Elderly Basenji Odd Behavior
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  • P

    Hi,
    I have an elderly Basenji, Peanut, who is 14 yrs old. Lately she has started exhibiting a very odd behavior. After being outside to do her business, just out and back in due to the cold, she starts walking in circles. Sometimes tight, no more than two body lengths, and sometimes just pacing the perimeter of the room. We will go back outside but she wants to come right back in. She will continue this behavior inside and I think maybe she didn't finish all her business and then I harness and coat her and back outside for a walk. She starts circling on her leash outside. I won't interfere with this behavior in order to try and see where this is leading. She stops but almost loses her ability to keep her rear legs under her - an almost stumble. Peanut at her age does stumble with her hind quarter from time to time when just let outside from waking up but not fall. Once back inside I sometimes give her a Greenie as a treat and for dental care. Usually she will toss the Greenie and play with it eventually grabbing it and running off to her corner to sit down and eat it. I observe this behavior and feel that her nerves and muscle tone for her age are still OK. At 14 she is of course slower and not as spry. Walks are slow now and rarely does she 'lead'. Overall she is in good health (I believe) for her age - eats normal, drinks normal, and bathroom business is normal. On the other hand I know her health is slipping - she does not see clearly in low light - but no eye problems, rarely runs anymore, etc.. Her liver panel from a recent checkup is normal and the vet believes she is doing well for her age. However I am concerned about this new and odd behavior. It's only happened twice and days apart but it is not normal for her. It's as if she has lost her cognitive capability. She makes odd noises now and then as she tries to find a comfortable position on the couch in her bed. These sounds don't appear to the cause of discomfort, perhaps being stiff and groaning in order to get to a more comfortable position. I know this is wordy and I apologize for it. But don't know how to give the max amount of information in order to rule this or that out. I would appreciate any response and am very grateful for the existence of a forum that let's us ask for information or tell stories. Please let me know if you have any ideas on what this behavior is or might indicate. Thank you.

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  • J

    I know that this original post is years old, but have you received any information on what was going on with your Basenji? Yesterday my Basenji started exhibiting the same actions as what you had written and he is currently 14 years old. We took him to the vet but nothing could be determined while there. The vet suspected a possible brain tumor, but until he receives an MRI and x-rays of various parts of his body, we won't know. We'll receive information from his blood work tomorrow, but not sure if that'll reveal what's really wrong.

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  • J

    @Pepper:

    Hi,
    I have an elderly Basenji, Peanut, who is 14 yrs old. Lately she has started exhibiting a very odd behavior. After being outside to do her business, just out and back in due to the cold, she starts walking in circles. Sometimes tight, no more than two body lengths, and sometimes just pacing the perimeter of the room. We will go back outside but she wants to come right back in. She will continue this behavior inside and I think maybe she didn't finish all her business and then I harness and coat her and back outside for a walk. She starts circling on her leash outside. I won't interfere with this behavior in order to try and see where this is leading. She stops but almost loses her ability to keep her rear legs under her - an almost stumble. Peanut at her age does stumble with her hind quarter from time to time when just let outside from waking up but not fall. Once back inside I sometimes give her a Greenie as a treat and for dental care. Usually she will toss the Greenie and play with it eventually grabbing it and running off to her corner to sit down and eat it. I observe this behavior and feel that her nerves and muscle tone for her age are still OK. At 14 she is of course slower and not as spry. Walks are slow now and rarely does she 'lead'. Overall she is in good health (I believe) for her age - eats normal, drinks normal, and bathroom business is normal. On the other hand I know her health is slipping - she does not see clearly in low light - but no eye problems, rarely runs anymore, etc.. Her liver panel from a recent checkup is normal and the vet believes she is doing well for her age. However I am concerned about this new and odd behavior. It's only happened twice and days apart but it is not normal for her. It's as if she has lost her cognitive capability. She makes odd noises now and then as she tries to find a comfortable position on the couch in her bed. These sounds don't appear to the cause of discomfort, perhaps being stiff and groaning in order to get to a more comfortable position. I know this is wordy and I apologize for it. But don't know how to give the max amount of information in order to rule this or that out. I would appreciate any response and am very grateful for the existence of a forum that let's us ask for information or tell stories. Please let me know if you have any ideas on what this behavior is or might indicate. Thank you.

