Article on dementia

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This topic contains 62 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Lena 7 years ago.

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  • #11402

    I have read that two Ayurvedic Herbs are great for dogs with dementia. Gotu Kola, and Bacopa. I would like to administer these two herbs to my dog who was recently diagnosed, but I can’t find any information anywhere online on how much to administer. She is a 6 lb. shih-tzu. Any help is appreciated.

    #11403

    Lena
    Keymaster

    I’m not skilled in Ayurvedic herbal medicine myself so not sure about dosage. Usually for small dogs with chinese and western herbals I am using about 1/10 of a human dose. There are occasional herbs that can not be safely used in animals so I would also check in about that.

    #11404

    Pam
    Member

    I am so happy to have found this thread and to hear about all the other people struggling with their own sleeplessness as well as their dogs‘ dementia! I have a Welsh Terrier, Hutch, who will be 19 next month. He was creaky but doing relatively well until mid-October, when he had what we assume was a stroke. After that he was virtually paralyzed on his right side for about 4 weeks, then with physiotherapy, magnet therapy, acupuncture, homeopathics, chiropractic treatments and much patience he started being able to stand and walk again, if slowly and not very far. He still has ataxia to the right. For actual walks I take him in a dog buggy and then let him walk when he wants to. He has been eating and drinking well the entire time and generally lets me know when he needs to go out to relieve himself, even if we don’t always make it in time (I live in an apartment and have to carry him down 2 flights of stairs). He still sniffs when he is outside, and shows interest in his surroundings, although he is now blind in one eye and can’t hear very well. I feed him a home-cooked diet most of the time.

    So much for the general background. Right after the stroke he started barking in the middle of the night, which he had never done before. It usually starts between 3 and 5 am. In the past week it has gotten much worse. Before that, if I took him out to pee and gave him something to eat he would fall asleep again. Now he just barks and barks, up to 4 hours. When he barks in the daytime it is always because he needs to go out immediately, and it stops when he gets what he wants. Since I hadn’t had a truly decent night’s sleep since October I spoke with my vet and we decided to try him on 1/2 a valium tablet for a couple of nights so I can get some sleep. I gave him one last night and he slept 6 hours straight (until 4 am). After that he started barking and eventually fell asleep around 7:30. As of today I am also giving him a homeopathic mixture of Cerebrum and Circulo plus some Bach flowers my vet mixed especially for him.

    My vet whose specialty is chiropractic and physiotherapy but also does acupuncture and homeopathic medicine wanted me to ask you if you have any specific acupuncture tips for her (she doesn’t speak English, so I have to translate for her) to help with his sleeplessness in the night, and also what you think of Moxa for his situation. She has used it a few times before to boost his energy, but not yet for the sleep problem. We would greatly appreciate any insights you might have as a practitioner of TCM.

    Thanks so much in advance. Naturally, I am also happy to hear what anybody else has to say about the sleep problem. Obviously I don’t want to give him valium permanently (whatever that means in a dog as old as he is), but I also need to catch up on a bit of sleep before I get sick myself. I am discussing with both my vets (the allopathic and the alternative) the possibility of putting Hutch on Anipryl (here in Germany it is sold as Selgian). He is on amliodipine for high blood pressure and I saw that combining it with Selgian might be a problem. Any thoughts?

    #11405

    Lena
    Keymaster

    I’m glad the valium is helping a little. I have had older dogs that are on valium longterm for sleep issues.

    Acupuncture points for sleep as a little hard because it can differ dog to dog and depending on the imbalances. The most consistent points I have found are xin shu (heart association points along the bladder meridian) often with kidney points to balance (ming men and shen shu). However if it isn’t a heart or kidney imbalance then that will not work.

    I would ask your vet about the interactions between Anipryl and amliodipine.

    Hope that sleep is better for everyone!

    #11406

    Marisa
    Member

    Gee I thought we were going to go crazy until I found your article…We have a 14yr old Dalmatian who is up wandering every 2 hours during the night and has just started to scratch the floor in the same place each time. I tried the melatonin last night and gave her one 3mg tablet as she is only 23kgs – it didn’t seem to work so maybe I will try 2 tablets and see how that goes. She is a very active female dog & is taken out to the park most afternoons – I don’t think a crate will work as she has never been in one and I am sure that would distress her. I don’t like the sound of Valium so hoping the melatonin works

    #11407

    Pam
    Member

    Hi fellow sufferers! I tried giving my dog the valium a few times because I was desperate to get some sleep after almost 5 months of being up several times in the night, but in the event it didn’t really help after the first night so I stopped. The acupuncture also hasn’t helped with the sleeplessness. My dog has now been on Anipryl for 2 weeks and things are a tiny bit better. He stays up later barking, but then falls asleep until morning. Marisa, you might want to try this for your dog since she is still so active and otherwise healthy. It might keep the dementia from getting worse. I wish I had known about it sooner. I prefer natural remedies, but at this point (he turns 19 tomorrow) I am not worried about long-term health effects.

    In case anyone is interested, I had a classical homeopathist (i.e., she only uses individual remedies, no mixtures, and you dissolve them in water and give just a bit from the extremely dilute third glass) come to see him yesterday and she prescribed Chamomilla C30 to be given once last night, and once again this morning if that doesn’t help. Then I have to wait a few days and see. It sounds counterintuitive but she really helped him before so I am trying again.

