Help for owners of dogs with dementia now!
- Learn the symptoms
- Learn the treatments
- Learn how to help your dog–and yourself
Available in paperback, hardback, and all major electronic formats.
What people are saying about Remember Me?
“Meticulously researched, accurate information presented with real empathy.” —Jean Donaldson, author of The Culture Clash, founder of the Academy for Dog Trainers
“Eileen approaches this complex disease with a combination of scientific rigor and deep empathy for the animals and people who suffer from it.”—E’Lise Christensen, board certified veterinary behaviorist
“I have been fortunate to have shared my life with a rather large number of beloved dogs. Having so far outlived all of them, I can only look back and wish I’d had the common sense and wisdom available in this book to help me through the hardest times—the times when it was left to me to figure out how best to help my friends as they started to fade away.” —Sue Ailsby, author of Training Levels: Steps to Success
“Two years ago, my Sheltie Skye exhibited unusual behaviours. At first, we thought it was hearing loss. He would go into a deeper sleep mode, and he wouldn’t respond when we called him. I tried hand signals, but things didn’t improve. He would get lost in the house. I’d often find him stranded at the bottom of the stairs. This book helped me to understand how to give Skye back quality of life—how to recognize his good days and how to help him manage the bad ones. One day I will have to make the difficult decision to let Skye go. But it won’t be out of frustration from not knowing how to deal with CCD.” —Pet owner Ruth Wojcik
Thank you for your information about CCD. I”m not sure my 13 yr old lab/pit mix has it, but she’s been sleeping more than ever and whining and roaming the house at times. I will talk to my vet and tell him about your Cricket. It’s so hard to even contemplate I can hardly breathe.
Joyce, I’m sorry. I think I know the feeling. Keep your chin up. Your vet may be able to help. Take care.
Will the book be available in hard copy/paperback? I don’t have a Kindle.
Yes. Stay tuned. I’m aiming for February 16, 2016, or shortly thereafter. Thanks for asking!
Toby, my little Jack Russell will be 21 years old this year I’m crying as I type this as he is so far ‘gone’ in his brain that there is nothing to be done to help him. He has nearly all the syptoms of this horrible condition BUT he’s still a very healthy little ‘furrybutt’ as my son Steven called him when we got him from the dog pound so many many years ago. I know it’s time to helps him pass but I just cannot do it. It’s SO difficult being with him now as there is no recognition, tail wagging ( we always said he worked by batteries as his tail wagged non-stop even when he was being reprimanded his tail was wagging on the floor) absolutely nothing. To be honest it’s really hard work every single day! He has really lived way beyond what he should have but how do I let go of a little dog who doesn’t want to let go of me…..it’s heartbreaking!
My precious little Toby will be going ‘sleepies’ today (21st January) at 3pm. I feel as if I have betrayed my little furry friend who showed me nothing but loyalty. The tears don’t deem to be able to stop and it hasn’t even happened yet. Forgive me Toby I just couldn’t watch you not being ‘you’ any longer. I love you little ‘furrybutt’ Love granny x
I’m so sorry, Jean. But I don’t think you are betraying him. Every single thing you are doing, you are doing out of love. Take care.
Thank you Eileen for your kind words. It’s over now and I just need to find peace in my head and stop thinking all the time! The vet and nurse came to our home and my life changed forever. I love you Toby, always have always will.
Goodbye to sweet Toby. You had the best mamma ever.
So sorry mam… I hate that animals have to go through this process of life and death… Sorry
Is this book available on audio book please , my little jack is nearly 15 and everyone asks how old the puppy is when I walk him. ❤️ Unfortunately he is having signs of cognitive loss , only I’d notice but I see him being confused and repeating funny little behaviour
I cannot even think about having to let him go one day . But I’d love to make sure I can help him
All I can 🙏
Diane, I’m sorry to say that it’s not available as an audio book yet. I have had problems figuring out how to handle describing the photos. But I will be tackling the project one day soon.
If you have text-to-speech enabled on your device, you can have it read the PDF version to you. That’s the version that is for sale here on the site. Please write me back with any more questions.
