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Riot's mom
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Hi all,

So technically, this isn't about a golden, but about my baby girl, the dog that got me into dogs in the first place, and the reason I have a golden. She's a mix, and she probably has golden in her somewhere :)

Here is the story. Mocha is 13 years old. She has generally been the picture of health. Her vet says that she has the body of a dog half her age. However, about 2 months ago, she started having accidents in the house. Very not like her, so we took her to the vet and put her on antibiotics for a UTI. The accidents kept happening. Then one day she even pooped in the house. Also, she has become a wreak at night. She shakes, drools, paces, pants, and doesn't sleep. She lives with my parents, and they didn't get any sleep for two weeks because Mocha was up and down and shaking and wanted to go outside. They would put her outside and she would just stand there, then want to come back in. I didn't know it had gotten so bad until they called, at the end of their rope. I told them to give her a benedryl so they could all get some sleep and then take her to the vet in the morning.

The vet did a full work up, including xrays and found nothing wrong, except that she had lost 2 pounds since the last time she was in a few weeks before. The vet prescribed an antianxiety medication, at a very high dosage. The medication basically makes her "loopy." However, when my parents tried to lower her daytime dose, even by a little bit, her anxiety returned and even with the full nighttime dose, Mocha wouldn't sleep. So we have kept her on the full dose, but she is so unsteady on her feet. She fell over trying to turn in a circle before laying down.

I just don't know what to do. She is so physically healthy but mentally it just seems that she is falling apart and going downhill fast. I mean, what is worse, anxiety or loopiness? Also, my parents are going to Florida for a week in April, and there is no way we could board her. She would fall apart even more. And I'm in college, so I can't go home to be with her. And my parents can't take her with them.

But how can I put my baby girl down just because she unsteady on her feet, or because she is loopy? Then again, what kind of life is that for her? If she were in pain, I know what I would do. But she doesn't have anything physically wrong with her. Her mind is just going...

Has anyone experienced anything like this? Can you offer any advise? My heart is breaking... :(
 

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In the end it comes down to your parents/ your decision. If it is the right time you will know. Just be sure you don't want to regret it. Remember 13 years is a full life for a golden. Do what you feel is right.
 

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Have no medical training but it sounds like a sort of dementia.

When making decisions on those we love it isn't always just about their physical health but their mental health also.

You and your family need to look at her quality of life and then weigh your decision.
 

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Have they checked her vision? She might be having trouble seeing in the dark. But, it does sound like senior dementia, my 14 yr old Beagle started with similar behavior, getting lost in the dark and then howling.

I'm so sorry she is struggling.
 

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Quality of life might apply to not just your dog, but your parents (if their home has urine and feces smell in it, if urine and feces are embedded in carpet and floors).
This may be hard for all of us to accept, but losing control over bowels/bladder happens in not just dogs, but also people (and cats, and probably lots of animals that live into old age). With people, you can put on protective undergarments. But, I don't think that is feasible with a dog or a cat.
 

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I'm so sorry.
 
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There may not be anything showing up on the tests, but there's certainly something physically wrong if she's experiencing such severe symptoms. She's either in some kind of pain they can't see with their tests, or she's having severe neurological problems. Either way, there's definitely something wrong.

Quality of life is quality of life. It may be simpler to decide it's time when you see a tumor on an x-ray, but you don't need to have an official diagnosis to know that your dog is suffering.

It sounds like you're thinking it's time, but you feel like you're doing the wrong thing if you don't have an official physical diagnosis. I really don't think a diagnosis is always required to know that it's time.

I'm sorry to hear she's suffering like this. Does she still enjoy yummy food? If so, spoil her with some bacon or liverwurst for me, and scratch her favorite spot.
 

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Is the drug your dog is on called anipryl? Has anyone else on here used it for canine cognitive dysfunction? I think I remember our very old lab Maggie being on it. I don't think it helped much -- she was very, very old -- but others I've talked to had decent results -- dog slept at night, got its housetraining back, and so on. Might be worth a try if you're not already using it?

Meanwhile, though, I am sorry this is happening to you & your dog. My sympathies to you.
 

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my last Irish was basically blind- and I had diapers on him at night. He was 13- it was his last year.... but he still wanted to live. You just gotta do what you gotta do to help them. It all goes along with having someone in your life from a baby to a senior. You have to know that down the road the young pup will get old and have senior issues... and you must deal with them. If you are more concerned about your carpet and stains.... then I would not get a pet of any kind.
 

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I'm so sorry your poor girl is suffering. It does sound like she has some dementia - it often is worse at night.

You will know when it is time. Don't worry about having a physical diagnosis. You will know when she is ready to go and find peace.

Best to you.
 
