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.