What's Wrong with Sam???

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Sam and I have been together since he was 6 weeks old. He is 13 years old now. He's still in pretty good shape for an old dog. In fact, he's lived almost twice as long as the vet said his breed (Samoyed) usually lives. He's still mobile but has arthritis in his hips now and has to use a handicap ramp to get into my van. He can no longer get onto the bed or the couch (unless I bring the ramp inside).

He's prone to "hot spots" in the summers, due to his age and our hot and humid climate. It didn't bother him when he was young, but the older he gets, the lower his tolerance to our climate seems to be. In the winter, the hot spots disappear and he spends much of his time outside then. In the summer, he prefers to be inside with AC.

Two or three weeks ago, the vet put him on Prednisone for a really bad hot spot. So that's clearing up now. Of course the weather has cooled too which should help even more.

The problem is, for the past two or three weeks, he's been having accidents in the house. And he's been letting me blame it on Nikko, the dog I rescued from a shelter back in Jan. Sam is very jealous of energetic, lively Nikko who demands attention and can jump onto the couch or bed to snuggle with me. Both dogs are housebroken and only recently have these accidents been happening. Last night, I kept Nikko in the bedroom with me and this morning I discovered a "pile" left in a doorway and three different spots of urine in the dining room. So now I know Sam is doing it, not little Nikko. I'm sure Sam was laughing each time I scolded Nikko for something he didn't do.

What's up with this bad behavior? Is Sam just getting old? He's always let me know when he had to go out. If my bedroom door is closed, he usually "knocks" on it and whines until I get up. Are the steroids causing the problem? I know in the past, when he was on steroids, he had to urinate more often, but still, he'd let me know he needed to go out.

Could it be that out of jealousy he's begun marking territory? A few times, he has pooped on Nikko's floor mat. But why, suddenly, would he now be marking territory when we've had Nikko for 9 months?

I tell ya, I am not thrilled at waking up to feces and urine throughout my house...or worse yet, stepping on it in the middle of the night when I go to the bathroom. I've even been letting the dogs out of the house then (about 2 or 3 a.m.) to prevent accidents. It's happening in the daytime too. Sam will just squat somewhere even when I'm in the next room and he could easily ask to go out. Is he just getting old and maybe can't control himself? The vet said he is still in very good shape and from the looks of him, a person couldn't tell he's old. He will still even sprint across the yard to chase a squirrel.

What can I do? I've scolded him. He hates to make me mad and he understands what I say when I say, "You make me so MAD!" He'll duck his head and look pitiful. And then of course I feel bad for making him sad. But this behavior has to stop. Fortunately all my floors are tile or hardwood so cleaning up isn't too difficult, but it's awfully nasty. Eeeeeeww!

Thumbnail by ButterflyChaser
waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

I know you can't really compare dogs and cats but when our Sammi was diagnosed with some kind of cancer the vet put him on pred. That caused numerous accidents. It could be compounded by old age, and jealousy. How long will he be on the pred. and, can you be patient until the course of treatment is over? Our Sammi is over the rainbow bridge now,

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I'm sorry about your Sammi. I dread the day when I have to say goodbye to mine. He understands me so well. He's been the best companion.

Maybe it's the prednisone. I'm trying to be patient but after two weeks or so, it's really getting old. He's ruined the linoleum tiles on one side of the dining room and I'll have to replace those. I bought an extra box or two just in case I ever needed to replace any.

I'll try to be patient, but I'm getting a roommate soon and I hope he'll tolerate it until the steroids are done, which should be in a couple more weeks.