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my last Irish was basically blind- and I had diapers on him at night. He was 13- it was his last year.... but he still wanted to live. You just gotta do what you gotta do to help them. It all goes along with having someone in your life from a baby to a senior. You have to know that down the road the young pup will get old and have senior issues... and you must deal with them. If you are more concerned about your carpet and stains.... then I would not get a pet of any kind.
I really think you need to read the original post more carefully, especially if you're going to post something that sounds so judgmental. The OP doesn't sound the slightest bit concerned about the stains. The concern is that the dog doesn't seem happy with all the anxiety. I believe the incontinence was simply mentioned as part of the behavioral changes.
 

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Riot's mom
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I really think you need to read the original post more carefully, especially if you're going to post something that sounds so judgmental. The OP doesn't sound the slightest bit concerned about the stains. The concern is that the dog doesn't seem happy with all the anxiety. I believe the incontinence was simply mentioned as part of the behavioral changes.
Yes, thank you. I couldn't care less about the carpets. We were looking into diapers for her, because we didn't want to have to crate her during the day or have to confine her anywhere. Thankfully, we were able to put her on a very strict water and potty schedule that seems to have helped the housebreaking problem. We also think that she may have been peeing out of fear and anxiety when she was alone.

She is on Anipryl, that's the drug the vet prescribed. And it does make her feel better, but it just sucks that it also makes her basically "high." However, I just got a report that she slept well last night and seems much steadier this afternoon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that her body is getting used to them and she will continue to improve. I think as long as she is still loving her daily walks, she is doing OK.

Thank you for all your well wishes. I just wish that there was a moment to "know." I wish they could tell us that it's OK to let them go. She's my baby, and it's hard to imagine life without her staring at me, begging to be let up on my lap....
 

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The incontinence could easily be a product of the anxiety, so hopefully that continues to improve. A drug like Anipryl, in my limited understanding, may take a little while to become fully effective. She may become calmer and less loopy after a little while longer on it (I hope).

Keep us posted if you can.
 

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You will know, in many ways it sounds as if youmdo already, you are just seeking reassurance. We cant give that, only you and your parents can see whats happening but we can reassure you that the best act of love you can give her is making sure shes happy, comfortable and ends her life on the best note you can make possible rather than a prolonged life simply for the fear of letting go. Its the hardest thing to do but the kindest and if it feels the right thing, please make the call and go ahead with making her lastndays until that appointment packed with memories, treats, photos and as much love as you can pack in. We can support you when you make the decision, you wont be alone. Big hugs to you, I am so sorry you are all going through this heart ache and difficult
time. I had to let a much loved elderly cat go once when we were moving, it wasnt quite time but the move would have devestated her. It broke my heart, the time wasnt right for me...but I knew it was for her. x
 

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Riot's mom
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I had to let a much loved elderly cat go once when we were moving, it wasnt quite time but the move would have devestated her. It broke my heart, the time wasnt right for me...but I knew it was for her. x
Any sort of change would probably be devastating for Mocha, so we aren't sure what we should do when my parents go on vacation in April. I can't expect my parents to cancel seeing my brother because they have to be home with the dog. It's just not fair to them. They are also having issues with her medication because it really has to be given at the same times every day, meaning they can't do certain things, like going to concerts or plays like they want to. Someone mentioned quality of life for my parents, and I think it is getting lower. I also got an update today that she had peed in the house two days in a row. Not a great sign. They are going to buy some diapers tomorrow.

I have spring break the first week of March, so we are going to at least wait until then to make the decision. :(
 

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Are they willing to take her to a holistic vet? I do believe that, much as I love my regular vet, the holistic/acupuncture vet that I took Toby to the last 18 months of his life is what kept him alive, with a good quality of life.
Maybe they can offer some suggestions for some drugs or herbals that will have fewer side effects. Maybe they can do acupuncture to help with the incontinence.
Sending hugs. I know it's so hard.

edit to add a few thoughts....how about melatonin? that calms some dogs. How about a thunder shirt for her anxiety? Worst case, how about a low dose of Xanax to keep her calmer, without depressing her physical functions?
 

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Beware of Nestle Purina
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I value quality of life over quantity for mine.

I'm sure you will make the right decision for all of you.

Instead of pet diapers you can use small adult human or kids depending on the size of her waist. Just cut a tail hole. Much cheaper this way. I have used this for my yorkies.
 
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Sunny's Mom
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Hang in there, you/your parents will know when the time is right. Here's to sending hugs, and positive mojo her way!!
 
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What you describe sounds very much like a dog I owned years ago and much later I read an article that said her symptoms were that of a dementia in canines.
 

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Any update on Mocha? I did a quick forum search, but I didn't see anything. My search-fu isn't all that strong, though. I was wondering if things had evened out for her.
 
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