We just helped our little Molly, Papillion, age 16-1/2 cross the rainbow bridge. It was so hard. She had all the classic signs listed here on this site. One of the saddest weekends of our lives. But her quality of life was so poor, and our very skilled, compassionate vet helped us realize we were doing the right thing. As my daughter reminded me – “this is a very small part of her life, remember the good times, the joy and love she brought.”
I’m so sorry for your loss, Carol. Your daughter had it right. And what a lucky little dog Molly was to be loved by you.
I cant believe I found you. Sassy is a 13-year-old rat terrier, and this explains EVERYTHING. My heart is broken, but we’re gonna go forward! I should have enriched her life more sooner. 🙁 But we will start now! Just ordered the book. How can I thank you, Eileen? Wish us luck! PS your feelings on Aricept for dogs? Could heartworm preventive medicine have triggered this in some dogs?….just wondering……. And last of all, did you do any antioxidant-fortifying of Cricket’s food as in the research article you linked to? Again, thank you so much :’-( This site is a treasure trove —-
I have never heard of the use of Aricept for dogs, although it is one of the most common drugs for humans with Alzheimer’s. I do wish you luck!
Heartworm medicine is an unlikely trigger. Some times are not safe for some dogs with genetic conditions, but I’ve never heard of a connection with dementia.
I did give Cricket high quality fish oil for a couple years but I did cut it back when she got to be more picky. I hope the book is helpful! Thanks for your kind words!
My papillon, Buttercup, as a lot of these symptoms. We don’t know how old she is because she was a rescue 4.5 years ago. I’m going to get the book so I can get more information. Do you think these symptoms can be caused from a reaction to a rabies vaccine? Thanks, Lynn
I’m sorry your dog has these symptoms. (Papillons are wonderful dogs!) I have never heard of the symptoms resulting from any kind of vaccine, but here is a post that tells some of the other conditions that can cause some of the symptoms: Other Causes of Dementia and Dementia-Like Symptoms in Dogs.
But the most important thing is to get your dog seen by a vet. Depending on the cause of her symptoms, there may be treatments available. Best of luck!
It is 5am and Zach my little buddy has been up since the early hours. He has been diagnosed with CC’D it is really sad and hard to deal with. He walks into corners and unable to get out of places he never ventured before. He does not always respond to his name. Zach always played with my son in law and he bit him quite aggressively the other week, this is when we knew something was wrong. He as only just started on his medication the vet said it can take up to two weeks before we would see any change if any. In just such a short period of time I have noticed a rapid decline in him and it is heart breaking from what was such a lively and lovely Cairn Terrier seems very lost. I feel for anyone who will have to make the decision we are going to have to make. The tears flow while I have been writing this but I know by reading the post it is helping a great deal. God Bless
Christine, I’m so sorry. That is so hard. I don’t usually plug my book in the comments but I do think it would be helpful for you. There are also a lot of comments here from people who have gone through similar difficulties as you. I hope the meds kick in and are helpful. Hugs to you and a special treat for little Zach.
Dear Eileen, I can not thank you enough fro your post on euthanizing little Cricket. It was hard to read and very difficult to write I am sure. You helped me immensely. My JRT mix Rio,had CCD. He was declining rapidly. He was either eating, asleep, or if awake very anxious, the circles never stopped. I set up a “round pen” for him to safely walk. I tried CBD oil. that helped some for the anxiety. I sat up once again in the middle of the night. He was outside circling. I found your article and as I read the tears streamed, for Rio, for Cricket, for the release you gave me, the peace in knowing what was right. I said good bye to my beloved little guy of 16 years the next day, Dec 31 2017. Thank you Eileen you truly are a God send to me!
I am so sorry for your loss. Rio was a very lucky guy to have you watching out for him. It is so very kind of you to write while the pain must be so raw. I am so glad that my article helped. That’s the reason I started this site and wrote my book to begin with. Again–thank you for writing. Hugs to you. –Eileen
PS I took the liberty of editing the small issue you wrote a second message about. No problem about the name!
