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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What's wrong with my schnauzer? Senility? Dementia? Alzheimers? Depression?

My 7 year old schnauzer is suddenly no longer the same dog he's always been. He doesn't play anymore, he seems disconnected and subdued. One day to the next he started behaving differently and he's gone downhill quickly...within about 2-3 weeks. He still eats, enjoys going on walks, and recognizes us. We got blood work done and a physical and he checks out fine, despite a slight heart murmur, for which we're getting him an ultrasound.
But within about 2 weeks time he has gone from our usual playful energetic, loving dog, to a totally different dog with no energy, no interest in playing, and no real spark in his eyes. Our other dog tried to incite him to play, and he has no interest. He still seems to enjoy attention or affection, but no longer asks for it. He used to always lick our faces when we'd kiss him and now he doesn't. He sits or lays in the middle of the room by himself. Physically he seems to be fine, but he is NOT the dog I know. When I look in his eyes it's like they are dull now...they've lost their life.
We started giving him a senior dog powder in his food, with tons of vitamins and supplements for energy and joint and heart health, etc. It hasn't made any difference.
Does anyone have ANY advice? He's too young to act this old!!
 

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Re: What's wrong with my schnauzer? Senility? Dementia? Alzheimers? Depression?

Ask you vet about pain, which IMO is a very under-recognized cause of the types of behavior changes you're seeing in your dog. Dogs rarely show really overt signs of pain, but the types of "slowing down" signs you're describing are common. If you're unsure (or if your vet is unsure or skeptical), since his blood work checked out you can always ask for a week long trial with a pain reliever to see if you notice any difference (don't use anything over the counter, ask your vet for a prescription of something appropriate for dogs).
 

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Re: What's wrong with my schnauzer? Senility? Dementia? Alzheimers? Depression?

I agree about the pain, and I would also do a thyroid check. that's not standard for a lot of vets, so make sure it's done.
 

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Re: What's wrong with my schnauzer? Senility? Dementia? Alzheimers? Depression?

Thanks so much for the advice...they actually did put him on a week's regimen of painkillers, and that did not make any difference. We also asked them to check the thyroid, because another schnauzer we had years ago had that issue and we thought that might be it. Those two things don't seem to be the cause here. Thanks so much for the advice, though...
 

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Re: What's wrong with my schnauzer? Senility? Dementia? Alzheimers? Depression?

Then, I'd extend the potential cause to 'discomfort.' My dog is usually very alert, but he has had two minor disorientation periods:

1. We gave him ALL of his 3-year vaccinations at once. This gave him a mild fever, and he wasn't his usual self for about 24 hours.
2. I took him for a bath. In the car, he seemed distracted/disoriented. When I let him out of the car, he went to the yard and went to the bathroom for a while...

My point, and what others suggest, is that it most probably a physical rather than a mental problem. Since you mentioned a murmur, could it be the start of skipped heart beats (insufficiency) or congestive heart problems ? ... Painkillers would not address that.

Does he go to the bathroom in the same way as before? Could it be Lyme disease? I'm throwing out ideas....
 

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Re: What's wrong with my schnauzer? Senility? Dementia? Alzheimers? Depression?

He's been on kind of a steady decline for about 2 weeks now, so it doesn't seem to be something temporary. Plus we took him in and got him checked out and he didn't seem to have a fever or anything abnormal in his blood work. His eating is normal but we did just notice that he isn't going to the bathroom as often on walks...usually he's very "healthy" and goes about 4 times per walk. He's only been going once or twice. I will look into the possiblity of Lyme disease. Thank you for the suggestion!
 

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Re: What's wrong with my schnauzer? Senility? Dementia? Alzheimers? Depression?

I agree it's not temporary, altho my examples (and my experience) were. I assume the Vet made a point of checking kidneys with the bloodwork... Maybe he has some type of constipation or minor (growing?) blockage???
 

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Re: What's wrong with my schnauzer? Senility? Dementia? Alzheimers? Depression?

I am definitely hoping it's temporary!! Now that we've noticed that change in his bathroom habits, I do think it's something we need to look into. I will ask specifically if they checked his kidney function, as well. I wish our animals could tell us what's wrong! The thing that scares me the most is his seeming...confusion. He seems like he's just not all there...like he's not connected the way he usually is. When you look in his eyes, you don't see all the spark and personality behind them that you used to, and his behaviors are just SO different. I'm terrified that it may be dementia. We had a schnauzer years back who got dementia when he was old...about 13...and the symptoms Toby is exhibiting now are just eerily familiar. He just seems too young for it.
 

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Re: What's wrong with my schnauzer? Senility? Dementia? Alzheimers? Depression?

Sorry, misspoke. Didn't mean "temporary," meant one-day short-term, transient, like what happened to my dog. I agree that this doesn't sound like dementia, altho symptoms are similar. It really sounds to me like he is 'distracted' by some physical discomfort or pain... Sorry I can't be more specific...
 

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Re: What's wrong with my schnauzer? Senility? Dementia? Alzheimers? Depression?

I do not mean to sound paranoid ... but did they do testing for his pancreas? Schnauzers are one of the breeds notorious for pancreatic issues. I know Leeo acted very "offish" when he first began to show signs of illness ... going off to himself ... not the same dog with the sparkle in his eyes. Bowel movements also changed. He was only 5 and 1/2 years old ........

Just throwing it out there.
 
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