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Can Pets Have Dementia?

by | Jan 6, 2020

Pets, like people, can develop dementia. In dogs and cats, the condition is called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). This degenerative process is related to the aging brain.

If you’ve ever had a senior kitty who suddenly starts yowling in the middle of the night, or an older dog who becomes fearful of people in the immediate family, CDS may be the culprit.

Symptoms related to Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) and Feline Cognitive Dysfunction (FCD) also include:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Wandering away from home
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Staring into space or at walls
  • Lack of interest in food or water
  • Lack of interest in playtime
  • Depression
  • Potty accidents

According to Leticia Fanucchi, DVM, PhD, Director of Veterinary Medicine Behavioral Services at Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, as many as 85% of cases are undiagnosed.

Part of the reason is that many of the symptoms can be attributed to other ailments. Examples include:

  • Arthritis (link to arthritis blog) can be the reason an active cat or dog slows down.
  • Kidney disease, which is common in senior felines, may cause peeing outside of the box.
  • Hyperthyroidism can cause retinal detachment and blindness, leading to anxiety and confusion.
  • Dental disease can be the reason a dog or cat isn’t interested in their food

Today’s Veterinary Practice recently published an article for veterinarians featuring a checklist of questions to ask pet parents in order to better and more accurately diagnose (and treat) CDS,

Slowing the Progression of CDS

The good news is that pet parents can help delay cognitive decline. Feeding senior pets a diet rich in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E along with SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine), can help slow aging. To learn more on how diet can affect the aging brain, click here.

Bi-annual senior wellness exams are also recommended, as health problems can be identified earlier and may have more treatment options.

The psychoactive drug Anipryl is often recommended for dogs and cats with CDS because it works to prolong dopamine activity in the brain. In a University of California/Davis study, 76% of 69 dogs studied showed cognitive improvement after one month on the drug.

Making Life Easier for Pets with CDS

Through enrichment around the home and love and attention, dogs and cats with CDS can live happy, fulfilled lives.

If your fur baby has CDS, it is beneficial to spend more interactive play time with them. Not only does this help stimulate the mind, it strengthens the bond between you. Touch is another way to show your unconditional love – grooming and massage help senior pets feel better physically and can reduce stress for both of you. Providing ramps as needed near furniture and stairs, adding more conveniently located litter boxes with low sides for easier access for cats and pee pee pads around the home for dogs, are also recommended.

Love is always the most important ingredient in caring for fur babies at any age. An extra dose for your senior pet, combined with patience, understanding and time, can enrich their life – and yours.

$s

Can Pets Have Dementia?

by | Jan 6, 2020

Pets, like people, can develop dementia. In dogs and cats, the condition is called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). This degenerative process is related to the aging brain.

If you’ve ever had a senior kitty who suddenly starts yowling in the middle of the night, or an older dog who becomes fearful of people in the immediate family, CDS may be the culprit.

Symptoms related to Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) and Feline Cognitive Dysfunction (FCD) also include:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Wandering away from home
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Staring into space or at walls
  • Lack of interest in food or water
  • Lack of interest in playtime
  • Depression
  • Potty accidents

According to Leticia Fanucchi, DVM, PhD, Director of Veterinary Medicine Behavioral Services at Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, as many as 85% of cases are undiagnosed.

Part of the reason is that many of the symptoms can be attributed to other ailments. Examples include:

  • Arthritis (link to arthritis blog) can be the reason an active cat or dog slows down.
  • Kidney disease, which is common in senior felines, may cause peeing outside of the box.
  • Hyperthyroidism can cause retinal detachment and blindness, leading to anxiety and confusion.
  • Dental disease can be the reason a dog or cat isn’t interested in their food

Today’s Veterinary Practice recently published an article for veterinarians featuring a checklist of questions to ask pet parents in order to better and more accurately diagnose (and treat) CDS,

Slowing the Progression of CDS

The good news is that pet parents can help delay cognitive decline. Feeding senior pets a diet rich in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E along with SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine), can help slow aging. To learn more on how diet can affect the aging brain, click here.

Bi-annual senior wellness exams are also recommended, as health problems can be identified earlier and may have more treatment options.

The psychoactive drug Anipryl is often recommended for dogs and cats with CDS because it works to prolong dopamine activity in the brain. In a University of California/Davis study, 76% of 69 dogs studied showed cognitive improvement after one month on the drug.

Making Life Easier for Pets with CDS

Through enrichment around the home and love and attention, dogs and cats with CDS can live happy, fulfilled lives.

If your fur baby has CDS, it is beneficial to spend more interactive play time with them. Not only does this help stimulate the mind, it strengthens the bond between you. Touch is another way to show your unconditional love – grooming and massage help senior pets feel better physically and can reduce stress for both of you. Providing ramps as needed near furniture and stairs, adding more conveniently located litter boxes with low sides for easier access for cats and pee pee pads around the home for dogs, are also recommended.

Love is always the most important ingredient in caring for fur babies at any age. An extra dose for your senior pet, combined with patience, understanding and time, can enrich their life – and yours.

$s

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