I cant tell you how grateful I am to have found this website. I have been struggling since last Wednesday, regretting my decision to let her go. Could I have done more, was it too soon, why didn’t I wait until I was ready? My beloved Sasha was 15 1/2 and was diagnosed in June. It was rapid. the circles. sleepless nights, crying , didn’t know anyone and she could no longer look at me. The scariest thing was she was pressing so hard in the corners on the walls that she was in a head stand. I would rush to her side but then it came to a point that I was so afraid for her safety. I had boxes and pillows everywhere to keep her safe but she still was in danger. When I did the quality of life test I knew it was time. I was giving her meds to help her sleep, that was the only time she was safe. So thank you all for your stories, I don’t feel alone and I see that others have to make this heartbreaking decision. I am still healing, still feel so guilty but with time I hope I will realize I made the right decision. I miss her so much, friends and family keep telling me there was never going to be a right time. My sweet girl.
Thank you for sharing your story about Sasha. That sounds terribly hard. I’m so sorry this disease was so hard on her. I believe you will come to know you did the right thing. Dementia is a disease, just like diabetes or cancer, and it’s debilitating. It’s just hard for us to think of it that way when our dogs can still get around physically.
People like to say that the dog will tell you when it’s time, but my experience is that dogs with cognitive dysfunction **can’t** tell us. It’s up to us to decide for them. And it’s so, so hard. Sasha was incredibly lucky to have you to love her and look after her.
I hope you are right and I will finally get to a place of acceptance. I miss her so much.
I put my dog Sunny (chow/retriever mix (14/15 yo) down 2/26/18. I had no idea what was going on with him until the last two weeks before he passed and I had to discover it. The vet never once asked how Sunny was doing cognitively during any of the twice yearly annual exams I took him in for. Never any handouts about the signs to watch out for. Sunny had a host of issues though – Atypical Cushings, Hypothyroidism, Laryngeal Paralysis, Degenerative Neuropathy, and at least two Vestibular events – the second one never fully resolving. An MRI last May showed no brain tumor. No conclusive diagnosis on CCD of course, and no real help with his neuropathy. He started sleeping a lot more during the Fall of 2017, more than 12 hours straight! I didn’t think anything of it. Prior to this he was circling a little – but short circles – turning 180 – stopping – looking around – turning 180 degrees again – stopping – looking around – about 5 times – then he would lay down. He dropped half his weight in 2 years, and by the last two months with his weak hind legs and incontinence, was wearing a full body harness. The last two months of his life he seemed to age years and was beginning to get stuck in small places unable to turn; sleeping at night was now gone – appetite great – but seemed to start having more trouble eating really soft foods. Would lose track of food and wouldn’t always know what to do with water.
The last two weeks, it was apparent, Sunny had lost the zest for life. I think he still recognized me – but with the neuropathy, couldn’t will his body to move and would lean up agains things. About a week before he passed he stopped getting up when I came home. When I would walk him outside he would sniff a bush if I walked him up to it. But, if I didn’t and I just laid him in the grass – he would just lay there. No sniffing the air, no looking around. It’s almost as if he was just trapped in his body. I took him on one last car ride – as he used to love putting his head out the window. I kept looking in the rear view mirror at him and his little head was just bobbing – no looking around no trying to get up. He was just miserable.
I miss him so much and I really wish more vets were well versed in this and intervened with their geriatric patients sooner before it’s too late to really do anything about it.
Darlene and Sunny
I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s especially hard to find out so late in the game that he might have had cognitive issues. Sadly, that’s how and when a lot of people find this site. There are a lot of fabulous vets out there though as well, and more and more screen for cognitive difficulties.
Sorry about the delay in posting your comments; I have to moderate all comments and sometimes there is a bit of a delay. I have sent all your comments through now. You are so kind to reach out to others who are dealing with this.
