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Treatment for dementia/quality of life assessment

Customer's question: My senior dog is showing all of the classic signs of dementia and having a really hard time. Is there a supplement I can give her that will help?

Veterinarian's answer: Classic symptoms of dementia include disrupted sleep patterns, pacing, getting stuck in corners, house soiling and a loss of interest in participating in normal daily routines and rituals. If other medical issues are ruled out, you can try to get some relief from these symptoms by using a supplement called Denamarin, made by Nutramax Labs. If this proves to be ineffective and/or you're dealing with other serious issues like aggression and your pet's ability to keep herself clean, it's time to make an accurate assessment of her quality of life. While these conversations are difficult to have, it's crucial to keep your pet's best interests in mind and try to determine not only if she's suffering, but to be sure her quality of life is still good. There are online resources that can help you do this. Click on the links below to learn more: https://vet.osu.edu/vmc/sites/default/files/import/assets/pdf/hospital/companionAnimals/HonoringtheBond/HowDoIKnowWhen.pdf https://aplb.org/resources/quality-of-life_scale.html https://journeyspet.com/pet-quality-of-life-scale-calculator/

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Resolved Question:

You name it she exhibits all warning signs, gets stuck in corners and under the table, poops in the house, paces all night sleeps all day

Veterinarian's Assistant: Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the dog. What is the dog's name and age?

Juliet 14

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Juliet?

Nothing

Submitted: 4 months ago.
Answered in 4 minutes by:
3/12/2018
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3,480
Experience: DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
Verified

Hello,

I'm Dr. Jo and I'm here to help you today. I'm so sorry you're going through this. What is your question for me today, please?

Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
looking for dietary supplements that may reverse the effects of dog dimensia in our dog. shes 14 and seems to be pretty far along. She paces all night, gets stuck in corners and under tables and poops in the house.
Thanks

Understood. I know that can be really difficult to cope with. There aren't a lot of options for dogs in this state, and nothing works in every case, you can try some supplements. Let me get some information.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
ok thank you

You're welcome. Is there anything else I can help you with for now?

I'm so sorry you're going through this.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Nothing really i guess, we are just worried and feel bad thinking about putting our dog down, she has started to nip at us in the kitchen too, which we can easily avoid and do not have small children to worry about. We are trying to determine if she is suffering, and we're afraid she may hurt herself ( we have to walk her down the steps outside as she no longer has a concept of stairs or gravity)

I'm so sorry you're going through this. It really doesn't get any tougher.

I have some more information on assessing Juliet's quality of life that I'd like to share with you...

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
thanks

Journeys Quality of Life Scale Calculator

Instructions: For each variable there is an assigned value of 10 points with an example for scores of 1, 5 and 10 as guidance. Use your judgment to decide how your pet scores. Example: E – Eating and Drinking, if your pet “only eats treats” you may assign a value of 2 or 3- higher than 1 which is not eating at all, but less than 5 which is eating slightly less of their regular food than is normal for them.

Top of Form

Jumping or Mobility

Scale points to consider:

    • 1pt: Your pet cannot walk or stand without assistance.
    • 5pt: Your pet can move around as long as he/she has their pain medication. They can do about half the activities they did when they were healthier, or can get about half the distance on a walk, or spend half the time doing their activities (chasing a Frisbee, swimming, hunting) as they used to.
    • 10pt: Your pet is fully active and enjoying all their activities.
  • J - points for my pet*

Bottom of Form

·

O

Ouch or Pain

Scale points to consider:

  • 1pt: Your pet seems painful (whining, crying, not willing to move) even while taking pain medication. Note: many animals will hide pain or weakness as a survival trait.
  • 5pt: Your pet is on pain medications and they are helping at least 75% of the time.
  • 10pt: Your pet is pain free.

