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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Liam turned 16 in January. The last year was probably the most dramatic in terms of behavior changes...up until then he could hike up to 12 miles and swim for hours. And, then something shifted.

This last year his blood work showed some liver disease (new prescription food and supplements have his numbers back in the good range) and anemia due to secondary disease (not new, we just watch it).
His eyesight is almost non-existent with uveitis in one and cataracts in the other. He can sometimes see outlines, shadows....we think. Since he's lost it over time, I am amazed at how he's adapted and how brave he has been over the last few years.
He's had frequent skin issues and GI upset...and on his birthday this year the poor guy had a bout of vestibular disease. THE WORST! Such a scary thing to witness the nystagmus, the vertigo, inability to stand, etc. The vet said it usually resolves in weeks (normal) to a couple months (not as normal).
He doesn't have his head tilt and he can walk...but after two months! It seems like each day his abilities to navigate his world are a little different. We have covered all the floors with rugs and rubber mats because otherwise we find him unable to stand, exhausted from trying in uncomfortable positions :-(

One thing constant - his appetite. I try to keep his mind active with treats and puzzles since we can't physically exercise as much. But, it doesn't seem like enough. Some days he doesn't want to go for a walk (which I totally get). He doesn't want to play. And, then he spends 830pm until 1030pm pacing, restless, and panting.

Sleeping at night is probably what is hardest on everyone. The panting, the shifting around, etc.
It's been like this for a while, but seems to have gotten much worse in the last 3-4 months. He regularly takes gabapentin and sometime tramadol. But, this doesn't affect his panting and sleep. Is it akin to sundowners? It is funny how it definitely starts around the same time every night and during the day he is sleeping...

We do sometimes find him in corners...confused. And, it breaks my heart to see these changes in him as my mom is suffering with the early stages of Alzheimers and the similarities are striking.

I'm just looking for any insights, tips, suggestions, as we navigate this really special and difficult time.
My guideposts have always been is he eating and can he go to the bathroom on his own. Both of those things he can do save the occasional little ? that happens in his sleep...Poor guy!
He eats and he can ambulate. But, with his sight and body - our 4 stairs to the backyard are getting harder and harder for him. Our walks are getting shorter and shorter. And, his interaction with me, other dogs (we only have two cats right now and I'm not entirely sure he knows they are here!) is getting less and less.

I know 16 years is an incredibly long time for a Golden...I just want to make sure that I am doing the best for him right now...that he doesn't spend any of his coming days feeling anxious, confused, or worse - scared. I am grateful that he physically is eating and drinking and I can spend most of my days with him sleeping peacefully...yet, I want to do more - what else can I do for him?

If you've read this far - thank you!
 

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Wow what a blessing to have Liam for so many years. It is sad to watch them decline. There is a thread about a scale/test to help determine quality of life. You have to go to post 12 to get the current link which is a downloadable test. I wish you well as you take care of your sweet boy.
 
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Wow what a blessing to have Liam for so many years. It is sad to watch them decline. There is a thread about a scale/test to help determine quality of life. You have to go to post 12 to get the current link which is a downloadable test. I wish you well as you take care of your sweet boy.
Yes, what a blessing to have had such a long life with Liam. We only had 11 years with our past Golden, River, but they were great years... Please do read the scale/test to help determine the quality of life for Liam. Keep us posted...God Bless!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you! I've tried to search the forum for "scale/test" but nothing comes up. Any other guidance on what thread it is in?

***We had a great walk this morning - over an hour- he did run into a chain link fence (snuck up on him) and he collapsed a few times when he shook his head (vestibular disease?)...but overall he seemed alert and happy to check all the message spots around the neighborhood.
 

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I'm so touched by your post, and the obvious devotion you have for your dear friend. I don't have any specific advice but wanted to lend my support in what I know is a heartbreaking journey. It brought to mind our last years with our beloved Tucker who died a few years ago at age twelve. There was no single health crisis, just a gradual but persistent decline in strength, mobility, and cognitive function. I love that you're letting Liam tell you on a day to day basis what he needs or wants in that moment. We had so many up then down days with Tucker, and daily discussions of good day vs. bad day, how did he eat, did he get up when you got home, etc. Tucker also had a boundless appetite and when he lost interest in his food bowl we saw that as a significant change. You know Liam best and you'll do the right thing for him at the right time. My best wishes to you and your family.
 

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Debbie624
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What an amazing story of your beloved Liam. He is lucky to have you. I can't imagine how difficult it is to see his age related changes and how heartbreaking to see him on his down days. We only had our golden Callie for 8 short years but they were amazing. She never had a chance to grow old. I know its hard to make a decision. I was faced with this with my previous dogs who lived to age almost 16 (american eskimo) and 13 (terrier mix). Its heartbreaking. I am a firm believer in holistic care and I had Lady and PJ both receive reiki treatments. My holistic vet also used lavendar essential oil on Lady when she came in for cold laser treatments (for a torn ACL) and it really helped her relax. Reiki is such a benign gentle treatment, it may help poor Liam. Best wishes to you and Liam.
 

