Preventing the Alzheimer’s Disease in Dogs
“Can older dogs get Alzheimer’s?” is a frequent question asked about dogs. Preventing the Alzheimer’s Disease in Dogs; You may have realized that your older dog does not function as it used to. You may have noticed that your dog has become very anxious and often, looks lost. We’re Preventing the Alzheimer’s Disease.
The signs mentioned above are signs of normal aging. But be careful, these signs can also be symptoms of the Alzheimer’s disease, that is, the CDS (Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome).
As we all know, cognitive function has to deal with a person’s memory. It involves learning, taking in information and also, awareness. And unlike dogs, it is very easy to measure in humans.
Clearly, we can’t ask dogs to recite the alphabet chart or the days of the week, so cognitive function can be a little harder to determine in dogs. Veterinarians and dog owners can use behavioral changes and symptoms to determine the pets safety.
Now, we’re going to consider some signs of CDS (Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome) in dogs.
Signs of the CDS (Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome) in Dogs
Vet doctors use the acronym DISHAA for symptoms in dogs that will help them diagnose CDS.
- D for Disorientation
- I for Interaction with people and pets
- S for Sleep-Wake Cycle Alteration
- H for House soiling, learning, memory
- A for Activity Alteration
- A for Anxiety.
Let’s consider each of these symptoms, one after the other.
D for disorientation
Signs of disorientation is often seen in dogs suffering from canine dementia or canine cognitive dysfunction.
A visible symptom is the dog wandering about, confused and lost. Not only that, the dog may have difficulty in recognizing familiar people and getting around objects. The dog may begin to stare into space, walls, floors blankly or even get stuck.
All these signs show that the dog is suffering from disorientation ( due to CDS).
I for interaction with people and pets.
CDS or canine dementia affects how your dog interacts with you and the environment. Some dogs may become very mean and others grow very distant from people.
Their interest in people or time spent with them decreases and they may even like to spend time alone. In some cases, dogs can even become clingy to their owner and some, fearful.
S for Sleep Cycle Changes.
We all sleep in the night, and so do our dogs!!! Sadly, dogs with the CDS may wake in the midnight and begin to bark, pace and whine, etc. Thus, their sleep cycle changes.
Some dogs (having CDS) sleep cycle may shift from the night to the morning, so their night becomes just like the day. Due to these symptoms, your dogs might become even more agitated.
H for House soiling and Memory Capacity.
This is another annoying symptom, shown by dogs with canine dementia. They become so agitated and they start to make a mess around the house. They show slow responses to learn commands, difficulty in giving their owner attention and so on.
A for Activity Changes.
The CDS also affects how your dog performs. The CDS may cause your dog to be very hyperactive or otherwise. In any case, whenever you see changes in your dog’s activities, you should be concerned.
A for Anxiety.
When separated from the owner, the dog may feel very anxious or very reactive to stimulus around him. The dog may grow fearful of places in its environment.
Dogs with CDS and patients with Alzheimer’s suffer a common symptom; sun-downing. You will notice an increase in their anxiety, restlessness, confusion, mood swings, surges of energies, etc. as the evening approaches.
Diagnosing CDS (Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome) in Dogs
To diagnose Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, there is no definite test for it. So for older dogs, they’re screened for early signs of canine dementia (if suspected during check up). If CDS is suspected in the dog, the owner will be asked for the changes in the pattern of behavior of the dog.
To firmly diagnose CDS, other related symptoms to it must be canceled out. These symptoms include:
- High rise in blood pressure.
- Infection in the urinary tract.
- Liver or kidney problem (involving metabolism).
- Painful symptoms such as skin disorder or arthritis. Loss of sight and inability to hear!
- Diseases associated with the endocrine system e.g diabetes, hypothyroidism.
To rule out similar signs to CDS, blood and diagnostic tests are necessary to carry out. This will enable you to accurately diagnose.
Ways To Treat the Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) or Canine Dementia
As far as research is concerned, there has been no cure for CDS; however, there are ways to take to improve the condition and safety of your dog.
Medication, nutritional support, modification in behavior are things you can do, on your own part, to make your dog comfortable.
There are several pharmaceutical drugs made for soothing the symptoms in your dogs. We have Selegiline made for treating Cushing’s disease and CDS. This drug also helps to control many signs of canine dementia.
Medications used as antidepressants and anti anxiety can also help to decrease the level of anxiety in your dogs. Sleep aids can also help your dog regain its normal sleep cycle.
2. Nutritional Support
Give your dog food with the right amount of fatty acids and antioxidants. These nutrients have been shown to improve the dog’s cognitive function.
So if the dog is showing signs of canine dementia, talk to your vet doctor about the best meal for your dog.
According to research, it has been found that, possibly, diet may have no effect on aging. Even, research workers used a series of test to test and analyze aging dog decline. However, more research is still needed.
3. Behavior Modification
This requires a little flexibility, on the part of the owner. However, dogs need to be engaged in these behavioral steps to make them more comfortable.
One of the best things you can do to help your dog is to continually provide mental stimulation. Even though it won’t be able to engage many activities, you can engage him in play and light activities. Small walks can also be of help, as this provides scent stimulation.
Routinal playtime and exercise, use of puzzle toys or food toys can also help to reduce the anxiety of the dog. Settle your dog in a familiar environment and avoid changing your schedule. Help the dog learn to respond to the “settle” command.
In cases of house soiling, make arrangements so that your dog can relieve himself without creating a mess. You can make use of a dog door or create an indoor area for your dog.
Living With CDS
As you properly apply these treatment tips, you dog will live a long and happy life. If you notice all the symptoms above in your dog, do well to talk to your vet doctor.