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petdrz., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 7349
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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I have an 11 year old Yorkie named Rocco; he was never a

Customer Question

Hi Dr. I have an 11 year old Yorkie named Rocco; he was never a clingy type but the past 6 mos, he follows me everywhere, wants me to hold him at night while watching tv, climbs on the back of the sofa and also pants; noticed that he is shaking -- not all of the time but he is not himself; good appetite, plays with his ball -- I adopted a kitten in August; he bonded with the kitten but now is scared when the cat flies around the place like a maniac....what could be wrong with my baby?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  petdrz. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and Rocco today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you but need a bit more information in order to better assist you if you don't mind.

Is Rocco drinking more than he did previously?

Is he having any urinary accidents in the house?

Is he maintaining a stable weight?

Has he been examined for this by his veterinarian yet?

Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response or I may be offline, but if so, I will respond as soon as I am able.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Dr. Thank you for getting back to me so quickly; as you can imagine, I am beside myself; I do have an appt. this evening with his Vet but I cannot concentrate or think --I'm not sure about drinking water more often -- I work and when I do get home, we go out for his walk (him and his brother, Preston, another Yorkie); eat dinner; then play ball.....after playing ball he does sometimes drink more; no accidents in the house -- he has a wee wee pad -- when he does urinate outside, he will often urinate again on the wee wee pad.His weight is stable you think it could be a kidney infection?
Expert:  petdrz. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the reply.

I think that a urinary tract infection is possible, but they are usually confined to the bladder and do not ascend to the kidneys. When I hear that a dog is urinating more, that is one of the things that I think of. Another possibility could be diabetes but that is pretty easy to rule out with a urine sample. Some dogs that are painful, like from arthritis, will be restless and some will be even clingy. Panting can be a sign of pain as well, but can also be due to metabolic imbalances, so your vet will likely want to check some bloodwork after he is examined to make sure nothing is missed.

If he is still eating and playful, I doubt it is anything serious, but it is very smart to be proactive and have him examined today so that even if there is anything wrong, hopefully it is caught in the early stages, and can be resolved or at least controlled.

Good luck with him and please keep me posted as to how things progress.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.

Dr Z

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Dr. Z. I will keep you posted; thanks again.
Expert:  petdrz. replied 1 year ago.

You are most welcome. Try not to worry too much.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Dr. Z,
Went to Vet last evening; checked Rocco out -- he was due for his annual exam -- lost 2 pounds since April but is not underweight -- I've started to feed both dogs more wet food as they get older for better nutrition -- Dr said weight loss could be from change in diet; no temp or ear infection; his heart rate is strong, took blood work (geriatric panel and something else); felt for lumps, cysts, etc., checked eyes/ears and all over his body to see if he did the shaking thing when he turned his neck, etc.; brought in a urine sample also; He did shake once -- Dr. did not believe it was seizure related -- more nervous-related he thought; has to get results back from lab first; if nothing, he will do an xray to rule out cancer (God forbid). Told him about the cat and how Rocco reacts when he runs around at night, i.e., scared and wants me to hold him or tries to get as far away from the cat as possible. Dr. gave him rabies vaccine -- also suggested giving him Melatonin rather than Benadryl if he gets anxious at bedtime -- some senior dogs have difficulty dealing with changes in their lifestyle and with the addition of the kitten, it may affect him -- he was used to a quiet routine for 13 years (not 11--wishful thinking on my part) and now things are completely different; he was fine when we arrived home -- ate dinner, went outside to do his business, played ball, ate his kibble. Then the cat started running around and Rocco started freaking out; gave him a small dose of Melatonin; he relaxed and laid on couch with Preston and the cat. Went to bed and he would not relax; the cat has a small bell on his collar -- when he heard him jump on the bed, he tried to jump off -- after that I decided to crate him next to his brother; he seemed to calm down but also tried to get out -- told him it was o.k. and to go to bed; he seemed calmer when I crated him....did his business this morning but did not eat his wet food; did not want to play ball--clingy again -- stayed in bathroom with me while I was getting ready for work -- I'm hoping its a reaction to the rabies vaccination; my sister will check on him during the day and call me; of course I'm a wreck -- hate to see him like this....
Expert:  petdrz. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the follow up.

I agree that some of his changes may be age related and may have been more apparent after the kitten was added. I have seen a good number of dogs affected the condition known as cognitive dysfunction and all have exhibited different signs, especially in the early stages. I am glad that your veterinarian did not identify any physical problems. If that is what is happening, there are some other things you can do that may help.

Some dogs I have seen have responded to diet change alone. Hill's b/d diet is a good choice. LINK HERE If not, the medication called Anipryl® is very effective for many dogs.

I generally start with supplementation first (+/- diet change to b/d if there are no other dietary restrictions needed). I usually recommend increasing the omega 3's in the diet as well. The active ingredient of fish oil is EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). You just want to make sure you are seeing those on the label as an ingredient and not just the words "fish oil" as these are the important part of the fish oil and not all fish oil capsules have them in it, especially the cheaper ones. Aim for 180mg EPA and 120 mg DHA per 10 lbs body weight daily. There is a large range of safety and it doesn't have to be that amount exactly but this gives you some guidelines.

Another product that may be of value is the product called D.A.P. It is a synthetic pheromone that works to create a feeling of calm in a dog's environment. It is available in different forms. LINK HERE

There are various additional supplements on the market to help with brain health. The three most readily available are: Cholidin, Senilife and Novifit. As far as which supplement to try first, I do not think there is any general agreement on that. Between the cholidin, senilife, and novifit I would make my decisions on which to use based on cost, ease of administration and availability. I do not see a problem with using them all if cost is not an issue and you have a dog who doesn't mind taking oral supplements. There may be more benefit to starting with multiple approaches for a greater combined effect and backing off to a minimum effective combination if you get a favorable response. It is not always easy to track response as the symptoms can be variable and intermittent.

I would add the Anipryl if needed for better effect or as the cognitive dysfunction progresses.

Here is a link with more information about cognitive dysfunction in dogs. LINK HERE

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