Please HELP My Family!!
(Brandon MB Canada)
Cocker Spaniel Enjoying The Lush Grass
My 9-year-old Cocker, Jodi, was adopted by us three and a half years ago. She came with a myriad of skin, ear and eye conditions. She had ear ablation surgery on her left ear and takes herbs to control her skin condition.
She has eye drops, but her eyes are chronically dry and red and are sealed shut every morning with green gunk (this is the least of our concerns, although we would like a solution for this as well, nothing has helped thus far).
She is on a raw food diet 2/3c a day has been steadily gaining weight. I am feeding her to the requirements, and when I reduce her food allowance she becomes agitated and anxious.
Jodi has never slept through the night, she is always up 1-2 times for the bathroom. She now has been steadily creeping, anxious and agitated at night between the hours of 1 and 5 am and sometimes between 7 and 8 am!
She walks the floor, pants, and is so restless and unsettled. We have tried everything, she didn't come crate trained and we have failed with it. She just howls and screams for hours.
We have tried sedatives unsuccessfully as well as anxiety medication.
She has a recurring vestibular syndrome, her right ear which, previously, had been perfect has been chronically inflamed for the last 1.5 years.
We suspect the vestibular is linked directly to ear problems.
She still paws at her operated ear. Surgery was very difficult as the canal had calcified to bone.
Jodi is a very special girl to us and we want to get her sleeping at night and back to her 1-2 a night routine.
My husband sleeps on the couch as it is the only way we can get some sleep. She will sometimes sleep with him and cuddle to keep calm but some nights nothing works.
We are going to try melatonin but we are running out of options and fear we may have to put her down.
She is still happy, eating well, going to the bathroom as normal, and enjoying walks and car rides - it seems a shame to put her down just because she won't sleep at night.
Please help me!!
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
I'm really sorry to hear about Jodi - I feel so sad for her, (and you and your family!). I'm certainly not a vet, but I've never heard of anything like this before.
I can't understand why she should be fine during the day but not at night. Because she's okay during the day, I suspect she's not in pain during the night. What does your vet think?
Personally, I would persevere with the crate training. Try it again and follow the advice given on this site - it won't happen overnight - you will have to help her get used to it very gradually, but it might just be what's needed to settle her. You'll find all you need in our article How to crate train a puppy.
Have you considered changing her diet to a prescription diet, recommended by your vet of course, or a good hypoallergenic kibble? It could help any skin condition she may have and the kibble may help to make her feel fuller. You can read more about the Cocker Spaniel diet here.
Give her plenty of water after her dinner but remove her water bowl after 7 pm. Assuming her 'waterworks' are okay, this may help to stop her peeing so much during the night - it could be what's causing her to wake too. I'm sure you're aware that older dogs can develop problems with their 'plumbing' and have had this checked out.
Just a thought - the panting and pacing isn't caused by underfloor heating or her being overheated is it?
If you're sure she's anxious and not in pain, you might like to wrap her in a blanket and hold her (just like you would a baby) as this is said to calm dogs down and make them feel secure and safe. (You can buy a piece of clothing, I think it's called a Thunderjacket which will do the same thing - just do a web search and you should find somewhere that sells them.
As far as Jodi's eyes are concerned, have you tried cleaning her eyes using olive oil-soaked cotton-wool balls? It may help if her eyes are dry.
Soaking cotton-wool balls in a saline solution or cucumber juice may help too. For the saline solution, dissolve half a teaspoon in half a pint of distilled water, and for the cucumber juice, puree half a cucumber and sieve through a soft piece of muslin, use the liquor and discard the pulp.
However, if this is a recurring problem, your vet should be able to get to the bottom of it quite easily and offer more suitable treatment.
Learn more about Cocker Spaniel eye problems and what to do about them.
I really don't know what else to say - other than I'm really sorry that I can't help you and your family any further.
I sincerely hope you get these problems resolved soon. Poor Jodi, please cuddle her from me.