I'll apologize in advance, this is about one of my dachshunds - all of the dachshund forums that I used to frequent have slowly become inactive and the rest seem to be very elitist or full of pet people that talk for their dogs - not something that I feel I can gather useful information from.
There is something wrong with Sadie, she is not all there and it became even more apparent last night. She'll be 7 in October and has had epilepsy since she was ~5 months old, most likely caused by being dropped on her head (she wriggled out of my friend's hands and fell about a foot) when she was about 4 months. The seizures may have started earlier, but around 5 months was when they were noticeable. She was on phenobarbital for about a year, but after discussing it with our vet at the time we decided that her seizures were far enough apart that the medication could, over the longterm, end up causing her more problems. Looking back, we should have just kept her on it.
She has always been a very stubborn dog, even as a puppy. She was housebroken fairly quickly for a dachshund, it took about a month before she was 100%. She is also a bit spiteful - I know people say that dogs can't be, but she is. If I was gone too long for her liking, I would come home and take her out to pee. She would crouch like she was going, then come in, run straight to my bed, jump up and pee right in the middle while staring at me. I figured it out in the winter when there was nothing in the snow after she "went". She did have a history of recurring UTIs from about 1yr-4yrs, every 3-4 months, but the episodes of peeing on my bed were few and far between (if I went out for the night, but not if I was at work for example). She stopped doing that when we moved out of that house, she was about a year and a half at that point. The recurring UTIs ended up forming 3 large stones that were removed surgically - she has had no problems since and I run a u/a on her every 4-6 months. The last one was about 2 months ago and was completely normal.
She also has mild IVDD - she isn't paralyzed but will occasionally need crate rest and pain medication. She has a custom made back brace as well.
So, back to the point. I feel like she's aging faster than most small breed dogs because of all of her health issues. It's gotten much worse over the last 2 years. We can't take her out in public much anymore, she gets way too excited and has a seizure. The seizures are getting much worse as she ages as well, now she will have grand mal cluster seizures that will last anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. For the most part, she is happy to just stay at home and go for walks with us and the rest of the dogs. She has no problems at festivals, so she comes with us to those as well sometimes.
Here are the changes that we have noticed:
- increasingly excitable, to the point that if you say her name she'll start freaking out (running around, squeeking, jumping)
- looks "confused" quite often - almost like she has had a mini seizure, I am supposed to take a video of her doing her normal day to day things and bring it to the neurologist but I lost my camera for a long time. I've since found it and will be doing that hopefully tonight.
- when I put her outside I have to tell her to go pee, otherwise she could be out there for hours and not do anything, then come in and go right away
- she "forgets" commands that she has known all her life. I'm not sure if this is just her not wanting to listen or if she legitimately doesn't know it at the time.
- she'll just wander around the house when she's not in her crate unless you pick her up. Sometimes even that doesn't work and she'll start whining and crying until you put her down so she can just walk around. It's usually kitchen, mud room (where their crate is), kitchen, a circle around the dining room, living room, under the couch, up on the chair then do the whole thing in reverse again
- she tends to sleep mostly during the day, even if we're home and she's not in her crate. At night she's started whining so loud that I can hear her upstairs and our neighbours can sometimes as well.
- she'll just sit there are stare after she's done her pacing thing. I have no idea what she's looking at - sometimes it's at a wall, sometimes the floor
- she still likes to play with the other dogs but doesn't want to play with us much anymore. We sometimes let them sleep with us and she would cuddle up against my chest and stay there all night - now I have to put her there and she only stays there for a few minutes.
- she barely drinks any water. We've tried fountains, big bowls, small bowls, plastic, metal, ceramic. The only water she seems to really like is the water that collects outside after it rains. We've also tried pedialyte and about every type of broth you can think of. She will try to steal your drink if you're having something sweet - she loves Coke and juice the most (I stop her if she does this). I switched her to commercial raw and water it down, she also gets laxatone because she is always a bit dehydrated so her BMs are very dry and hard.
She had a full physical back with her last u/a and everything was fine, other than her dehydration issue which is considered minor. We are going to start her back on pheno but I need to get the video for the neurologist first.
