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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 25223
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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I took my dog to the vet the other day because he was

Customer Question

I took my dog to the vet the other day because he was running frantically around the house and couldn't stop, his eyes were desperate he, he was panting, and obviously in distress. He is an older very calm dog. The vet asked me if this was normal he knows my dog and knew it wasn't normal. He gave him a shot of Valium and by the time the Valium or off my dog was a little better. I have Changed his food to include boiled rice and pumpkin. He continued to have my older episodes like that and again this evening has had one that slightly worse. He weighs about 24 pounds, and then antihistamine we have used in the past for his itches. These seem to help for the moment somewhat but are not solving the problem. I think his intestinal tract and even his mouth is in pain. After the first episode he had diarrhea for two days.
Can you be of any help?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. When there's such a dramatic change in behavior in a dog of Rocky's age, the search for a medical etiology should be made before symptoms persist for a week. While any dog could potentially act like this, dogs of his age don't have the reserve of a much younger dog. Rocky's behavior isn't pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one disorder. He may be experiencing episodes of pain as you suspect or, instead, suffering from sundowner's syndrome - a form of cognitive dysfunction (senility) seen at night when sensory deprivation consistent with age is accentuated by the quiet and dark of night and so severe anxiety can arise. His gastrointestinal distress as evidenced by diarrhea might have resulted from this anxiety rather than the other way around.

I would begin with a thorough physical exam including diagnostics in the form of a senior/geriatric panel of blood and urine tests. X-rays of his chest and abdomen should be considered as well - particularly if results of the panel need to be clarified. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.