I’m in the process of making this heart breaking decision. I feel guilty an selish at the same time .Sasha my springer is 14 she gets trapped circles for hours if i don’t move her inside .Appetite is good but struggles drinking water .This read has made me feel less bad about what I’m going to do .Thank you
Anyone who finds this site and whose heart is breaking loves their dog—that’s so clear. I’m sorry you are going through this, Cheryl. Not being able to drink without assistance (I added food to make “soup”) was one of my little Cricket’s last symptoms. To me it was a “handwriting is on the wall” type of thing. Hugs to you. Your dog is lucky to have such a caring owner.
I’m so sorry to hear this. Finding this site has answered a lot of my questions… I am just a couple days away from taking our dog in to see the vet as I’ve discovered he has a lot of the symptoms. I noticed you mentioned your dog struggled to drink water, did she just not care for it? I noticed our dog doesn’t seem to drink it much nowadays, so I add water to his food so I know he’ll atleast get it that way.
Thank you for sharing your story of Crickett. Bell, our 16 1/2 year old dog, started showing signs of dementia about 9 months ago and my husband and I have discussed “when is the right time”. My mother had Alzheimer’s as well. Dementia is a horrible disease for any living creature. Bell is still eating and drinking but has all the other signs/symptoms. But the fact that she still plays “chase” with me, I am having a hard time making that decision. I keep praying that her heart will give out and she die peacefully in her sleep but am afraid that won’t happen. We have a few days that we may need to board her with our vet. I’m nervous because I know a strange environment can stress them out and don’t won’t to make things worse. Again, thank you for your story.
Thanks for commenting. Hugs for you and a treat for Bell. Good luck.
We are really struggling with our 17 year old Westie, Dermot. He has always been so full of Westitude but that has all gone. He is definitely in the severe stages of dementia (CCD), the circling, pacing, staring at walls, getting stuck in corners, whimpering and barking out. Extremely unsettled on an evening. But what hurts the most is the fact that he doesn’t respond to sounds or noises we make which once got him excited. He is very vacant and it seems it is just an empty shell. I wish he could tell us just how he feels, he’s always been so active,! Running with us, he’s climbed numerous mountains and enjoyed lengthy walks but now he struggles to make it around the block. He seems fine physically, he’s eating well, drinking ok….as long as we guide him to his bowls. He has the occasional accident in the house but relatively quite good in that area. We just feel lost as to what we should do. Our previous dogs have died from illness at about 7/8 years old so this is all new territory. It’s hard enough making that dreaded decision when your dog is physically poorly but this is so awful. Reading this blog has been of some comfort but every day I wish for a miracle.
I’m so sorry about Dermot. I understand wishing for a miracle. I hope for good days for you and Dermot.
Mu dog Tinkerbell is a resce I thimk she i berween 12 to 14 . She went deaf abot 2 years ago and now is loosing her vision, she was abused befor I got her and had ear and eye trama. She ha started to wake at nite anxious and crying . I have try to cfort her by pets and messag, Being feaf I can not comfort har with my voice. What else can I do to help her anxioty
Can you check with your vet about medications? There are some gentle meds that can help with sleep at night. Massage and petting sound wonderful—I hope they help.
thank you for your article, I just put to sleep my 16year old japaneese chin which was my beloved buddy since he was 2months old. I am still under shock when I realised I will never see him again but somehow I will have to go to all through this.
I started to notice signs of dementia two years ago but it had strongly progressed the last months.It was hardest decision ever I had to make as he still was physically healthy with good appetite until the end. He started not to hear me when was calling him or just laying outside in the rain looking at nowhere. When I was comming to pick him up he looked so scared and confused like he didnt know me anymore. He would just go out in darkness ir would hide near the car for hours.He would sometimes poop and pee in the house without even asking to go out. The last weeks he stopped to sleep at nights, actually he didnt sleep much at all, was just taking short naps. He also stopped making any noices just was h breathing hardly. The strange thing is that he stopped putting his head on the side (his fav position when relaxing) he was always keeping his head straight, so I suspect he started to have head aches. He also started to shake continuesly without any reason scared of every sound.The last days he was mostly standing, not even sitting. Sometimes he would just follow me everywhere, his sad eyes asking to help him to release his pain and confusion. I just couldnt see his little suffering face anymore so I made my decision fast. The time I did euthanasia I really felt he was in piece.
