Dog Veterinary

Ask a Dog Vet and Get Answers to Your Dog Health Questions

Ask a Dog Veterinarian,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Dog Veterinary
This answer was rated:

For over a month my 9 year old dog has been restless at night. It seemed to start suddenly

. He will lay down...
For over a month my 9 year old dog has been restless at night. It seemed to start suddenly . He will lay down but then get up and pace and then just stand there, like he is spaced out. Sometimes he jumps out of bed like something bit him. He tucks his tail between his legs and his respiratory rate is not always, but usually high (often 80-100 breaths per minute). His heart rate is 50 bpm. He lays on his belly and elbows, like he is resting, not sleeping (though he will lay on his side if he is really tired). He licks his anus and expresses his anal glands (something he has never done on his own before), though this may not be related and may just be due to his skin allergies. His blood work is normal and x-rays of his back and hips only show mild arthritis in his "lower" back. I showed a video of him "spacing out" to the vet, and he was put on phenobarbital. He slept at night for about 5 days but once his system got used to the meds, he's been up again. He will dig at the floor but not
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Dog Veterinary Question
Answered in 56 minutes by:
10/17/2013
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,520
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified

Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I'm sorry to hear about Rowdy's night-time restlessness.

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. I am glad to see that Rowdy has had some blood tests that show his organ function is normal and that is not his problem.

The other possibility given his confusion which seems to worsen at night is that he is experiencing senility, not uncommon at as dogs age although he is a little young. These dogs often forget their housebreaking, seem more confused at night when it is dark, cannot seem to remember whether they have eaten or not, and seem to pace, looking for something they cannot find. They may all of the sudden get into the garbage or chew up things when they never displayed these habits before.

If his organ function is normal there are medications that can help with senility and the associated anxiety, such as Anipryl (L-deprenyl or selegiline). There is also a diet formulated for older dogs high in the particular trace minerals and supplements needed for healthy brain function in older dogs called Hills b/d.

 

There are anti-anxiety drugs such as amitriptyline or fluoxetine that can be used as well if Anipryl doesn't work for him.

 

I must warn you that these medications and the b/d diet doesn't work for all dogs
and they may not work for long but they may allow him to rest and relax at night and help with his confusion

 

Because we know he has some spinal arthritis it may help to treat that as well so he is more comfortable.

Long term for joint pain/arthritis I do recommend using a combination of a glucosamine/chondroitin product (examples are Dasuquin or Cosequin) and an
omega 3 fatty acid (like 3V Caps or Derm Caps). These work synergistically and
improve cartilage health and joint fluid quality and quantity as well as reducing inflammation. They can take several weeks to see full improvement but some dogs do very well with them alone. They are available over the counter.

Another option is a product called Duralactin. This is an anti-inflammatory product derived from milk proteins and it also has omega 3 fatty acids incorporated into it which can be very helpful. See this link for further information: http://www.duralactin.com/products_canine.htm

If that's not enough his veterinarian can prescribe drugs that are more potent. Veterinary drugs we can add include a nonsteroidal like Metacam, Deramaxx, Previcox or Rimadyl. If those aren't enough we can add another drug in the opiod family called Tramadol and/or another drug called Gabapentin.

I also recommend night lights and playing soft music at night as a way to comfort him. Sometimes when vision and hearing acuity are decreasing the dark and quiet at night can be disorienting for them.

 

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Ask Your Own Dog Veterinary Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago


Dr. Kara,


Thank you for your reply. He was actually prescribed some Vetprofen as well, just in case. I gave him his first dose this morning, and will give the second dose tonight and see if that helps him. I bought some Phycox joint chews as well, but he refuses to eat them (luckily we have another older dog who likes them).


 


As far as the jumping out of bed and tail-tucking, pacing, and reluctance to lay back down, I assumed it was because of physical discomfort or pain. But then again, he's fine during the day from what we've seen. Do you think that it's a physical thing, or could senility do that too? (Or both?) Before I first took him to the vet, I was reading on senility, but was unsure since it was pretty much an overnight change.


 


A side note, even after being on prednisone and still on antibiotics, he his still chewing on himself like crazy, and looks moth-eaten. He sees a dermatologist for allergies, and usually clears up on those meds. Do you think that allergies come into play with this, other than the obvious itchiness/discomfort? We bathe him once a week with chlorhexadine shampoo.


 


Other thoughts I've heard are thyroid issues (for the spacing out/partial-seizure like episode) and brain tumor (yikes), but of course MRIs are pretty pricey so we haven't gone that route yet.


