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Dr. Dan M.
Dr. Dan M., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1504
Experience:  10 years experience in Small Animal veterinary practice
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My 14 yr old Westie generally enjoys a good quality of life

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My 14 yr old Westie generally enjoys a good quality of life but suffers from pulmonary fibrosis. He is prescribed steroids, Vivtonin, Corventol & other drugs ( can't remember what they are called ) for stiffness. He also has cod liver oil & glaucosimine sulphate daily. He displays many of the symtoms of CCD - wandering, staring at walls, shaking, panting etc. these episodes are every couple of days and last for approximately half an hour. Is he in pain during these times? What is he aware of? Can you give me any practical advice on managing these episodes please?

I am sorry Josh has this combination of problems. Reading his drug list, it does sound like he is getting good veterinary care.

CCD is a very common problem but is difficult to diagnose, often it is a diagnosis of exclusion as other disease can cause similar neurological signs, primarily liver disease, so it is important to make sure vet is comfortable with his liver function.

Vivitonin is used to increase oxygen flow to the brain and can be very helpful in dogs with deteriorating cognition, so make sure he is receiving his full dose of this which should be twice daily.

There are various diets aimed at older aged dogs which can have additional supplements to support multi-organ function which can all help towards a more efficient body function and in turn may help with cognition and day to day quality of life. So your vet may be able to prescribe a diet appropriate which may compliment the medications being given.

The signs of CCD you describe are difficult to ascribe pain or discomfort to, but it is unlikely. It is likely to be a sensation of disorientation and altered vision, he is unlikely to be aware of the episode or your concerns during such times. The priority is that Josh is happy, alert and responsive for a major proportion of the day and he is eating, drinking, defecating and urinating normally.

It is important to avoid sudden changes in routine and environment as he will have developed a fixed routine of movement and orientation as well as sleeping, eating, drinking and exercise.
During these episodes he should be comforted and no sharp sudden movements made.

It is vital to ensure your vet is comfortable with the diagnosis of CCD and they have no suspicion of other conditions being present such as the previously mentioned liver disease and also neurological disease other than natural degeneration.

Josh's quality of life is the key here, and as long as his behaviours remain static and stable without progression and his lucid periods are not getting less and less, then he can carry on happily as he is.

So next time you are at the vets, discuss the diagnosis and if confirmed mention diets and the dose of Vivitonin he is on.

Good luck and Happy Easter

Dan Makin

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