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My Dog's Increased Aggression and Confusion
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lanceeb posted:
My beagle mix turned 8 this year and she has begun to show signs of confusion and seemingly random aggression. Additionally, my wife and I have noticed a loss of weight despite an increase in appetite and feeding. I plan to bring her to the vet as soon as I am able to but am curious if anyone has any ideas on what the issue might be. I read through the entries on Cognitive Dysfunction and Rabies and she does not fit the bill. When we brought her to the vet previously, they said it was most likely arthritis but it her stiffness is now gone and she attacks mostly the other dogs over random things.
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Ponyrun2 responded:
Possibly diabetes ? does she drink and therefore pee more ?

Cancers can cause weight loss....

The "random" agression could possibly a decrease in her vision causing her to get startled and snap ? Or she's just grouchy because she doesn't feel well...

I'm not a vet but these are the things that come to my mind...
 
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Violets_are_Blue responded:
Another thought that comes to mind is a thyroid issue, seen more in females than males. It can cause an increase in aggression, weight loss, and ravenous hunger. A blood test is needed to determine if it is and can be treated with thyroid medication.

The aggression and confusion could also be what the vet community calls cognitive dysfunction. This has nothing to do with the weight loss and increased hunger (again, possibly thyroid or diabetes) but does begin to show up in older dogs. If she does have thyroid issues, see if it improves the aggression. I currently have a 13 year old Lab who likely has it and she does show severe signs of confusion when she wakes up and has started snapping at people coming from the kitchen (not aggressive snapping but food-driven snaps). At times, she'll believe she has eaten a treat when the treat is still in our hands. There are supplements that could help. I tried one called SAM-e made by Virbac specifically for dogs but saw little, if any improvement, in her. Every dog is different though and it was worth a shot.

Start with blood work and express your concerns to your vet when you see them. They'll be able to point you in the right directions when they get the results in.
 
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MikkieKim responded:
High liver enzyme values can indicate liver disease, which in advanced stages will cause mental confusion and behavior changes. Have the vet run the metabolic panel blood tests, along with complete blood count. Any sort of disease, really, can cause the symptoms you describe because of associated pain. The weight loss is not good. Make sure she has access to fresh water 24/7. She definitely needs a complete vet work-up. Good luck.
 
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MikkieKim responded:
P.S. You might want to switch dog foods right away -- she might have an allergy to her current one. Try a basic Purina brand, nothing fancy or way-out. Beneful is good.
 
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AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS responded:
Thanks for asking. There are a number of possibilities but in general the aggression suggests that the dog is not feeling well. Cognitive dysfunction is not common in an 8 year old dog and rabies is not common in vaccinated animals (I'm assuming she is vaccinated against rabies). When you mentioned that she is also losing weight, the signs are suggestive of hypothyroidism, but it could be a combination of other conditions too. Arthritis can be associated with aggression because the dog just hurts, meaning a "short temper." It will take a good check up with blood work to get a good understanding of what is going on.
 
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lanceeb replied to Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS's response:
Thank you to everyone for your comments. I am bringing her to the vet next week for a work-up. I hope it's something easily treatable.

Thanks again,
Lance


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