    I know that this original post is several months old, but have you received any information on what was going on with your Basenji? Yesterday my Basenji started exhibiting the same actions as what you had written and he is currently 14 years old. We took him to the vet but nothing could be determined while there. The vet suspected a possible brain tumor, but until he receives an MRI and x-rays of various parts of his body, we won't know. We'll receive information from his blood work tomorrow, but not sure if that'll reveal what's really wrong.

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  • T

    I have a beautiful girl who is perfectly healthy, with the exception of Canine Cognitive dysfunction. What you describe sounds like she is experiencing many of the symptoms. My little girl will be 17 on Halloween and she has lost her hearing and peripheral vision. She will not go outside anymore and has severe anxiety issues if I am not with her. Otherwise no pain and as long as I am home, her quality of life is about an 8 out of 10 IMO. I had a full MRI completed and her brain is shrinking (normal in older dogs). It is a big change and I am lucky I can stay home most of the day. She lost her brother who was 16 1/2 a year ago last month and changed almost immediately. Regardless, I would research this on the web and then taker her to a neurologist for a check up. I recommend any teaching university with a vet program as they usually have excellent dr.'s. Best of luck and keep loving her as much as you do...that goes a long way in making their life and your life have high uqlity...my best!

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    I have been privileged to share in the life of 5 Basenjis: 2 females and 3 males; 1 red and white, 3 tris, and 1 brindle; and 2 of them were rejects (rescues) that no one (breeder and/or family) wanted. Each one brought so much joy to the home. Each one was gracious enough to bring me a unique set of trials and tribulations to go through. And the best part of many, many, days over 25 years was getting home from the office to be greeted by howls and curled tails vainly trying to wiggle.

    The hardest thing of having a Basenji is NOT their trainability, NOT whether or not crate training works, NOT being able to be off leash, NOT having special needs or diets. The absolutely hardest thing with each of my Basenjis was going through their final week(s) of life. In the beginning I fought to keep them (cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, etc.). If there was a hint of anything that might help preserve their life I took it. And here I am not talking about Fanconi or other condition that can be controlled through diet or supplements or a procedure. Here I am talking about their final days.

    There comes a time when the end is just here and believe me it is very hard. Each one had given me their best throughout their life. And each one was in some way part of my soul. I've lost them from 8 years old to 18 years. And with each loss part of me died too. I still miss each one very much. And I have learned that in the end the best you can do for them (like the previous post) is to keep them comfortable and know when that time comes to help them along. Subjecting them to treatments that have no guarantee or that just prolong the inevitable is extremely hard on them (yourself too). Though I cannot let go I know I must. I must love them a bit more than ever and help them along.

    I wish all of you the best with your Basenji(s) and I hope your lives together are as rich I mine was.

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  • @Pepper said in Elderly Basenji Odd Behavior:

    The absolutely hardest thing with each of my Basenjis was going through their final week(s) of life.

    ((hugs)) That's true with all my dogs. I used to say no matter how old, it was still hard. But we lost a 9 mo old Samoyed last December. I'm still crying. No logic.. he didn't know if he lived a long or short life, he just knew he was utterly loved every single day of his life. My heart dog... 6 1/2, lymphoma... had every odds going for her getting a long term remission. She crashed with each protocol and I put her down after 5 mos of her suffering from my desperation to save her. Knowing the end, of course I'd have just kept her comfortable and let her go. Not knowing, I don't know if I would do it different. I hope I would... I hope if it happens again and there isn't a good chance for a cure, I'll let them go. I don't judge anyone who makes a different call, but my heart tells me it was as much my distress at losing her that made me keep on than for her. So I hear you, really clear and with shared pain.

    I do hope that you aren't shutting off getting another dog. As terrible as losing them is the emptiness of not having one share your life. It doesn't mend the heart, but it does expand it so the holes left are proportionally smaller.

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