Huntsville, AL(Zone 7b)

Sounds like it's a combination of steroids, old age and jealousy...dogs can get dementia just like humans, they need to go or do something and flat out 'forget' - the steroids WILL make him want to go, all the time - I'm battling it right now with our Mastiff...he drinks, he runs downstairs, if I'm not fast enough he'll go next to the door...have you tried kenneling him? (at least at night)

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

Have you tried dmailing PalmBob our resident Vet and angel? Also I think there are "diapers" for dogs - there are at least belly bands that can absorb the urine. Poor baby and poor you!

south central, WI(Zone 5a)

When we have Pippin on prednisone..many accidents. She laps up SO much water. Then the other 2 have to add their 2 spots.
I don't know about the feces..unless cumulative effects of what have been mentioned.
good luck

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Well, I'm thinking it may be the prednisone. We're down to giving him a dose every OTHER day. And it's on the Prednisone days that he has both types of accidents. The days without pred. are accident free. Hopefully it will all be over in a couple of weeks.

I don't even have kennels because I have never kenneled any of my dogs. I just can't see caging them up. I don't want to be caged and neither would they. Sam has never even seen a kennel. So at 13 yrs of age, I think he'd eat one if were stuck in it. LOL

And I could see him gnawing the diaper off real quick. The image of him in a diaper is hillarious. He is kinda like a miniature polar bear. Add a diaper and we might be able to take the show on the road. I bet he could convince people real fast that he's a bear. Since he's on pred., he walks around the house growling like an old bear. LOL

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

For the problem with the hot spots, try washing Sam with Murphy's Oil Soap(you find it in the soap aisle at the store) the Shar-Pei people use it on their dogs who have a lot of skin problems. Wash him with this every 7-10 days. I have used it on my dogs and it does wonders for their coats and skins

Also have the Vet check Sam's kidneys, at that age he could be developing kidney problems.

Hope this helps

Acton, CA(Zone 8b)

You can blame the urination perhaps on the pred, but the pooping is more likely due to some age related senility, or perhaps not wanting to get up to due to chronic arthritis (very common in old Samoyeds, which, do tend to live about this long.. . rarely do these die young). If his skin is clearing up, I would taper him off the pred, and after being off a while, consider trying some non-steroidal meds for arthritis and see if he gets around better... might help him poop in the house less... but if it is really an age/senility problem, you may have a tough time battling that sort of behavior... either way, getting mad at him will only make him more anxious and more likely to do it again. He cannot help it. There are some drugs for senility, but I have not had much luck with them making a lot of difference in my patients (Anipryl is a commonly used one).

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Personnely I would take the dog in and ask the vet to check him out. I would be concerned that there might be something else going on healthwise. I see behavioral changes as a red flag that something is going on. Usually "something is going on" has meant a health issue of some kind.

The neighbors used a senility drug for their dog. They said it worked for them. Before they used the drug they said the dog was forgetting to go to the bathroom when it was outside.

We had existing pet behavioral issues last time we brought new cats into an established pet household. The vet told us to start having "me time" with the original pet. We implimented what we called "couch time" with the original cat. Couch time for us was ten (10) minutes of undivided time with the existing cat on the couch every morning. Interesting thing was after the ten minutes she was good for the day. No behavioral problems any more.

This message was edited Sep 29, 2011 10:14 AM

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

We were just at the vet's office. That's when we got the prednisone. The pooping didn't start until the pred. did. And he only does it on the days he takes the pred. He's never had this particular reaction to the pred before, but the behavior started right after the pred. So I'm hoping that's it. He doesn't seem senile at all.

I do "me time" with Sam. I massage his hips frequently, which he loves since they ache. And he often gets to go for a ride in the van, just the two of us. And if he wants, he sits up front with me, but he usually prefers the bigger back seat.

Bob, what meds do you recommend for Sam's arthritis? Can I give him Aleve like I take? Or do I have to get a prescription drug? My vet won't write me prescriptions; he insists that I get the drugs from him and he marks them up quite a bit. For instance, I paid about $20 for the prednisone, which I can get at my pharmacy for $4. I paid him $50 for the same antibiotic I take for kidney infections, which I also get at my pharmacy for $4. I'm talking about the same drug, same strength, same quantity. So is there something over the counter that is appropriate for an 80 lb samoyed?

At this point, the vet says his only health issue is the arthritis and these seasonal hot spots.

Huntsville, AL(Zone 7b)

First off I'd change vets...refusing to write a prescription is total BS - we got Tramadol for our Shepherd for her joint pain (Bob probably will suggest something better), and daily doses of glucosamine and chondrotin - the senility/old age is hard to detect...she just seemed 'off' for a while and then it slowly started progressing

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

NancyAnn, Aleve is toxic to dogs even in very small doses, same as all the NSAIDs, so please don't give those to Sam. A friend's dog ate a small bottle and they almost lost her. Aspirin is OK if prescribed by your vet for arthritis but I believe it is not supposed to be used with other anti-inflammatories like Rimadyl, etc. This is what I recall from talking to my vet friend. Hope you find an answer!

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Same thought here about changing vets (if that is possible). I've never had a vet insist that we had to buy the meds from them. You might consider wandering over to another vet and ask for a second opionion also. Have you have verified that the pred you got is pred?

Our dog used to get frequent hot spots or lickitus. They seemed to fall in a couple of catagories: bug bite, allergy related, and spinal misalingment. To control those, she's on Frontline plus, we spray her with a herbal bug spray whenever we go out for a walk, and when she starts getting the elongated bare spots she goes into see a doggie chiro or accupunturist to get worked on. She had a spinal infection early on in her life and it seems to have caused issues with the vertibrae where the nerves go to the skin on the front legs.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I've heard of good results with Adequin and dogs. (I'm currently using it (off label) for my cat with really bad arthritis. It really does help her - not as much as I'd hoped - but enough to keep doing it.) However it is injected and if your Vet insists that he do the injections or/and sells you the drug it may be QUITE expensive.

I'm lucky that my cat Vet gives me a Rx and I buy it myself and give Holly the shots myself and it only costs about $6 a shot and I do it every 10 days. In fact the Vet was impressed with the relief that Holly got and is using it on her own cat now. Adequin is only labeled for horses and dogs right now but my research shows it has been used for cats and rabbits sucessfully.

I also give her Cosequin which is a Glucosamine with a flavoring. I think that helps, too. For a dog, I'd just buy a store brand of glucosamine with or without chondrotin for people and mix it in the food.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I tried Glucosamine for a while with Sam, but it didn't seem to help. We also got about 10 extra pounds off him and that doesn't seem to help either. I guess he's just getting old. But I will talk to the vet again about his arthritis. It breaks my heart to see him struggle to get up. And recently he can no longer get on the couch and snuggle with me; he's one of the best snugglers I've ever known! I need to make another handicap ramp for inside so my the "big ole bear" can reclaim his seat next to me on the couch.

I'm thinking his bowel issue is accidental, not intentional. He seems to just "lose it" from the exertion of getting up. The other day, while walking up his "handicap ramp" to get in the van, he "lost it" on the ramp just as he was walking. So maybe he's just losing control of that muscle group?

His hot spots seem to be weather related. He has no trouble at all during the cooler weather, but around June or July, the trouble begins. It's in a different spot each year. It wasn't as bad this year as last year since I allowed him to stay inside with AC down low (68) all summer. I do keep him on Advantix so he's not bothered with fleas and ticks.

My vet happens to be the cheapest in town and saved Sam's life years ago when he had heartworms. I couldn't afford the $500 that all the other vets wanted to charge to cure him. This vet allowed me to treat Sam at home and it only cost me $50 plus the cost of Heartgard. He also won't write me a script to get Heartgard online, but he doesn't charge much more than 1800 Pet Meds does. He also explains things really well and takes time to be sure I understand and make sure he's answered all my questions. He never rushes me out of the office or thinks any of my questions are stupid. So even though he charges more for the meds, I'll keep using him. I suppose he has to make his money somewhere. He didn't charge me for office visits on my two dogs when we were last there; he only charged for the meds and the vaccines. So I shouldn't complain.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I talked with my neighbor this weekend. Her dog has been on pred the last couple of weeks. Week one no problems but no improvement in the skin issue either. Week 2 they upped the pred dose to fix the skin issue. She said the dog is eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing a lot. Lots of accidents in the house. So it sounds like it maybe the pred.

She is also also seeing behavior changes in the dog being more agressive and yappie. The dog is usually a mild mannered and quite puppy. The good news is that the skin condition is finely clearing up.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Yes, aggressiveness is one of the dreaded side effects of pred. I hate putting Sam on it because he gets hostile, but the issue wasn't clearing up with just benadryl. Thanks for checking with your neighbor, Susan. The pooping accidents have never been a problem with the pred in the past, just the urinating. But he is getting older, so I'm sure age has something to do with it. Maybe the pred makes him a little lazier too or more insensitive to his "needs" so he just can't get up and to the door fast enough?

I'm glad your neighbor's dog is getting some relief from the skin issue. We just hate it when our babies are miserable.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

There is one prescription NSAID that dogs can tolerate: Metacam. The generic name is Meloxicam, available for humans as Mobic (brand name). My Maltese suffered a neck/back injury when he was very young. (temp, not a permanent injury). Before treatment, he was in so much pain he would not play or even eat. The vet put him on prednisone for a few weeks, a tapering dose and then switched him over to Metacam.

The Metacam worked wonders and with no noticeable symptoms. He became his old self again overnight Suddenly he wanted to run and play fetch. After that I had a tough time keeping him from rough-housing and possibly making the underlying injury worse. The doc said to keep him as still as possible during his recover. Before the Metacam, that was no problem, since he was feeling too bad to run and rip. Once he got on the Metacam, it was a different matter. He was a playful, puppy again. I was very sold on the product.

Also, the dog version Metacam comes in a liquid you inject into the dogs mouth, just a tiny amount, and it apparently tastes great. Widget (my Maltese) is very finicky, refusing even most dog treats, but he loved the Metacam so much that he would come running when he saw me getting the box out - and I do mean running TO me, not away like most dogs do with meds. I don't recall the price though. Widget is only 4.5lbs and was smaller still at the time. His small size makes the [quantity and thus] price of most things fairly irrelevant, so it didn't make an impression on me. Sorry.

Anyhow, if your vet things Metacam would be right for your dog, I think it would do a lot to help with his pain. I think it is even a once a day dose. I actually take the same drug for my arthritic knees, except that I take the generic meloxicam in pill form. I was taking Aleve, 4/day, before the Dr switched me over to meloxicam, 1/day. The meloxicam gives me much better pain relief, and my Dr says it is easier on the stomach. I believe my Dr said that Aleve is one of the worst for the stomach. I would not give Aleve to a dog.

As for the problems you are experiencing with your dog, I, too, suspect that the prednisone is the culprit, especially considering the problems began about the same time. I'm glad that you are being patient with him. Whatever the reason for the accidents, I'm sure it is not his fault and he is not doing it intentionally. My prior dog, now diseased, was 12 when she suddenly began to experience accidents. Shortly after that, she died rather suddenly, and I learned that she had been silently suffering with cancer. Only days before her death she was running around like a puppy. Dogs don't always show that they are sick. I tell this awful story NOT to say that your dog, too, may be about to die but to drive home the importance of continuing to be as patient and sympathetic as possible even though I can only imagine how frustrating the behavior must be for you. It is so difficult to know sometimes what the dog is going through.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Thanks for all your input. You guys have enlightened me a bit.

I spoke with the vet today about Sam's "bowel incontinence". He suspects it is from the pain of his arthritis. He said that Sam probably puts off getting up to go out to do his business until the last minute because of the pain. And then when he finally manages to get up, the strain of rising and the urgency of his bowels collide and so he "drops walnuts" from where he is all the way to the door. He gave me some Rimadryl for the pain and inflammation and we'll see how that works. I think someone here mention this drug. So I'll let ya'll know if it helps with his accidents.

(In case you're wondering why we call it "dropping walnuts", I'll tell ya a funny story. A friend was visiting recently and she was gathering black walnuts from our walnut tree. She came inside to use the bathroom and came back out. She had a wicked glint in her eye and couldn't hardly keep from laughing. She said, "When I went inside, everything was fine. The dogs greeted me and then I went to do my business. When I started to come back out, I saw this trail of walnuts leading thru the house. I wondered where they had come from and I started to kick one...when I realized they weren't walnuts!" Sam had had an accident. I could just imagine what my friend would have done had she kicked one of the "walnuts" with feet protected only by flip flops. Eeeeeewwwww! LOL)

Redwood City, CA

Your friend sounds like a keeper with a great sense of humor.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I agree with Illig1. It's a cute story. Your friend's grace in handling the situation kept it more funny than embarrassing. Friends like that are worth a million.

The image of her possibly kicking a walnut or two is, well, eeeewwww...

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

We did have a good laugh about it. She has an older cat who has accidents, so she understands the situation.

Sam's done good the last two or three days, since I've been giving him the rimadryl. He even climbed upon the couch last night and slept there. He hasn't gotten on the couch in a few months.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

I'm really glad to hear that the rimadryl seems to be helping with his pain. From my experience with Widget (my dog) when he was in a lot of pain, I know all too well just how very upsetting it can be to see them suffer. Glad things are going better for both of you.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

My Sammy crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Sept 17, 2012. He had gotten progressively worse, unable to get up without help, and in a lot of pain. He had lost control of his bladder and bowels and he hurt so much that it was difficult for him to even roll over to change positions when lying down. On Sun, the 16th, he looked at me with such despair in his eyes, and I got the feeling he was saying, "I've tried to hold on for you, but I'm just miserable; can't you let me go now?" I had dinner guests who all saw the expression and assured me that he was telling me it was time.

The next morning I took him to the vet for the last time, crying the whole way of course. The vet also assured me that his time had come, altho I wished otherwise. After "it" was done, I carried him home and planted him in my Serenity Garden where he can always watch over us.

Saying goodbye to him was one of the hardest things I ever did, but I knew if I held onto him any longer, I'd be selfish, just making him suffer because I didn't want to say goodbye. I knew he didn't want to leave me, but he was in too much pain and too humiliated lying in his own body fluids.

Nikko, my german shephard/golden retriever mix, is trying to fill Sam's shoes. He seems to have grown up overnight. He's a little more serious than he used to be, but he still has a lot of puppy in him and makes me laugh constantly at his antics. He is delighted to be the "man of the house" now and have all my attention for himself. I do believe he missed Sam in the beginning. He seemed rather subdued for about a week. Maybe he thought he better behave or he'd be next?? LOL

Thumbnail by ButterflyChaser
Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I am so sorry for your loss. {{{hugs}}}

Lyndonville, NY

I am so very sorry for your loss. You gave him the gift of your heart and unconditional love....helping him cross the Bridge.

My thoughts are with you,


Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Sorry to hear about Sam. Hugs.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

So very sorry to hear about Sam, NancyAnn. I know how devoted to each other you two were. If there were words to console you I'd type them but the loss of such a beloved pet is a heartbreaker and words are just insufficient.

I hope Nikko continues to make you laugh and smile.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Thank you all. I was pretty heartbroken when it happened, which is why I haven't been able to post about it until now. Nikko has really helped ward off the depression I would have felt had he not been here to entertain me. I don't think anyone can be sad with this little hyper fella is bouncing around with that goofy smile on his face. LOL

It helps too that this is our busy season at work--getting ready for our biggest charity event of the year. So I've been at work more than usual this past month and will continue to be busy thru Dec.

