Dementia In Dogs And Cats
Dementia in dogs and cats
Senior dogs and cats can develop a syndrome equivalent to dementia or Alzheimers in people. This syndrome is known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). CDS can affect dogs as young as 6-7 years of age, although usually signs are not noticed until a few years after the initial onset. 62% of dogs between 11-16 years of age will show signs of CDS and 25% of cats between 11 and 14 years of age.
Signs And Symptoms of Dementia in Dogs And Cats
The main signs can be remembered using the Acronym DISH
Disorientation – confusion, aimless wandering, pacing, circling, staring at walks, trouble finding the door
Interaction changes – erratic behaviour, begging for food despite a full bowl, loss of interest or recognition of family members
Sleep changes – they will often sleep more during the day and may be up at unusual times throughout the night
House soiling – loss of toilet training. They will also be forgetful and may forget previously taught tricks or training.
These changes are often mistaken for “normal” ageing behaviours but are actually a result of amyloid protein deposits forming in the brain and lowering of dopamine levels
Treatment options for dementia in dogs and cats
There is no cure for CDS but there are things we can do to help manage the disease and delay progression.
- Early diagnosis and treatment is key – research is going into early detection of Alzheimers in humans which will hopefully be applied to CDS in future.
- Keeping the brain “active” – keeping up regular exercise outdoors, getting animals to work for their food by doing puzzles and creating other enrichment activities
- Good nutrition – antioxidants and omega-3 essential fatty acids are very important. Hills science diet has a prescription diet called B/d that is designed to help manage CDS. Give us a call and we can put a bag aside for you.
- Medication – can help to prevent breakdown of dopamine in the brain (dopamine breakdown is a factor in the development of CDS). It also helps to reduce numbers of damaging free radicals in the brain.
Propentofylline is another medication which helps improve blood flow to the brain and can improve dullness, lethargy and activity.
- Anti-anxiety medication – Adaptil can be used alone with other therapies to help reduce concurrent anxiety.
If you think your pet has any symptoms of CDS then please book them in to see us your friendly Adelaide vet. There are different drugs available for pets than humans and therefore we can reduce a lot of the symptoms. Call 8340 0388 or book online.