I came across this interesting article in the Washington Post over the weekend. We have dealt with doggie Alzheimer’s many times over the years, and it’s always difficult and emotionally wrenching. The most recent?case came?just last month, when we had to euthanize our elderly blind Husky, Mitch. He had become what I can best describe as?”lost.” Once the most fastidious dog we’ve ever known, he ended up repeatedly laying down on the floor in his own pee and poop, utterly oblivious to it, while a dry, clean cot sat unused just a couple of feet away. Yes, he knew the cot was there, and yes, he could still easily climb up on it if you wanted to, and no, he wasn’t incontinent — he was just no longer the Mitch we had known. And he wouldn’t have recognized himself in the dog he had become. So this article in the Post was timely, and I thought worth sharing.
Marti Preuss says
My almost 16 year old Dachshund Lucy had this and it was terrible. She would walk around aimlessly and appear to be lost. She would also stop and hang her head as if she didn’t know where she was. The only thing she remembered was the smell of her dog treats, but not where we had always kept them. She had already been diagnosed with early signs of kidney failure and heart problems for which we were treating her. This came as a blow to my heart! She was so sweet and loving, yet now, she didn’t even know we were there. My husband wanted me to keep treating her, but I finally made the decision to let her cross the rainbow bridge. Even though I still have 5 dogs, I miss my little Lucy and her antics. If something like this happens to another one of my fur babies, I will not let it go as long as we did with Lucy. They deserve better than that!!
Lisa M. says
Wow, thanks for sharing. I had no idea dogs could suffer from memory loss like that. I consider myself a fairly well informed pet owner and the more I learn the better. Thanks again.
Tonya Allen says
Thanks for linking to the article. I didn’t know that there were any treatments at all, so it’s good to see there are at least some possibly useful ones. Sorry to hear about Mitch. Dementia in a dog can be just as sad to see as in a person.
I’m so sorry for your loss of Mitch, Steve and Alayne. I really appreciate that you shared this info – definitely news to me. Thank you.
So many challenges as our beloved dogs age. As hard as it is, I’m always reminded this is one of my most important responsibilities in life, and can take comfort only in the fact that we make our best judgements for them with love.
Thanks for this article. I think one of our dogs may have had this – he was 15 and had a cancerous tumor on his spine, but for a year before that he exhibited a lot of this kind of behavior. We have so much in common with our pets. It’s encouraging that advances made in either sphere could help the other. It’s just so very sad, but knowing signs and seeking treatment early is hopeful.
patty c says
I went through this over the past year with my 15-year old Springer. It never got to the point of incontinence, she just whined a lot and was really confused a lot of the time. And she sometimes barked at things that apparently only she could see. She got to the point of no return back in November (from cancer) and we had to let her go. Doggy dementia is tough when you watch your baby go through it. But just be there for them; they deserve all the love we can give them.
I’m so sorry to hear about Mitch; he and Cheyenne are running and playing somewhere on the other side.
Rosemary Wagley says
I just read the article about canine dementia with great interest because we just lost our little JRT, Jackie, on Christmas Eve due to this disease. It was a very gradual and insidious disease and we had been dealing with her very slow decline for about 3 years. The last few months with her were a real struggle for all involved. She was anxious whenever she was awake. She did sleep alot but as the disease progressed, Jackie slept less and less. The last 48 hours of her life were heartbreaking; physically she was still able to walk around, but she needed to be hand fed and given water with a syringe. She stopped sleeping completely and by the time we took her to the vets, I could hardly control her on my lap. Our wonderful vet gave her a sedative when we got there and she literally dropped in my arms from exhaustion. I believe she died even before her gave her the other injection, mostly from exhaustion. It’s very difficult to watch a beloved animal go through this. I miss my girl terribly but know she’s in a better place now. We had her for over 15 years and I treasure all the memories we have with her.