· O - points for my pet*

·

U

Uncertainty and Understanding (factors that affect YOU)

Scale points to consider:

  • 1pt: Your pet has a diagnosis (medical condition) that cannot be predicted. You may not understand the diagnosis, or the problem may be prone to sudden, catastrophic events.
  • 5pt: Your pet has a medical condition that can change over time, is currently stable, and you are able to monitor it (with the help of your veterinarian) and make adjustments when necessary. You understand what to watch for, the treatment plan, and when your pet needs medical attention.
  • 10pt: Your pet is happy and healthy; there are no medical issues beyond routine preventative care.

· U - points for my pet*

·

R

Respiration or Breathing

Scale points to consider:

  • 1pt: Your pet has severe episodes of difficulty breathing, coughing or open mouth breathing. They are not eating or drinking in an effort to breathe. At this point you should seek immediate medical attention for your pet.
  • 5pt: Your pet has occasional bouts of coughing, wheezing, or exercise intolerance. They are short (less than 2 minutes) and they are on medication from your veterinarian that can be adjusted to help.
  • 10pt: Your pet has no coughing, wheezing, or exercise intolerance.

· R - points for my pet*

·

N

Neatness or Hygiene

Scale points to consider:

  • 1pt: Your pet spends time laying in their urine and/or feces. They may be unable to control their elimination, or be unable to move after elimination. Your pet may have an external tumor or mass that is bleeding, foul smelling, and infected, and you are unable to keep it clean and/or bandaged. Your pet may have pressure sores (bed sores) from lying down and being unable to move.
  • 5pt: Your pet may need assistance to urinate/defecate but they do not spend time lying in their waste. They are able to hold their urine/feces until they get assistance. They may have an external tumor or mass, but it can be kept clean and/or bandaged and it is not infected. They groom themselves, but may need assistance in some areas (example-rear end).
  • 10pt: Your pet can urinate, defecate, and groom themselves without assistance. They have no medical issues that are causing them to have a bad odor. You can provide any care issues to address their hygiene (baths, trip to the groomer, anal gland expression, teeth cleaning, etc.)

· N - points for my pet*

·

E

Eating and Drinking

Scale points to consider:

  • 1pt: Your pet is refusing food and water. They may be vomiting or having diarrhea (or both). They may be nauseous. Cats may “hang out” at the water bowl, next to it, or with their heads hanging over it.
  • 5pt: Your pet is eating more slowly, and is not as interested in food as they used to be. They may go back several times before they finish a meal. They are eating slightly less than usual, but are eating their regular food.
  • 10pt: Your pet is eating and drinking normally.

· E - points for my pet*

·

Y

You

Scale points to consider:

  • 1pt: You are constantly worried about your pet. You may not understand what is happening to them. You feel overwhelmed and stressed trying to provide for their needs. You may feel you are unable to provide for their needs physically, emotionally, or financially. You may be worried about how they will fare when you are away on an upcoming trip. There may be tension in the family and disagreement on how to proceed.
  • 5pt: You understand your pet’s condition, and are able, with some effort, to meet their needs. You may have concerns, but they are manageable.
  • 10pt: You are easily able to meet your pet’s needs, and not worried about any aspect of their care.

· Y - points for my pet*

·

S

Social ability

Scale points to consider:

  • 1pt: Your pet does not spend time with the family. They may hide, become irritable or snippy if bothered. Some pets that do not enjoy being petted may not seem to care if they are petted. Perhaps your pet is unable physically to get to the room where they usually spend time with others.
  • 5pt: Your pet spends at least half the time with the family. They are not irritable or snippy. They happily greet you when you come home.
  • 10pt: Your pet enjoys you, the family, and others (including other animals they may know), greets you at the door when you arrive home, and seeks out company.

· S - points for my pet*

JOURNEYS Quality of Life Scale - Total

There are no hard and fast rules, although in general a higher score is better.

    • A score of 80 is a happy, healthy pet!
    • A score of 8 is a pet that is suffering. A low score on any of the measures may be a reason to consider euthanasia.

We hope this was a helpful starting place to explore your pet’s quality of life, and address your concerns with your veterinarian.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I appreciate the info

You're welcome.
If that's it for now, please take a moment to rate my response with 5 STARS so I may received credit for helping you today.

Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3,480
Experience: DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
Verified
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Experience: DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.

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