In conclusion I would like to say to everyone that no matter how much we love our pets we have to understand they are our temporal companions and we just must let them have rest.
Thank you for sharing about your dear chin even now when your pain must be so raw. He was SO lucky to have you to look out for him. You did him the final kindness out of love. Hugs.
Bless you for this site, it is so helpful for me to understand dementia. My 15 1/2 y/o shih tzu Gidget has had an issue with dementia for a year. She has mitral valve disease, dry eye, inflammatory bowel disease. During that time and now she does not know me, is pacing and staring into pace, etc. She had a bad stomach issue a year ago and finding a food she could eat was difficult; finally settled on one that worked as long as I added treats etc. Last week she started once again with the food related stomach issues and I went searching again. Sooo happy to find a premium food that she was crazy about and she has been eating great. Saw vet five days ago and he commented on how well she was doing. The day after the vet visit Gidget started not sleeping at night, asking to go outside constantly during the night and walking in circles. Yesterday she was not able to walk very far or at a normal pace (a walk used to be her favorite treat ) and this morning she only ate 1/2 of her food. She has been my best friend all of her life and I can’t bear the thought of losing her but I’m concerned that she is exhibiting symptoms of advanced dementia. Trying to determine if she still has a good quality of life. Thanks for everyone’s help.
What a hard situation. I’m sure you will do right by Gidget. I hope she still has good days left with you. Good for you for doing your best to assess her life. Your comments are helpful to others as well. Take care.
After caring and dealing with my dog’s issues for over a year, I finally was at my wits end and it was a mental roller coaster for me. My Penny Lane was a rescued Pom of unknown age. About a year after she came to live with me I noticed she started getting kinda air-headed and I jokingly said she reminded me of Dora from the movie Finding Nemo, and I didn’t think a lot of it. She was my pal and followed me everywhere. Over the next three years her decline found her deaf, staring up into space (my vet called it star gazing), and a little wondering when she was let out to wee. Later, for over a year I would transport her in and out of the house because she could not climb the three steps to get onto the porch and into the house, because of the growing weakness in her hind legs. Her appetite was unstoppable and even though her vision was good, she would gently snap at the air searching for the piece of chicken I was holding out to her. The Vet told me it was probably Cushings, although we did not go through the extensive testing to find out, and she did not have the skin issues associated with the disease. She spent her days sleeping heavily, waking with a startle and struggling to her feet on the hardwood floors and to be carried out to potty, then back in to pace, pant, and collapse with a thud onto the middle of the floor to watch me go about my daily routine until slipping off into a blank stare and finally back to sleep. We switched her over to Bright Minds dog food and she rallied back for a few months, but slowly slid back into her inner self. I bought rubber booties for her to get traction on the floors and it helped a little, as she would only tolerate them on her back paws. She wouldn’t allow her front paws to be touched, much less have something on them. I didn’t know if she was in pain for Penny was never the one to cry out or even whimper. She used to not mind being brushed, but now it was a struggle. Keeping her backend clean took two of us. What was going on? I was waiting for her to reach her end with Cushings and that I would “know the time”. I read, I researched, I agonized, was it “time” or not yet. I felt so helplessly alone, as having had many dogs and always knowing when, I was I totally lost with Penny Lane. Until one night, by the Grace of God, I can upon your website and read your story about Cricket and the stories of other’s postings on your site. It was an epiphany, a bolt of lightning, a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I rolled over in bed and watched in the dim glow of a nightlight, Penny making her eternal left hand circle, which is what she did all night, every night, and listened to the gentle tapping of her nails against the hardwood floor and I cried tears of relief and sadness. I had always thought it was the Cushings pushing her in a relentless quest for food and my heart would ache for her, but now I realize it wasn’t that at all.
The following day was Friday and I didn’t want to wait out the weekend. I had been to the “edge” twice in the past eight months with her, but something in her eyes always stopped me. So the vet and the crematorium knew why I saw calling. And so on August 10, my pretty Penny Lane was freed and I am left with an other piece of my heart missing. I can still and forever will hear your words ringing in head, “dogs with cognitive dysfunction **can’t** tell us. It’s up to us to decide for them.” And you are so right – thank you, thank you, thank you.
