As dog’s age, they can develop dog dementia, which is also known as canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome. This week Dr. Coffin will discuss everything you need to know about dog dementia and a new treatment option that is now available.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is a gradual degeneration of the nervous system characterized by a gradual and progressive decline in cognitive function. Eighteen percent of dogs over eight years of age are affected by dog dementia. Unfortunately, only 1.9% are diagnosed. It’s important for dog owners to recognize the signs of CDS and talk with your veterinarian about treatment to slow the progression of the disease.
Veterinarians use the DISHAA tool to help owner’s asses the mental acuity of their dog. To diagnose CDS, dogs must exhibit signs from several of these categories.
- D Disorientation
- Dog stares blankly at walls, floor or into space
- Gets stuck or has difficulty getting around objects
- Doesn’t recognize familiar people
- I Interaction with people and pets is altered
- Decreased interest in being petted
- Spends more time allow and away from family members
- More clingy or fearful
- S Sleep/Wake cycle altered
- Restless or waking at night
- Night time vocalization
- Sleep more during the day
- H House soiling/learning and memory
- Decrease or loss of signaling to go out
- Decrease response to commands
- Difficulty getting dog’s attention/increased distraction
- A Activity Altered
- Decreased playing with toys
- Decreased interest in playing with family members
- Repetitive behaviors such as licking, chewing and circling
- A Anxiety
- Increased anxiety when separated from owners
- More reactive to noise
- Increased fear or places/locations/going outside
An FDA approved drug has been available for treatment of dog dementia. This year, Purina revealed a new Pro Plan Veterinary Diet called Neurocare for the treatment of CDS. In just 90 days dogs significantly improved across all DISHAA categories.
What is in Neurocare that helps with dog dementia?
- A concentrated source of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oils. The liver converts these MCT oils into ketones. Ketones are utilized in senior dog’s brain to help with glucose metabolism.
- Arginine is an essential amino acid that aids in circulation, blood pressure, and brain function.
- EPA helps reduce inflammation
- EPA + DHA support brain structure and function
- Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress
- B vitamins aid in energy and DNA metabolism
If your senior dog is exhibiting any behavioral changes, speak with your veterinarian as soon as you notice them. It’s usually less expensive and easier to treat if diagnosed early. Here is more information about dog dementia.