 


I received a call from the vet tech just a little while ago, and she's going to relay the information to our regular vet. So we'll see what he wants to try next ...


 


Thanks! Caitlyn :)

Caitlyn, with as bad as his allergies sound it is possible that his discomfort is driving at least part of his behavior. I didn't realize he was affected that badly. It is possible that he is distracted enough during the day so he is less uncomfortable then, but at night when all is quiet and he isn't distracted then he gets restless because he is more aware.

 

The same can be said of senility though, in that when there is activity and stimulation during the day they tend to be better. At night when many environmental cues are gone, they are tired, and lighting is dim we tend to see more symptoms.

 

We can try treating his allergies more aggressively, though we cannot use steroids if he is on Vetprofen, we can add antihistamines and omega 3 fatty acids, and see if that helps. I would bathe him more frequently too, twice weekly if you can. The cool water will remove allergens and soothe his skin. Make sure to use a conditioner to add moisture back to his coat.

As far as antihistamines you can try:

1) Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with acetaminophen or decongestants as they can be toxic) at 1mg to 2mg per pound or one 25mg capsule per 25 pounds of dog orally every 8 hours.
OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 25 pound dog once or twice daily.

OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 1mg per pound orally every 8 hours.

OR 4) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.

Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another.
Give the one you pick a week to 10 day trial and if it isn't working try another. Be
aware antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some dogs. These
side effects do wear off with repeated use.

You can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with inhaled allergies (they also help with the symptoms of flea allergy). In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone.

Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil products. 3V by DVM or Derm Caps ES are good brand name products. Use the high end of the dosing schedule for your pup's weight.


Hypothyroidism can certainly lead to poor skin and coat condition and would explain his poor response to what usually works to relieve his allergic symptoms. We can see neurologic symptoms with hypothyroidism but it isn't very common and we usually see things like incoordination and seizures. I don't think it's a bad idea to evaluate his thyroid function. I would recommend a full thyroid panel be done, not just a T-4.

Ask Your Own Dog Veterinary Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thanks again. We have tried several different antihistamines, but not all. Normally his allergies are relatively well controled, but I guess something lately has just been extra bad. Maybe it's time to try another type of antihistamine. We feed him high-quality food with salmon, but I imagine that doesn't provide that much oil, so maybe we'll give that a go as well.


 


He's a 65 lb dog, but sometimes I wish he was a lap dog because bathing would be so much easier! We have tried so much for him; he's even done Atopica, allergy shots, and two different drug trials. I guess he is just a special dog. I know it's difficult to get the big picture and all the information from this type of forum, but I appreciate your help. Maybe we'll try the thyroid test as well, just to rule that out.


 


Thanks again!
Caitlyn

My nose tells me that this has been a bad fall for allergies so it is possible that your pup is suffering more then usual. While fish based diets are great they don't usually have enough omega 3's to be useful in skin conditions so I would add more.

If he's had any stomach upset as well (vomiting, reflux, loose stools or gas) then perhaps a switch to a true hypoallergenic diet is worth a try. Food allergies could certainly cause skin symptoms not consistently helped with steroids. You could try Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet and it must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects.

I feel your pain on bathing a big dog, my pup is a 70 pound greyhound.

I think a thyroid profile is a good idea.

 

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,520
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified
Dr. Kara and 87 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Hi Caitlyn,

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

Dr. Kara
Ask Your Own Dog Veterinary Question
Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,520
17,520 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

Dr. Kara is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

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... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...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:

It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete!

Bev & GeorgeBoca Raton, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie

Dog Veterinarian

902 satisfied customers

Companion animal veterinarian practicing for over 10 years.

Dr. Andy

Dr. Andy

Medical Director

16,112 satisfied customers

UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management

Dr. Gary

Dr. Gary

Dog Veterinarian

9,980 satisfied customers

DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)

Dr Scott Nimmo

Dr Scott Nimmo

Dog Veterinarian

9,897 satisfied customers

BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }

Dr. Scott

Dr. Scott

Veterinarian

9,615 satisfied customers

15 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet medicine and surgery.

Dr. Bruce

Dr. Bruce

Veterinarian

9,134 satisfied customers

15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian

Rebecca

Rebecca

Dog Veterinarian

7,745 satisfied customers

More than 30 years of companion animal practice.