I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so kind of you to write about Penny Lane. Thank you so much for sharing your story and hers. She was one very lucky doggie. Hugs.
I am struggling with my beautiful, smart, joyful mini schnauzer, Rocky. He is only 9 1/2 y.o. Other than occasional urinary accidents, he seemed fine. Right before Christmas, he started doing some behaviors that were not like him. I took him to the vet 3 times between Christmas Eve and mid January, as his behavior became suddenly bizarre. Shaking often, hiding, crouching, episodes of panting for an hour or two and, suddenly frequent accidents of defecation and urination all over the house.
There were other symptoms too, too many to describe briefly. Cognitive dysfunction was one of the concerns I mentioned but his age and waxing and waning symptoms were confusing. He always acted alert and normal when I took him to the vet. Our vet referred us to the u of Illinois vet school. Rocky had all kinds of diagnostics, including an mri of the brain and spinal tap 2 days ago. The diagnosis is canine cognitive dysfunction.
Even though I knew that was the likely diagnosis, I am still in a state of shock. While I have loved all my dogs since childhood, he was so remarkable. Bright, affectionate, loves people and other dogs.
I will buy the book as I need all the help and support I can find. I am so glad I found this site.
There are so many sad stories here, but getting this diagnosis for a dog who is barely even a senior is heartbreaking. I am so sorry. I am glad that you are clearly in the hands of a great vet and have the support of the U of Illinois team. I hope your vet can slow down the progression of the illness and that you and Rocky still have good times ahead. Hugs.
I am in despair over our beautiful boy Charlie who is 15 years old. We adopted Charlie when he was 2 and he has been the best dog – friendly, affectionate and so smart. His expressive eyes and face always made me smile. About 2 months ago we noticed he had a droopy eye and was a little more lethargic. He was still spunky and didn’t really exhibit any other signs. We took him to the vet to get him checked out but they said he was fine. Now he seems to be declining very quickly. He as begun pacing the house, staring at nothing, gets stuck behind furniture, no longer plays or really reacts to us as much. His appetite is up and down but it always kind of was. He’s a picky eater. The more and more I searched online the more it looked like canine dementia. I miss my Vibrant boy. I am just heartbroken and not sure what to do. I cry every day. He seems otherwise healthy except for some possible hearing and eyesight loss. Sometimes I wonder if those are part of the reason his behavior changed. I am getting your book because I have not come across any vet so far that even knows how to handle this. Our current vet does not really give me any confidence.
We don’t know what we will do without our beautiful boy when it comes time.
Rosie and Aaron
Dear Rosie and Aaron,
I so apologize for my belated replay. I was unable to publish or respond to comments here for several weeks. That’s a long time when you have a senior dog. So I don’t know if Charlie is still with you. I understand how hard it is. I hope you had, or are still having, good days with Charlie. Take care.
God Bless you for this site..
Thank you, Esther. I hope it’s helpful.
Thank you so very much for sharing your story. For it is helping me with my decision to euthanize my dog.
I hope it helped. I’m sorry you were/are in the position of having to consider it. Hugs.
My Rat Terrier of 14 years died on the fourth of July 2019. Had a seizure and stopped breathing. He was very sick a few years ago and was a new dog with low fat pescrition food. He was doing well but showing signs. Couldn’t jump on the bed anymore. Occasionally falling down. Though this was sudden, relieved I didn’t have to make the decision.
Herb, I’m sorry for your loss. I also understand about not having to make the decision. My male rat terrier, Gabriel, fell down and died at home, of a probable pulmonary embolism. It was peaceful. I believe there is no shame in being glad for that.
I have not read your book yet but I did read the article on your own experience with your dog. I’m definitely going to get your book! I have a 18+ year old pitbull who randomly had a seizure a few days ago and we ended up giving her cor but ever since she has acted confused, she’s been circling places she normally never goes, I’ve noticed today that she is going in corners or tight spaces and getting stuck. I was up all night with her last night because she was wondering the house all night, then at 7am she got her head stuck in between the toilet and our shelf behind the toilet, she’s been having accidents in the house and sometimes she acts like she can’t hear us. I need advice on what to do! I don’t want her suffering but I also don’t wanna euthanize her either. I want her to be surrounded by love in her own home. Please help!