    If the melatonin doesn’t work you might try Neurexan (manufactured by Heel), a homeopathic mixture available online and perhaps in pharmacies or natural food shops where you live. In a German study comparing it with valerian, it was found to be at least as effective, if not more so. You can give three tablets at intervals during the evening. And you can take them yourself, too, to help you sleep better while your dog is wandering! My dog wandered too before his stroke, but didn’t bark. At the time I found the wandering annoying, but now I look back on it fondly because at least it didn’t drive my neighbors crazy.

    Sorry for writing another long tome!

    #11408

    Marisa
    Member

    Thanks Pam I am definately going to discuss Anipryl with my vet and might look into the Neurexan – I do agree wandering is better than barking (that would drive us mad!). I gave her 2 melatonin tablets last night and she slept until 3am and then started the wandering and sratching – so a little better but still up 2-3 times during the night. She definately has been worse after she had a bout of Geriatric Vestibular Disease which is an inflamation of the the nerves connecting the ear & the brain – basically 24/7 vertigo and no treatment for it other than confinement and rest – it clears up in about 5-10 days.

    #11409

    katy
    Member

    One of the things I was told when I was looking for a solution to my dog Charlotte’s pacing all night and distress was that her body could not absorb the valium or the melatonin. And there seems to be a pattern of these dogs not being affected by sedatives. It had something to do with their digestion. I was told something like that. Perhaps you can shed light on this problem, Lena? I would have kept my little dog going if I could have soothed her but it all stopped being absorbed/metabolized or something.

    My heart goes out to all of you dealing with this. It’s very emotionally and physically draining from the lack of sleep.

    #11410

    Lena
    Keymaster

    Sometimes a dog’s body does have a problem with processing drugs as they get older. Usually with the Valium it is more of how their body reacts to it. Even in young dogs there can be a large difference in how sedating it is and in about 5-10% of dogs it is actually stimulating instead.

    It is so difficult with these older dogs because what works well for one may not for another. The things I have found work in the most dogs are the small meals right before bed and the thundershirt. But I have seen valium, anipryl, melatonin, gingko, acupuncture, other herbals, tranquility tonic, any some of the other things I mention help dogs where the meal and thundershirt did not. And sometimes it is finding the right combination.

    It is a very difficult place to be for us human caregivers.

    Thank you everyone for adding to this discussion.

    #11411

    icpurple
    Member

    I am thinking of you Pam and Marisa. My almost 14 year old lab mix developed doggy dementia in the latter part of last year. His major symptoms were pacing/barking/moaning most of the night from sun up to sun down. He was always hungry, like he’d forget he’d just eaten. history of tummy troubles, so diet was restricted. Because if the other meds he was on, our pharmaceutical options were limited. Xanax and valium didn’t help much, as we know, different things work for different dogs. And he was a lab who hated water so go figure 😉 in the natural realm I tried bachs, melatonin, the thundershirt, herbal combos with ginkgo.. Over the course of 3 months I spent most nights in the living room since he seemed a bit calmer in there. Left the TV and lights on which sometimes helped. Gave him lots of love and myself peace of mind by trying all the options I could find before deciding to let him go. I applaud your efforts to work with your pup in finding solutions that work. It is hard especially with your own sleep deprivation. I don’t have any human children – I keep thinking, this must be what it’s like! Sending thoughts of peace to you, Charlotte

    #11412

    Marisa
    Member

    Had our visit to the vet and we are trying a diffuser called Adaptil http://www.adaptil.co.uk/ – it releases an ‘appeasing pheromone’ to help with the anxiety etc. As she said unfortunately there really is no real answer to the issue, we can only try to take the edge off the symptoms. She is researching the option of a human drug for Dementia we are in Australia and what you guys have mentioned might not be available here. She is also looking into a pescription diet from Hills that helps with brain function, only issue is my old girl is on a Royal Canin low fat pescription diet for her fatty blood and the HillS one is quite high in fat content. – I will keep you all updated on our progress…….

    #11413

    Pam
    Member

    Marisa,

    I will be curious to hear how you get on with the Adaptil diffuser.

    #11414

    Marisa
    Member

    Will do Pam – however we have had a set back we had to take the old girl to the vets this morning and she has pneumonia – I thought it was too good to be true that she slept through to 4am! She was perfectly fine last night when we went to bed and obviously went dramatically downhill from then. Hopefully she pulls through Ok…

    #11415

    Pam
    Member

    Oh dear, I am so sorry to hear that, Marisa. Healing vibes are winging their way from Germany to Australia!

    #11416

    Pam
    Member

    I just wanted to report back that the selegiline (Anipryl) finally seems to be working. Hutch still doesn’t sleep through the night, which probably would have been too much to expect, but he is only up once or twice now and barks less. And when he barks, he seems to want/need something concrete, like to be taken outside or more water. Luckily I can sleep late if he has me up in the middle of the night, so I’m getting 6 or more hours a night now (rather than 4), which makes life more livable. I hope this will last for awhile!

    How is your girl doing, Marisa?

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