Dementia in dogs

Do you have an older pet that paces around the house, barks when there is no one there, stares at walls or has trouble sleeping at night?

Just like humans, dogs can experience degenerative cognitive dysfunction, commonly known as Canine Dementia. Over time you will notice changes in responsiveness, disorientation, reduced memory and learning and changes in sleeping patterns.

Causes

Although incompletely understood, the brain changes seen in dogs with cognitive dysfunction is similar to that of humans with Alzheimer’s Disease. There are physical changes in the brain including loss of neurons and development of amyloid plaques, but also a change in the chemicals of the brain responsible for getting rid of free-radicals.

We don’t know why one dog may develop dementia and others don’t, but genetic factors have been suggested.

Symptoms

  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Extreme irritability
  • Decreased desire to play
  • Excessive licking
  • Slow to move
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in sleep
  • Pacing around
  • Anxiousness
  • Barking for no reason
  • Doesn’t respond to voice commands
  • Loss of house training

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your veterinarian will need to gather a thorough history of your pet’s behaviour, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. As canine cognitive dysfuntion is a diagnosis by exclusion, your vet may want to run routine tests to make sure your pet isn’t suffering from another illness or disease.

Although there is no cure for canine cognitive dysfunction, your vet can prescribe medications that may assist in relieving the symptoms of dementia and help your pet gain back some of their daily activities.

You may also like

Arthritis Supplements

Arthritis Supplements

As our companion animals become older, you may start to notice the negative effects of osteoarthritis. Arthritis is a common condition causing inflammation, swelling, pain and discomfort in joints. There are many treatment options available to help control arthritis in our pets. If you think your pet may have osteoarthritis, please speak to your veterinarian. They can examine your animal, discuss your concerns, and work with you to put together a plan to help improve and manage the problems you are seeing.

read more
Indoor toileting problems in cats

Indoor toileting problems in cats

INDOOR TOILETING PROBLEMS IN CATS Marking or toileting? Indoor marking behaviour can be confused with a breakdown in toileting behaviour. Territorial marking by urine spraying which usually occurs against vertical objects such as chairs or walls and can be...

read more