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My little senior and his magical pain meds (and some unusual behavior)

Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy

  
Cosmos and- Bailey

Biker Dog!
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 15, '13 6:11pm PST 
These past 5 days have been crazy and horrible, and a big growing moment for me. I have always said quality over quantity and prepared myself in every way possible for that- and when we (when I say we, I am referring to my dog and I) got the bad news Wednesday, I chose quality over quantity without a second thought.

First of all, let me introduce my baby: Cosmos is a nearly 11 year old pure bread chihuahua rescue who I got exactly one year ago, his first owner got him from a pretty horrible pet store and I am fairly certain he's a puppy mill dog. His first owner had not taken him to the vet in 8 years! She fed him high quality food and seemed to really care about his health, but is anti vaccinations and was afraid they would report her for not having him vaccinated for rabies, so they just didn't go to the vet. When I got him his teeth were pretty bad, so I got him dog insurance, he got his teeth cleaned, his blood tested, his vaccines, his physicals, antibiotics, care for a cold, several prescription meds, more blood panels, more physicals, fish oil, vitamins, prescription diets...

And that brings us to last week. He was diagnosed with a condition where his knees pop out of socket last year, he's limped around some but has been ok... until I took him outside last Wednesday, and he was walking as if he was in a lot of pain. I called the vet and set up an appointment for that same day, he went in and was prescribed pain meds for inflammation, the catch is that the meds they think will help will destroy his liver! This is because he has a liver at more then 3 times the normal level for a dog his size already, and it's only going to get worse with meds that are processed by the liver. BUT I was prepared for this, I tearfully told the vet that I chose quality or quantity, she agreed with my decision and wrote out a script.

It has been four days and he is like a puppy again! Running and jumping and dancing on his back legs, playing fetch, going to the dog park and even went on a hike! So first of all, I'd like to encourage all of you to choose quality over quantity, I know it's hard but its' the best think for your dog! Cosmos's life may be shorter, but it will be filled with the activities he loves. And if your pet needs pain meds- get them! His cost $11 per month and are SO worth it! You can get them cheaper in generic form at Walmart then you can from your vet- FYI.

So, here are the weird things I have noticed this week/lately: he has started to act more aggressive, noticeably at the dog park, but also towards me/strangers approaching him, growling at me if I wake him up, move a foot in bed and it touches him, that type of thing, and at people who approach him. This is really unusual for him. He's always been slightly stand offish, and slightly aggravated when I bother him when he's sleeping, but not quite to this degree. I told his vet today at another appointment (gotta love health insurance!) and she said it should not relate to his meds. It could relate to the fact that he has more energy now since he's not in pain, so what was a normal reaction before could be seen as aggressive now- simply because he doesn't know his strength. But there have not been reports of dogs becoming aggressive on his pain meds.

The other thing that has been a problem for a few months now is his wondering off- at first I thought it was kinda cute, like he was ditzy and couldn't focus enough to come to me when I call, but lately it has been getting worse. I will call and call and he won't come. Last week I let him outside one day and a neighbor caught him wondering into the street where he has never gone before, so I've been following him outside instead of letting him go out alone. He does have my other younger dog tailing him, which makes me feel a bit safer, but I still won't let him out alone. At first when he stopped responding as quickly, I thought that maybe his hearing was going, but his wandering in the street and all is out of character for him. Also, if he's at the top of the hill and I call to him from the bottom, it takes him a moment to hear me, then he'll start trotting down the hill, get distracted and I'll have to break him out of a sniffing spell to get his attention again. He's always been kinda distracting but it's becoming a concern at this point bc he's really NOT able to focus!

Any thoughts?

PS I have had a lot of people on another forum recommend other pain meds that don't interfere with the liver, I have talked about and thought about them a LOT, I asked his vet for an alternative but this is what she recommends for him, I have asked about other options but she seems to think this one is the best for his pain, since your not a vet or my dogs vet, please don't try to convince me that she is wrong... she is great, cares about my dog, knows his history better then anyone else and I trust her. Cosmos trusts her. I am going with what she recommends.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Wed Apr 17, '13 5:49am PST 
I'm glad that your pup is having some really good effects from the meds,that's wonderful!!! The strange things you are noticing about his behavior may be common or not so common side effects of the meds. Have you checked out those things online? Often the manufacturer has a much better profile of the medication,it's benefits,risks,and potential side effects at that medications website. I do that not only for my pets medications but for any that I or my family are prescribed as well. I am by no means discouraging you from using the medication,simply suggesting that you be aware and informed of what effects it can have so that you can be better prepared to manage them. Given that they have improved your pups quality of life so much it would be a shame to discontinue them but knowing and managing the side effects is always a good thing so that you can avoid problems. Just like with people not all pups will respond to a medication in the same way so it is difficult to tell someone OMG!!! Don't use this or that. It just isn't that black and white. Best of Luck to you and I hope the medication works without major issues for a long time to come and that you are able to manage whatever issues do arise.
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Nare

Woo-woo- whineybutt
 
 
Barked: Thu Apr 18, '13 8:12pm PST 
Could it be the meds are messing with his hearing and eyesight ? Those tend to usually go as dogs get older..

I'm happy that your pup is happy. (:
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Cosmos and- Bailey

Biker Dog!
 
 
Barked: Thu Apr 18, '13 9:10pm PST 
Thanks, according to my vet the pain meds should not be effecting his behavior, they think that he just doesn't know his strength now that he's not in pain, I'm just not sure how to deal with it other then to let him realize his strength and figure out how to deal with it, I'm just afraid that in the mean time he'll make it into a habit and I'm not sure what to do about that. Any thoughts on that would be great.

I guess I wrote that in a confusing way... he was starting to act those other ways before he was started on the pain meds, they just seem to be getting worse lately.

Thanks for reading my really long post and responding!
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 5:14am PST 
Please take the time to check out the website for the specific mediation your dog is on. I know that you trust your vet and she says no behavior changes have been reported using that med but not knowing the specific medication,I can tell you with drugs like Rimadyl,increased agression is listed among it's potential known side effects if you look at the drug profile on the website. Some other strange behaviors are also listed as potential side effects although I can't remember specifics anymore,it's been a while since I looked it up for anyone. As I said not knowing the name of the specific medication I really can't help you but YOU certainly can take a few minutes to look it up and see if any of the behaviors you have noticed are listed even as less common side effects,remember just like people each dog will have a different reaction to the same medication and may exhibit more or less side effects,have none of the more common ones but have one or more of the less likely ones,so please just for your own knowledge look it up and be aware whatever the medication may be.wishes
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Cosmos and- Bailey

Biker Dog!
 
 
Barked: Mon Apr 22, '13 2:35pm PST 
Great news! Cosmos was tested today and his liver has gone from about 330 to 120!!! His recommended number is 100 so he is barely above it! Yay!
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Wed Apr 24, '13 5:00am PST 
Glad to hear your boy is doing well.cheercheercheercheercheer Hope you have him for a very long time to come.hugwishes
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Fritz

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
 
 
Barked: Fri Apr 26, '13 3:21am PST 
Has your vet talked to you about surgery to repair the slipping knee? 11 isn't very old for a chi. I am not saying that your vet is wrong but for something serious I would request a consult with a board certified spec ialist. Good GP's are not threatened by spec ialist and should be happy to give you a referral.

If I were having a serious health problem, I would request a second opinion from another doctor and I think our dogs deserve the same consideration.
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