this before. Thank you so much. We feel heart broken to hear him panting hard and crying softly and we don't know what else to do.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 4 months ago.

Welcome to the chat! I am Dr. Altman and am happy to answer your questions today

So sorry to hear you are having these change which sound like cognitive changes in your senior pet. It is also possible his hearing and/ or sight are affected and this is why he is reacting with a startle when touched suddenly (testing with barriers throughout the house with movement for his sight or sounds at various octaves to test his hearing)

Below is more information on my suspicion, called canine cognitive disorder:

http://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/keeping-your-dog-healthy/senior-dog-care/cognitive-dysfunction-in-elderly-dogs

There are treatments for this that can help in supplement form but also in some situations medications as well.

1.) Melatonin can help with barking or increased movement at night

2.) Proneurozone which is a supplement for brain function that can help with mental clarify in senior pets. It is available through your veterinarian but also on-line at stores like amazon.com

3.) Fish oil is essential for brain function and used at higher doses to help cognitive function. For example, for your dog's size 1000 mg EPA & DHA daily. This can be a human formula

4.) Anipryl which is a medication used for cognitive function if the above options are not helping

5.) Alprazolam (xanax) is used for episodes of anxiety not controlled by conventional methods. Not intended for daily use but is effective as needed (in the diazepam or valium family)

6.) Donepezil 10 mg is a newer option used in human Alzheimer’s patients and is receiving attention by some veterinarians for cognitive dysfunction that we see in dogs as well as in humans. The dose ranges from 10-30 mg (1.5 mg/kg average) daily

These are all methods that your veterinarian would have available to you to assist with some of the cognitive issues and some that you should be able to purchase at a local vitamin store or on-line

I hope the above options are helpful to you but if I can assist with clarifying anything or guiding any further questions you might have please don't hesitate to ask.

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