I’m so sorry you’re going through this with your pittie. Have you talked to your vet? There are other conditions that can cause the same symptoms and I would want to make sure you could rule those out, especially since she had the seizure.
It is terribly difficult to let our friends go. You can take a look at the quality of life scale that is linked on the When to Say Goodbye page and see if that helps you any. I’m so sorry
I am forever gratelful to Eileen and her book. My little sweet Shih Tzu Ellie is alive, thriving and acting 3 years younger than when I first read Eileen’s book and started researching dog dementia. Because Ellie is a rescue with no known history, her Vet & ophthalmologist (yes dogs get eye specialists!) –have all put her at about 12+ years. I have had her in my life for almost 8 so when her behavior changed I was keenly aware something wasnt right. Eillie has always been a quiet somewhat “shy”, never barking, rarely running..just “stopping to smell the roses” kinda laid back dog. A year ago I left her (and my other dog) with friends while I went on 2 week vacation. I came back and they told me she BARKED throughout the day for no reason. Very strange in that over 7 years I probably heard her bark once,, The next week I noticed as we walked she just stopped and went into “trance like” stare and didn’t respond to my calling her….this continued. Shortly after, we were at Vet for annual shots and I just blindly asked if dogs got Alzheimer’s. .My Mother suffered for 5 years from Alzheimers and I was at her side watching all the stages of progression. My Vet sympathetically went and got a questionnaire on diagnosing doggie dementia. Eileen refers to one in her book which I have used several time to track progression. My job for next 72 hours was read everything on line and read Eileen’s book several times. She had 70% of all outlined symptons. My little Ellie continued to downgrade but as soon as she started the tremors I knew it was time for medication. (This was 4 months after initial Vet diagnosis of CCD) Her tremors came on fast and furious. After 3 days I was concerned she might shake herself into heart failure. That day my Vet was ready with a prescription for 5mg Selegiline. Eileen mentioned it in her book, however at the time of her writing it, Selegiline still wasnt the norm. Ellie is the kind of Shih Tzu that shakes with thunderstorms, so my Vet and I decided to take a chance rather than fear heart failure from tremors or seizures
We are now on beginning of 3rd month of medication – 5mg Selegiline, and all I can say is “THANK YOU GOD”….I not only have my Ellie back, but she acts as she did 3-4 years ago. Alert, keeps up with the daily walks, eats, sleeps, and even learned a new trick….which she didn’t even do when she was younger!!! The only signs still apparent of CCD is her barking…but I now see some of it is her trying to train me to give her treats!…..all the other symptoms, tremors, trance staring, fear of stairs, walking into the wall and standing, etc…gone!
I certainly know that this medication is not a cure, but for now, I am just grateful to have her back.
I will forever be grateful for Eileen Anderson and her book, Remember Me. I still keep my marked up copy next to my bed, however I can now look at the cover, not have to open it, and be grateful.
Selegiline is a drug used to treat humans with Palsy. I am not uncomfortable giving her human meds…she takes Valium for her 4th of July shakes, and same eye drops for I get prescribed. She has her own account at Walgreens! My Vet calls the prescription in and I use a GoodRx discount code that Walgreens honors….I get it for 1/4th the cost of my Vet.
Thank you my dear Eileen for your dedication to Cricket and sharing your experiences. Your book was a wonderful help in getting me through the tough first months and eventually led me to exploring medication and getting a few more good years….but mostly important, giving Ellie (and her little brother Bentley) quality of life and dignity in her older years.
Thank you so much for your kind words, and most of all for sharing your Ellie’s progress and improvement. Your message warms my heart. This is why I wrote the book, and I’m so glad it was helpful to you. I don’t have enough words to thank you for your wonderful message, but please know that I am very touched—and happy for you!