Why I originally wrote this - she had a bad night last night. I got home from work, let everyone out to pee and the brought them back in. We were all (boyfriend included) in the living room watching a bit of TV. Bru was lying on the floor, Fynn was cuddled up next to Mike and Sadie was pacing and whining. I thought she maybe had to go out again, so I let her out where she just stood there whining to come back in. I went out with her, told her to go pee pees - she just walked around the perimeter of the yard so I let her back in. She continued pacing and whining, it was becoming very annoying, so I picked her up thinking that maybe she wanted to sit with me and get pets. She stopped whining for about 5 minutes but was giving me a death stare and looked like she wanted to bite me the entire time. Her eyes looked dull and she was kind of looking out of the side of them if that makes any sense. I picked her up from under her arms so I could see her face better, no matter what way I turned her she still had that look on her face and she would only look at me from the side of her eyes - maybe a partial seizure? I said her name a few times with no response. I put her back in my lap, she stayed there for a couple of seconds, then started whining so I put her back on the floor where the pacing and whining continued. I thought maybe she was a bit hungry so decided to give everyone a little late night snack, didn't help, she ate and then sat in the middle of the dining room floor whining. I checked her back for pain, checked her over for mats, looked at her feet to see if there was anything there - nothing. I let everyone back outside for the last bathroom break before bed. My boyfriend at this point was getting extremely annoyed, as was I, so he went upstairs to his studio to do some work. I put the dachshunds in their crate and went upstairs so I didn't have to listen to it either. About 15 minutes after this she started screaming, I ran downstairs thinking that she had gotten stuck on the crate somehow but no - she was just sitting there wagging her tail and panting when I came down. She had stopped whining when I was at the top of the stairs. I let her out to pee again, where she just walked in a big circle, then came in and went to her crate. She whined a little bit, but went to sleep eventually.
That's the worst that she's even been, I honestly don't know what to do - is there anything that can help her? She seems anxious all the time, I don't want her drugged out of her mind but she's just not her anymore. She's still happy most of the time, I think. Her eyes are usually bright but last night she had that period where they were very dull. Neither of us can take a night like last night constantly. After work today I'm going to do some cleaning and rearranging in my studio and see if I can set up a nice area in there for her, although then she will be right beside the bedroom if the whining starts. I feel bad for her, she spends most of her time crated now because that seems to be where she's happiest (most of the time) but I know she doesn't get enough exercise or mental stimulation that way.
Is the neurologist the way to go? Is there much that can be done without an MRI/CAT scan? There's no way that I can afford that. We'd already be driving to Toronto for the neuro appointment, with the consultation, gas and expenses for the day it'll be at least $300. I don't want to sound cheap, but money is an issue right now - one of our cats just had to have major surgery. It's not something that I want to leave too long, but if it can wait a few months that would be best.
Oh my goodness. You have been through so much with Sadie. First off, never feel badly about posting a question about a non-GSD. I love that this board is welcoming and informative to all dog owners.
I am in no position to answer questions about your girl's health. She probably does need to be seen by a specialist. I am never one to tell anybody to put a dog to sleep. But...You do need to look at Sadie's quality of life. There is a point, when enough is enough. I can't tell you when that point will be with Sadie. I can say that if you are able to get a diagnosis, you will need to think about her prognosis and the impact on her quality of life. To me, a continual decline, in quality of life, would indicate it was time to let go.
You have gone above and beyond for Sadie. Kudos to you for taking such good care of her. Please keep us updated.
Thanks, she's my baby, my first dog of my own (not a family dog). I bought her when I was in my last semester of college and for the longest time she came EVERYWHERE with me. She adapted pretty well to the foster dogs when I began fostering (she was about 7-8 months at that time) and then to Fynn (the other dachshund) when I brought him home. She also loves Bru.
I talked to my mom shortly after writing this. She agrees that taking her to the neurologist is a good idea but she also thinks it would be a good idea if she took her for a few days to a week to see how she does there, away from our dogs and cats (my parents don't have any pets). I think it would be a good idea to see how she does there as well, to see if I'm exaggerating or making some of these things up - my boyfriend sees them too, but it could be that we're influencing each other's opinions. We've both been fairly stressed lately too, which could also be influencing her behavior.
I'm going away from Thursday to Saturday this week with my dad. I'm either going to send her home with him on Saturday or drive her to my parents house myself on Sunday.
I would like to have the neuro appointment in October because I don't want to drive 2 1/2 hours in the snow, but it's probably going to have to wait until the beginning of November. I was talking to a colleague a few months ago about her and she highly recommended one of the doctors at VEC South in Toronto, so that's where we'll be going. We could have done it earlier this year, but they were closed because of flooding (I think), then money got tight, etc.
First thing's first - getting the video tonight. I'm going to ask my mom to take a video of her playing at their house too so I can compare. Then start her back on the pheno, if these ARE partial seizures, maybe they'll stop. I'll take another video mid October to compare as well, then hopefully have the appointment the beginning of November.
If the video shows some of the things that she was doing last night, I'll post it so you all can see.
She's always been a weird dog - bad breeding and brain damage are probably a part of it. Her symptoms are rarely typical so it's hard to get a diagnosis. When she's having back pain the only indication that she'll give is a very slight turn of her head to the left and she'll look out the left corner of her eyes towards her back. It took three appointments and my insisting on an xray when she was 1 because "she wasn't showing any signs of pain and a 1 year old dog with IVDD is nearly impossible". Sure enough, slight calcification right where I said she was in pain. We've done yearly back xrays ever since to make sure it's not getting worse.
