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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10922
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Ten year old German shepherd male has started to poo in the

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Ten year old German shepherd male has started to poo in the house even though the door is open, he leaves a trail through of small bits then looks upset about it

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb.

I recently came online and see that your question about Max hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response,but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.

If the stools are loose, then there are any number of possible explanations for Max's behavior such as systemic disease (issues with the kidneys or liver, for example) or late onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease or even cancer, I'm sorry to say.

When an older dog starts to defecate in the house (or even urinate) and the stools are formed, there could be several possible explanations such as loss of muscle tone secondary to orthopedic or neurologic issues but the most common cause is going to be Cognitive Dysfunction (aka Doggy Alzheimer's). This particular condition is very similar to what we see in humans: signs can be intermittent although the disease will progress, other signs can develop such as confusion, pacing, panting, decreased interaction with the family or staring off into space.

When these patients experience loss of house breaking, they often really aren't aware of what they're doing. Some owners will put diapers on their dogs although this can be pretty messy when fecal material is involved and you have a long haired dog.

We can't necessarily reverse any damage already done to the brain but we can often slow the progression of it.

Since we often do not know which neurotransmitters or neuro-pathways are most affected by CD in each patient, a better response may be seen in our pets if a combination of several supplements and drugs are given as opposed to only one or two. This sort of combination can help to improve the level of neurotransmitters in the Central Nervous System (CNS) and reduce oxidative damage to brain tissue.

There are other modifications which can be made to lifestyle which may be beneficial which I’ve included below as well.

1.Cognitive supplements such as Neutricks, or Senilife

2.Combination of antioxidants such as Golden Years (Sogeval) , Antiox 5000 Ultra (Sovegal), and Cell Advance 880for large dogs

3.Anti-inflammatory agents such as high dose fish oils (DHA> 300mg… not the total mg on the capsule but the DHA content).

4.Over the counter, human Melatonin which can be especially helpful if sleep issues are present but it also has antioxidant properties.1-3 mg before bedtime.

5. CNS stimulants such as Selegiline 5-10mg/day which is a drug licensed for use in CD but would have to be prescribed by your vet.

6. Consider a prescription diet such as Hills' B/D diet or Purina senior diet with MCT oil.There’s some evidence that calorie restriction can help some dogs with CD so reduce calorie intake.

7. Evidence exists that daily and sustained exercise has positive effects in reducing progression of CD.Exercise daily: 1/2-1 hour walk twice daily

8. Sensory stimulation such as touching, brushing, and massage therapy may also reduce progression of CD.

There are always other supplements which can be added; however, patient compliance may become an issue at some point.But, others to consider would be:

  1. medium chain triglycerides i.e.,unprocessed coconut oil. 1-2 tsp/day
  2. SAMe manufactured by Virbac aka Novifit

I hope this helps although, again, my apologies for the delayed reply. Deb

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