It really helps to remember that I got over 14 wonderful years with my furry companion. My vet had said I could expect 7 or 8 years out of him, but I got 6 or so bonus years with him. I feel truly blessed for those extra years. I needed him and he knew it. As you know, Arlene, Sam was so instinctive, almost reading my mind most of the time. He was an unusual companion, but most of us will say that about our fur-babies, won't we?

Nikko is adorable, and he adores me. While he'll never replace Sam, he is perhaps what I need now and perhaps in the future. He's such a sweetie; he'll still share his bones and his toys with me...as long as I give them back soon. LOL

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It's just so impossibly hard to realize our pets are gone and accepting it challenges us even though we have no choice. Heck, I still miss my collie, Mac, and he died in 1976! They hold ties to our hearts that is hard to explain to anyone who hasn't had a beloved pet.

Glad to hear work will keep you busy and Nikko will keep you smiling even when your heart is aching.

Jim Falls, WI(Zone 4a)

So sorry to hear about your loss. It is the hardest thing to do but the right thing. So glad you have Nikko to help cheer you up. No he won't replace Sam but he will fill a different spot for you.
Vicki and Ty

Redwood City, CA

So sorry! As others have stated, you did the right thing and Sam was such a lucky boy to have you.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)


mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

my heart goes out to you at this painful time....words are useless, but i give you my support and my friendship.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Thank you, everyone! Arlene, I've been looking for a collie, like Lassie, like the one my aunt and uncle had when I was little. It's hard to find a large collie around here. I almost never see one. Strange!

I am looking for a 2nd dog though. Nikko wants a playmate. I've been chatting with a lady who is involved in the rescue of 50...yes FIFTY dogs at ONE residence. The man has been taking care of them by himself, as best he can. None are sick but some are getting rather skinny. People are pitching in to buy food until the dogs can be adopted or fostered out. I think I'm going to adopt one and maybe foster some others until they can be adopted. Several of them are border collie mixes and they're so cute! I think one of them would make a good companion for Nikko and me. I'm supposed to go with the Rescue organizer to transport several of them. The man has agreed to give up all but 5. Here's a link to the post and some pics. I just love the brown furry border collie mixes. They have such sweet faces. If you click on a picture, you can see other pictures. Some of the dogs are rather skinny; the tougher dogs are pushing them away from the food. So sad!!


Redwood City, CA

The man sounds like a hoarder who may have started out with good intentions but is now out of control. Bless you you for getting involved. Fostering is lots of work but extremely rewarding. I'm sure you can get a great companion for Nikko.

Las Vegas, NV(Zone 9a)

So sorry about Sam. It has been a year since we lost Madeline. We got a new brother & sister schnauzers and our remaining male schnauzer is so much younger now with the little ones to keep up with.

A companion for Nikko will be wonderful.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Wed I get to go pick out a companion. I might get two, just depends on if two of them pick me. Nikko picked me two years ago. I was not looking for him when I went to the shelter. I wanted a bigger, more protective dog. But Nikko spotted me from his kennel at the end of the line of kennels, and he insisted that I take him home. Something about him just hugged my heart and I've never regretted bringing him home--even after he ate my sectional...and chewed up all the cushions on the outdoor furniture, and ate a dozen pair of my shoes...and chewed the armrest in the van...and shredded roll after roll of toilet paper and ate a book I was reading so I had to go buy a new copy. When I'd tell people what he ate recently, they'd all ask, "Are you going to send him back to the shelter now?" NOOOOOOO. He was wrapped around my heart; how could I send him away? He's finally stopped chewing everything, and now he just makes me laugh. Wed. I hope to find another companion that will make both of us laugh.

Fri, I'm working with the rescue team to transport some of these dogs to Birmingham to a shelter there. The shelters here are full and we'll only carry them to No-Kill shelters. If you're between Memphis and Birmingham and would like to adopt one of these dogs (I think they're free), perhaps we could meet you somewhere along our journey on Fri of this week (Nov. 9, 2012).

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