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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 14826
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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She is very old, smells like death, her breath as well. She

Customer Question

She is very old, smells like death, her breath as well. She doesn't seem to be in pain, but for the last month, she suddenly is at all hours at night? Because she doesn't seem to be in pain, we have not taken her to the vet, not sure what is happening?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Lucky, 15 year old, Pit, mostly Pit
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Lucky?
Customer: She has a bunch of little growths on her body, but again, nothing bleeding or that seems to be hurting her?
Submitted: 6 days ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 6 days ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Ok
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Are you there?
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 6 days ago.

I am sorry to hear that Lucky has multiple little growths and that she seems especially restless at night and refuses to settle.

I do believe that a geriatric blood profile may be helpful in figuring out why she is behaving the way she is. Many laboratories offer a mini panel that hit the highlights and allow you to see if her organs are functioning normally for a reasonable price.

In some dogs as they age their organ systems don't work as well as they once did, and waste products that their organs usually filter out build up in the blood stream and that affects brain function. They may behave much differently because their brain function isn't normal.

If her blood tests are normal then at her age I be more inclined to believe this is related to "sundowner's syndrome" or beginning senility. Their symptoms often tend to occur at night when they are sleepy and more easily confused. It's dark and if they awake they may not remember where they are or what they are supposed to do. As dogs age, just like people, they tend not to sleep as soundly and as such may wake multiple times a night.

In some cases they are over-tired and cannot fall asleep. It is common for these pups to pace and they may sometimes vocalize or stumble too in their confusion. They can even forget their housebreaking habits as things progress and eliminate in the house.

I recommend leaving a night light on at night to help her orient himself if she wakes up. I'm sure it will help to speak calmly to her as well and resettle her if she sleeps in the same room with you.

Sometimes changing the diet to one high in antioxidants and brain supportive nutrients helps. B/d diet by Hills Prescription Science diet products is an excellent one.

A medication called Anipryl (l-selegilene) can also be very helpful. It increases brain neurotransmitter chemicals.

I would call your veterinarian and describe what you have been noticing. They may be willing to prescribe Anipryl if she has been seen within the past year given Lucky's symptoms. If not you can at least purchase the b/d diet from them and see if it helps.

In the meantime you can also try a supplement called Melatonin. This is a naturally found hormone in dogs and people that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle and is involved in seasonal shedding in dogs.

This is a medication that we do use sometimes in dogs to help them relax and sleep, and in cases that have abnormal shedding patterns related to seasonal light changes or abnormal growth hormone fluctuations. The usual dose in dogs is 2mg to 12mg per dog every 12 to 24 hours. Make sure to give a dose 2 hours before bedtime.

Make sure to read the label and DO NOT use the fast dissolve tablets of Melatonin with xylitol as xylitol is toxic for dogs.

To help calm her I like DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) diffusers or collars very much. This is a synthetic analog of a calming pheromone a nursing bitch produces when nursing. These can be used along with a homeopathic, such as Bach's rescue remedy. This is a drop which can be added to food or water.

If none of this seems to be working antihistamines often have the side effect of making a dog sleepy. If she does not have any history of glaucoma or heart disease you can give her Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with decongestants or acetaminophen as they can be toxic for dogs) at 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight or one 25mg capsule per 15 to 25 pounds of body weight orally every 8 hours. At her age with a likely slower metabolism I would start with a lower dose and see what effect it has.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 6 days ago.

You are very welcome, my best to Lucky.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 4 days ago.
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara