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Dr B
Dr B, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1785
Experience:  DVM
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Staring at the ground

Customer Question

Your question: "My ten year old Mini Schnauzer has been displaying a "new behavior" these past four days. He seems to look at the ground and look stare as if something is there, and then at times appears to be sniffing . He's usually lying down when he does this. What the heck can be causing this?


If the Vet working on this question cannot get to it within the next ten minutes...can you kindly pass it on to the next ver? Thanks!



CAN I GIVE THIS QUESTION TO ANOTHER VET PLEASE!! There are many VETS online...I need someone to answer this question or how can I just cancel it?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr B replied 4 years ago.

Dr. J. :

Hi, I am sorry that someone did not get to you sooner but I am going to try and help you now. My biggest concern with what you have described is that he may have some very mild symptoms of cognitive decline. We now know that dogs can actually experience cognitive decline as they age. One of the symptoms of that can be staring at things that are not really there. I would recommend that you try to take him in to your vet and get a CBC, chem panel, thyroid check and urinalysis done.If this all checks out ok and he has no other symptoms then I would consider a supplement called neutricks. It is a natural compound that actually helps the brain in older dogs function better. There is also a diet called science diet BD (brain diet) that can also help with doggy cognitive decline.But to arrive at this diagnosis, you need to get the bloodwork completed first.Again, I am very sorry someone did not answer you sooner. I just got off work and got to you as soon as I could. Please let me know if you have further questions or concerns. I want you to feel totally satisfied with my answers. Most Sincerely, Dr.J

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for's not your fault that someone didn't get to me sooner, but I do appreciate your empathy.


As far as the "cognitive" decline goes. Wouldn't that be a "gradual thing?" Suddenly to show up within the past four days or so, I thought that odd. Can dogs have vitreous floaters? Perhaps he is seeing things float? Or could it be an infection? Maybe in the urine. I know as a medical expert in humans that cognitive confusion can come about in the elderly, almost mimicking "alzheimers/dementia" when they have a urinary tract infection. Would it or could it have the same affect on a dog?


But I will definitely have the bloodwork up drawn this weekend along with a completel urinalysis.

Expert:  Dr B replied 4 years ago.
Hi, these are all good questions. A common problem with deal with in veterinary medicine is that our patients cannot talk so this renders us unable to notice many things early on. Cognitive decline in dogs usually just looks like old age changes and most owners do not even notice. The reason I recommended the bloodwork is because cognitive decline is a diagnosis of exclusion. He could have a UTI but they are uncommon in male dogs and usually do not manifest as you have described. I hope this helps and I hope you get to the bottom of it very soon. And don't hesitate to shoot me some more questions. I will be checking my computer again in the am.Sincerely, Dr.J
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay..and I thank you for your help. Two final questions.


He is only ten years that when mental decline starts? And does it progress rapidly if it is cognitive?

Expert:  Dr B replied 4 years ago.
Good question.....remember we have to get metabolic issues ruled out first but if it turns out to be cognitive decline if it is treated early on he can live well many more years. Your vet also needs to rule out some odd type of seizure disorder. So, I think you are fairly well armed with good information now and should be able to get the best care for him. Best of luck and let me know if you need anything else. Sincerely, DrJ
Dr B and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr B replied 4 years ago.
Thank you so much for the bonus. That was very thoughtful. Best, DRJ
Expert:  Dr B replied 4 years ago.
Please keep me posted on how your little guy does.....I hope everything goes well! Best, DrJ