Lately, you’ve noticed that your senior dog has been acting rather odd. It keeps staring at a wall for no apparent reason, or it seems confused when you take it out for a walk. On top of that your four-legged friend is soiling the house. Concerned, you take it to the veterinarian. After ruling out all possible diseases, your veterinarian tells you that your pooch is suffering from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.
What is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction?
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) is a disease that affects a dog’s brain which could result in the loss of motor skills and memory especially when it comes to learned behavior. CCD is also referred to as a Doggy Alzheimer’s or dementia in dogs. Typically, Canine Cognitive Dysfunction occurs in dogs that are 10 years of age or older.
What are the Symptoms of Doggy Alzheimer’s?
Since most of the symptoms of dementia in dogs can be associated with other diseases, it is important to have your dog diagnosed by a veterinarian to rule out any other disease. Your dog might have Canine Cognitive Dysfunction if it:
• Acts irritated around people or other dogs
• Barks without cause
• Has difficulty eating or drinking
• Sleeps or is awake at odd times
• Starts forgetting trained behavior
• Paces or walks in circles incessantly
• Suffers from incontinence with no known
• Resists physical activity
What causes Canine Cognitive Dysfunction?
There is no specific known cause for CCD. However, there is a relationship between the symptoms of Doggy Alzheimer’s and what happens to a dog’s brain as it ages. According to an article in The Washington Post, “Plaques of beta amyloid — protein fragments believed to be the result of “oxidative stress” — lead to distinctive “neurofibrillary tangles” within the damaged nerve cells, and shrinkage of the brain appears in areas where memories are made and behaviors are shaped.”*
How is Dementia in Dogs treated?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Dementia in Dogs. However, there are ways that the process can be slowed down. One way is to keep your four-legged friend active mentally and physically. Food puzzles – a food dispenser – that store treats can challenge your dog’s problem solving abilities. Regularly scheduled play sessions can help too. In addition, physical exercise and interaction with other dogs can keep your pooch’s brain stimulated. Aside from mental and physical activities, there are medications, supplements and dog food on the market that can help to slow down the mental decline process.
Medications for dogs with CCD
Anipryl (selegiline hydrochloride) is indicated for the control of clinical signs associated with canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) and control of clinical signs associated with uncomplicated canine pituitary dependent hyperadrenocorticism (PDH).
Selegiline is used to treat canine cognitive dysfunction and a type of Cushing’s disease caused by a pituitary tumor. DO NOT use with antidepressants.
Supplements to help dogs with Dementia
Senilife XL is for older dogs having problems associated with brain health. Senilife XL Capsules help provide support and improve brain functioning within 30 days. Senilife XL is safe for long term use.
Cosequin Omega-3 is a supplement for dogs that features Dermaquin Omega-3 Fish Oil, which is good for skin and coat health, heart health, renal health, joint health, nervous system health, as well as aids in training and puppy development.
Food for dogs with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets NC NeuroCare Canine Formula nutritionally manages dogs with epilepsy as an adjunct to veterinary therapy. It is formulated with medium chain triglyceride oil, which has been shown to help reduce seizures in epileptic dogs on medication. In addition, it helps nutritionally manage dogs with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.
In conclusion, Canine Cognitive Dysfunction – also known as Doggy Alzheimer’s or Dementia in Dogs – typically affects senior dogs (those that are 10 years or older). Doggy Alzheimer’s is the buildup of protein based plaque in the dog’s brain. A dog afflicted with dementia will start to suffer from loss of motor skills as well as memory loss. Some of the symptoms of CCD include confusion, incontinence, barking, and changes in sleep/wake patterns. These symptoms can also be the signs of other diseases. Therefore, it is imperative that a veterinarian performs a complete diagnoses of your dog to rule out other diseases. There is no cure for CCD, but there are ways to slow down the mental deterioration. These include mental and physical exercises, medication, supplements, and food formulated to address Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.
*Harris, Lee. “What happens when your dog gets Alzheimer’s.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post. 9 January 2015. Web. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/01/09/what-happens-when-your-dog-gets-alzheimers/?utm_term=.62f68f0c4592 Retrieved on 23 March 2017.