< Previous | Next >

Related Dog Veterinary Questions
My 15 year old Shih Tzu is on rimadyl for arthritis pain. Is
My 15 year old Shih Tzu is on rimadyl for arthritis pain. Is this the best med for her to be on and I cannot get her to take it no matter what I put it in peanut butter marshmallows ham turkey cheese … read more
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Veterinarian
17,520 satisfied customers
He apparently sprained his leg while playing with the
He apparently sprained his leg while playing with the neighbor's dogs and his leg was swollen for several days. Upon my return, the swelling has reduced to just the "ankle" area, both sides. He is fin… read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
DVM
3 satisfied customers
Our 7 year old greyhound limps on her left leg. She is an
Our 7 year old greyhound limps on her left leg. She is an absolute wimp so if it hurt she would be howling. X-rays are negative so no broken bones or osteosarcoma. No pain when manipulating the leg, t… read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
DVM
3 satisfied customers
11 year old Newfoundland experiencing heavy arthritis,
11 year old Newfoundland experiencing heavy arthritis, having difficulty in sleeping due to pain, difficulty in mobility. … read more
Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb
Associate Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
564 satisfied customers
My dog was ok and playing but at evening his front legs
Hi my dog was ok and playing but at evening his front legs became paralyzed. … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
9,206 satisfied customers
My chihuahua ate the Previcox dosage intended for my golden
my chihuahua ate the Previcox dosage intended for my golden retriever … read more
Dr. Gabby
Dr. Gabby
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
4,408 satisfied customers
My dog developed a limp (hind leg) after playing outside. We
My dog developed a limp (hind leg) after playing outside. We assumed she had just landed wrong running around. Since then, she will not climb stairs. This evening she came inside having trouble walkin… read more
Dr. Peter
Dr. Peter
Doctors Degree
14,323 satisfied customers
Dog (large greyhound) swallowed a bone on the morning walk.
Dog (large greyhound) swallowed a bone on the morning walk. I tried to get it out of his mouth but he swallowed it. About 1.5 hours ago. No choking or anything worried about it passing through the int… read more
DocPaul
DocPaul
Doctoral Degree
680 satisfied customers
My dog was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism. He's been on
HI my dog was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism. He's been on the thyroid meds now for about 2 weeks. He has a blood test next week to check his thyroid levels, but my concern is he's getting worse. … read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
DVM
3 satisfied customers
Has bone tumour on nose and now has frequent nose bleeds.
Has bone tumour on nose and now has frequent nose bleeds. Told vet but not getting clear answer. When is nose bleeds too much?? She had 3 today … read more
Joan
Joan
Private
355 satisfied customers
She was given rimadyl injection as she hurt her leg and
She was given rimadyl injection as she hurt her leg and can't walk on it. She has been breathing quickly since this all happened … read more
Scott Perry
Scott Perry
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
1,529 satisfied customers
I am currently using previcox to treat my dog's prostate and
I am currently using previcox to treat my dog's prostate and bladder cancer and he is having a second bout with colitis. I had great success treating him with metronidazole the first time around and a… read more
Dr. Gabby
Dr. Gabby
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
4,408 satisfied customers
He's 10 years old and being treated for seizures with
He's 10 years old and being treated for seizures with Zonismide and this evening he is uncoordinated and cannot walk. The vet says this is a side affect of the drug so I'm doing some research on your … read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
9,206 satisfied customers
My greyhound has just swollowed lamb chops bones whole out
My greyhound has just swollowed lamb chops bones whole out of the kitchen bin and I couldn't get them out of his mouth in time. Before we adopted him, he had had previous emergency surgery after swall… read more
Richard Rawling
Richard Rawling
Veterinary Surgeon
BVMS
629 satisfied customers
Taking Rimadyl for arthritis. Seeing if alternative for my
Taking Rimadyl for arthritis. Seeing if alternative for my dog. Only taking 12.5 mg a day. Half morning half night … read more
Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
9 satisfied customers
Being treated for arthritis with gabapentin, tramadol.
being treated for arthritis with gabapentin, tramadol. Started withba … read more
Dr. B.
Dr. B.
Veterinary Degree (BVMS)
3,454 satisfied customers
Is it ok to be on previcox and metronidazole at the same
Is it ok to be on previcox and metronidazole at the same time. … read more
Amber Hinson
Amber Hinson
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
47 satisfied customers
My dog is being treated for hypothyroidism. He is now
my dog is being treated for hypothyroidism. He is now developing sores. I have taken him to his vet and he was given a shot for the itchy skin and a pill to take for 10 days, antibiotics and things cl… read more
Carole Cocagne
Carole Cocagne
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
318 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x