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Debbie624
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Oh my, what a beautiful boy he is. Look how active he is, that is amazing! What an absolute blessing that he is 16 and still able to do those things. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Thank you for sharing Liam's pics and his adventures. Liam is very fortunate to have you as you are blessed to have Liam. I hope you two continue to have many great days ahead!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks debbie624! He's a miracle...

And, thank you for your suggestion of holistic care. I do think he might benefit from some therapies and I had been meaning to look into some available treatments in the area...Unfortunately, there is not much in our area.
 

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Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement!
Here is a picture of my old man from August and November 2018....all white faced and cloudy eyed. And, his most recent outdoor adventure.
Liam is living the life many of us hope our dogs will have when we bring them home - many, many years filled with love, devotion and adventure. Keep climbing, old man!
 

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Liam is beautiful.

My first golden was 16.5 when she got vestibular. I thought it was a stroke, but she did recover, and was in the show ring (veterans class) 3 weeks later. I am not sure what you are feeding, but Purina makes a food to help with brain health in older dogs. ProPlan Bright Minds, made a huge difference for my girl. No longer found her "lost" in the corner.

She also panted at night. The addition of CoQ10 supplements helped with the panting.
 

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Liam is so lovely, it's such a blessing you still have him, I'm sure you treasure every day with your precious boy x
 

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Amazing age, I bet it's that he is so active that helped him reach this amazing age, along with your devotion and love.
I have no input, just enjoy him every day.
 

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What a beautiful boy you have there...Bless Liam s heart, 16...what a wonderful life..here's hoping you have many months ahead of you...cherish every moment....
 

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Liam turned 16 in January. The last year was probably the most dramatic in terms of behavior changes...up until then he could hike up to 12 miles and swim for hours. And, then something shifted.

This last year his blood work showed some liver disease (new prescription food and supplements have his numbers back in the good range) and anemia due to secondary disease (not new, we just watch it).
His eyesight is almost non-existent with uveitis in one and cataracts in the other. He can sometimes see outlines, shadows....we think. Since he's lost it over time, I am amazed at how he's adapted and how brave he has been over the last few years.
He's had frequent skin issues and GI upset...and on his birthday this year the poor guy had a bout of vestibular disease. THE WORST! Such a scary thing to witness the nystagmus, the vertigo, inability to stand, etc. The vet said it usually resolves in weeks (normal) to a couple months (not as normal).
He doesn't have his head tilt and he can walk...but after two months! It seems like each day his abilities to navigate his world are a little different. We have covered all the floors with rugs and rubber mats because otherwise we find him unable to stand, exhausted from trying in uncomfortable positions :-(

One thing constant - his appetite. I try to keep his mind active with treats and puzzles since we can't physically exercise as much. But, it doesn't seem like enough. Some days he doesn't want to go for a walk (which I totally get). He doesn't want to play. And, then he spends 830pm until 1030pm pacing, restless, and panting.

Sleeping at night is probably what is hardest on everyone. The panting, the shifting around, etc.
It's been like this for a while, but seems to have gotten much worse in the last 3-4 months. He regularly takes gabapentin and sometime tramadol. But, this doesn't affect his panting and sleep. Is it akin to sundowners? It is funny how it definitely starts around the same time every night and during the day he is sleeping...

We do sometimes find him in corners...confused. And, it breaks my heart to see these changes in him as my mom is suffering with the early stages of Alzheimers and the similarities are striking.

I'm just looking for any insights, tips, suggestions, as we navigate this really special and difficult time.
My guideposts have always been is he eating and can he go to the bathroom on his own. Both of those things he can do save the occasional little ? that happens in his sleep...Poor guy!
He eats and he can ambulate. But, with his sight and body - our 4 stairs to the backyard are getting harder and harder for him. Our walks are getting shorter and shorter. And, his interaction with me, other dogs (we only have two cats right now and I'm not entirely sure he knows they are here!) is getting less and less.

I know 16 years is an incredibly long time for a Golden...I just want to make sure that I am doing the best for him right now...that he doesn't spend any of his coming days feeling anxious, confused, or worse - scared. I am grateful that he physically is eating and drinking and I can spend most of my days with him sleeping peacefully...yet, I want to do more - what else can I do for him?

If you've read this far - thank you!
What a wonderful story! I am very curious to know what food you have fed Liam over the years. Thanks
 

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Liam is one incredibly handsome boy. I am so happy you have each other...he looks so incredible for his age. I hope you can help him through some of his issues and you can have a continuing special time together. I'm sending positive thoughts for Liam.
 

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Kristy
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Liam turned 16 in January.,..up until then he could hike up to 12 miles and swim for hours......
Sydney-Beige, It's always interesting to hear what people did food-wise for long-lived Goldens, but I suspect that Liam's long, healthy life is attributable to good genes and the fitness level they maintained for him more than a specific food....
 
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