I'm so frustrated right now, Sadie's having a bad night again. We walked them today, she had plenty of exercise and out of crate time. I had fed them, let them out to pee and then put them in the crate for the night. Then the whining started. I waited until she was quiet for a few seconds, then went and removed the divider in the crate (it was separating her and our other dachshund). The whining started again. I tried giving them a blanket in case she wanted to do "diggies" (she likes to dig in blankets when she's tired). She just knocked her water over onto it. I tried holding her for a bit, that didn't work either, so I put her down and she just paced and whined. I let her out again, in case she had to go out, nope. She's upstairs in the bathroom now so I can't hear her but I'm positive she's still whining.
These nights are becoming more and more frequent. I'm going to give her some Metacam to see if it's pain related, maybe her back is hurting again but I haven't seen any of her usual signs. I don't think the walk was longer than it normally is but they were having a blast chasing squirrels on their leashes, so maybe she pulled something wrong (the dachshunds wear harnesses).
I'm going to talk to my mom and see we can't go to the neurologist sooner. I'm also going to give her her metacam daily for a week to see if that helps - maybe it is pain and she just hasn't been showing the signs.
Sorry for the rant but she's just frustrating me so much tonight that I don't even want to be around her, which then makes me frustrated at myself for being frustrated at her when I know she can't help it. I'm going to order an adaptil collar for her too, maybe that will help take the edge off - it worked with Bru when we were working with him.
Have her kidney levels checked - urinalysis, renal bloodwork. Those things sometimes show as confusion and agitation (kidney infections, etc).
I wouldn't give her the Metacam unless she had blood work prior to get the levels.
Seeing the neurologist is always a good thing.
I don't know if it is okay to give a neuro dog, but there is a supplement called Cholodin for senior dogs - take a look - you can do a search on this forum or google it.
I have had dogs on Elavil before for anxiety - either low dose, long-term for a dog who was having "night terrors" or shorter term for separation issues and it worked well without sedating and the only changes in personality were improvements because no agitation. I do not know if it's okay for seizure dogs.
I'm so sorry you're having all these serious problems with your Sadie.
I don't know anything about what they charge vs a regular vet, but the University of Guelph has an excellent reputation ... since you're in Ontario, have you considered taking her there for a consultation?
I'll look into the supplements.
I don't have any advice. I just want you to know how sorry I am that you and Sadie are going through this.
Sending warm hugs and good wishes.
I talked to one of the doctors at work yesterday about Sadie again, she has a dog with epilepsy as well. We were discussing the neurologist and she made a very good point, they're going to want to do a lot of testing, including bloodtests. It makes more sense for me to have all of the bloodwork done at the clinic I work at so I can bring those results with me to the neurologist when I take her there and get more bang for my buck so to speak, lol. We've decided on doing a full geriatric profile with t4 but that was as far as we got before we became really busy.
I went to Idexx's website (the reference lab we use) and noticed that they have neuro panels. I think we'll also do the neurological panel with lyme, west nile, and a few others. The benefit of this is that I will get a slight discount on the tests and I can pay it off over the course of a month or two rather than all at once.
We may be able to avoid even going to the neurologists if the tests show something, but I have a feeling they'll all come back normal... they always do.
Another thing she suggested was when she's having one of her bad nights, take her up to our other clinic and do bloodwork there to see if there are any abnormalities during one of those times, it may give us an indication as to what's going on.
After all these posts I think I figured out what the problem was.
We moved here in March, being the excellent procrastinators that we are, we still have unpacking to do. One thing is the dog toys, although they have some out. Anyways, Fynn and Bruce were playing with toys a couple of nights ago while Sadie was pacing and whining. My boyfriend asked where her pig was (a cheap toy that I got from Ikea for her years ago, it's this guinea pig: http://morganharley.com/images/gpig.jpg). I think we've gone through about 40 over the past 7 years, swapping it out with new ones when they get all nasty. She LOVES them and we're down to the last one or two, they're nasty but we don't have anything to replace them with and they've been long since discontinued.
Anyways, right after we moved she was going nuts with one of them so I put it on top of a bookshelf so she would settle down. Apparently, she remembered that it was up there because the second I brought it down she stopped whining, played with it a bit and then curled up with it and fell asleep. She's been fine since and that was a few days ago. I'm obviously going to keep an eye on her, but she's been better behaved and seems calmer since she got it back. We're still going to do some of the bloodwork and possibly still take her to the neurologist anyways at some point.
While this solves one problem, it creates another. I have to find something similar to replace it with. Maybe I'll try to get in touch with Ikea and see if there's a surplus somewhere, lol, I have no idea. I've tried replacing it with their other cheap toys but no luck - she'll play with them for a few minutes but still wants her pig. The stupid things are going for $30 on eBay and it's a $3 toy!
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