How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Roger L. Welton, DVM Your Own Question
Roger L. Welton, DVM
Roger L. Welton, DVM , Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1449
Experience:  Licensed Veterinarian, Practice Owner, and Book Author
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Roger L. Welton, DVM is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Our dog recently has become reclusive. She wants to be alone

This answer was rated:

Our dog recently has become reclusive. She wants to be alone but then suddenly starts to cry to be with us (at night). She avoids certain rooms and has become scared of her bed. She stares off sometimes just standing there, panting and staring at nothing. We took her to the vet and they think it's a spinal cord injury so she's on anti-inflammation meds, muscle relaxant and pain meds. She is hesitant going up and down stairs and back legs were shaking so we thought that was the problem.



A little bit more information will help me to better help you.


1.) What are the medications she is on?

2.) Have those medications help her at all?

3.) Is she worse at night?

4.) Stools, urine normal? Any accidents in the home? Eating drinking normally?




Dr. Roger

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi! Her meds are:


Anti-inflammatory (he thinks possibly inflamed disk)

Muscle relaxant

Pain reliever


The vet office said we should have seen a difference from the meds, but we don't see anything different.


Her stool and urine are fine. No accidents. Eating & drinking normal


She seems to be worse at night - cries a lot. When we bring her up with us she's fine but then starts licking her paws and slurping/licking the floor. During the day she's panting and walking in circles all the time or just staring off somewhere.

Thank you very much, that helps a great deal. I am not disputing that Abby has some pain in her back from spinal disk disease, as the rear limb issues may be consistent with that...but I do not think that the back problem is related to the staring, panting, confusion, etc. The fact that Abby seems to be worse at night is also telling.


The confusion your dog is experiencing is most likely the result of canine cognitive dysfunction, also known as senility or dementia. At 8 years old it may on its surface seem strange for a dog to have this, but English Mastiffs are wonderful dogs, but unfortunately they do not age gracefully. At 8 years old, she is already a very old girl. Advanced age and genetic predisposition just like senility in people, is what contributes to progression of disease. What is hallmark to me, is that the signs are worse at night...a very common finding in cases of canine cognitive dysfunction.


My advice to you would be to continue managing the suspected back disease, but print out this consultation and discuss concurrent management of cognitive dysfunction. Management of the disease is a two fold approach that combines medication and prescription diet.


The medication these cases commonly respond quite favorably to is selegiline, administered once daily by mouth. It not only can be very effective in keeping the senility at bay, but it is quite safe and has virtually no side effects. it should not adversely react with a any of the medications she is on.


Next, I would put her on the prescription anti-senility prescription diet called Hills B/D. It is specially formulated to reduce free radical formation that can exacerbate senility, while also feeding the body with very brain friendly nutrients.


My experience is that like in people, this is a battle that we are eventually poised to lose, as this condition gets worse over time, not better. However, since treatment is simple, often effective, and not terribly expensive, I see no down side to trying to give her (and you) some relief and potentially provide a 6-12 months remission.

Roger L. Welton, DVM, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1449
Experience: Licensed Veterinarian, Practice Owner, and Book Author
Roger L. Welton, DVM and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Dr. Welton. YOu were very helpful. Sad news but a part of us knew she might be going through this - I will ask our doctor for the meds you suggested. They actually want to do an MRI which can cost up to $3000. I'd rather see if we can try these meds first. Our main concern is that Abby is happy and not suffering. Thanks again.




It is my pleasure to help. Best of luck to you and Abby!

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Previous | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Dr. Gary

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Joan's Avatar


    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • Candy's Avatar


    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • 's Avatar

    Satisfied Customers:

  • Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew


    Satisfied Customers:

    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery

Related Dog Questions