When our dog gets older, or gets a certain age, can have degenerative brain disease. A problem that suffers is called Cognitive dysfunction syndrome, another names are Dementia, senility… It is a problem similar to human dementia or the Alsheimer.
The disease is gradual over time. It starts with mild symptoms and evolvs toward severe illness. It is for that reason, that most dog owners do not realize their old pet has this disase, until the symptoms are already advanced, or very advanced.
The clinical sygns, that we can see when our pet suffers from Cognitive Dysfunction are multiple: Confusion and desorientation, he stands, watching and going to unusual places.
There may be changes in learning and memory, can defecate at home, not attend when called. Perform repetitive actions, low activity, …. Alterations in relations with the owners,
Alterations in sleep cycle, and increased activity in the evening hours, increased anxiety, irritability… Another sign that can be seen in sever cases, is low response to stimuli, eat less, walk less, play less…
The age of onset of signs is by half, about the age of eleven years old. But cases have been detecte even around seven years old. If we perform MRI scans or CT (scanners) to these animals, we can detect brain atrophy, enlarged ventricles of the brain…. a range of conditions typical of this disease.
Cognitive dysfunction in dogs has no cure. But we can do several things to slow prgress of this disease. For example enviromental enrichment: exercise regularly, play with them, with new games, put another dog to turn and play aroun more actively.
Reforce the diet. Add antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and mitochondrial cofactors, etc… This actions has shown, to slow the progression of this disease. A new diet of HILLS company, that contain a mixture of antioxidants, fruits, vegetables, vitamins, etc… we have seen that this diet improves the animal disease within two months of starting it.
There is a drug that can be used for cognitive dysfunction. It can improve the disease, but there is not corroborating serious studies. It is called Selegiline (Anipryl, l-dprenyl, etc…), ad the response may be a few days of taking it, and then can be better for a weeks, and finally return to worsen again.
Another drug that is widely used, is Propentophyline or Karsivan (trade naem). Is widely used in Spain for the problems of aging in dogs. Its action is based on arterial vasodilatation and reduce blood viscosity. All of this action improves blood flow to the brain.
The best we can do to detect this fatal disease, is to do regular visits to our vet doctor, specially when our pets are old. After eight years of age, the dogs should go at least twice a year, for a regular visita and checkup. Is the vet doctor, questioning the owners, who can dtect minimal signs of cognitive dysfunction, that may escape the owners.
If you have any questions about this matter, do not hesitate to consult us and ask whatever you want.