Medicine helped senile dog -- can it help humans?

People's Pharmacy

August 07, 2005|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,King Features Syndicate

What can you tell me about selegiline? The vet prescribed it for my elderly dog. She had been showing serious agitation, pacing for hours at a time (sometimes 12 or 15 hours straight). She would pace until she dropped from exhaustion, sleep for half a day, then get up and start pacing again. She was also drooling excessively, digging compulsively, deliberately knocking things over and urinating in the house whenever I left.

My vet said these are all symptoms of senile dementia in dogs. I think it was precipitated by the death of my other dog. They had been together for more than 12 years, and she just couldn't handle being alone.

Several days after she started on selegiline, all those behaviors stopped completely. It was amazing. She started acting like herself again.

After seeing how much it helped my dog, I would definitely take it myself. Do they ever prescribe it for people with memory problems?

Our veterinary consultant, Andrea Frost, says that selegiline can be helpful for dogs with the canine equivalent of senile dementia. When an old dog gets lost in his own house or becomes incontinent because he can't remember to ask to go out, quality of life for the owner -- and the dog -- has really declined.

Not every dog has as great a response as yours, but selegiline can help buy some old dogs a little more quality time with their human families.

Selegiline is used in human medicine to treat people with Parkinson's disease. It has been studied against Alzheimer's disease with mixed results. Some patients seem to benefit, but overall the results have not been promising.

I am a 34-year-old married woman, and I am suffering from a low sex drive. I am currently on birth control, and I have hypothyroidism. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Libido can be affected by many factors, including thyroid function and medications. Birth-control pills may reduce sexual desire for some women.

It is essential to get thyroid hormones properly balanced. If the problem persists, check with your doctor about other contraceptive options.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them via their Web site: www. peoplespharmacy.org.

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