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Canine Cognitive Dysfunction – Dog Dementia - dog vet

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction – Dog Dementia - Melbourne dog vet

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) is a dementia-like syndrome that occurs in approximately 15% of older dogs .

Cause  Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is

  • a neurological degenerative disorder of senior dogs and cats characterized by gradual cognitive decline and increasing brain pathology.
  • Elderly animals are less able to perform a variety of cognitive tasks compared to younger ones.
  • Progression of clinical signs is very gradual and owners may fail to recognize the dysfunction is happening

Look at  impairment in 4 behavioral categories

  1. Orientation in the home and yard, - confusion, aimlessness, appears lost, decreased alertness, does not recognize people.
  2. Social interaction - less greeting and petting and asking for attention
  3. House training - "In house accidents start"
  4. Sleep-wake cycle

 

How do I know if the behavior is medical rather than Canine “ senility”?

Geriatric pets increasing number of medical and degenerative problems that can look like canine senility - EG a kidney problem is present, can present as incontinence, or urinating inside the house. Diseases of the endocrine organs such as the thyroid gland and pituitary gland can lead to a variety of behavioral and personality changes. Arthritis and other painful conditions can make the animal irritable, or resistant to handling. A decline in hearing and sight can cause problems, such as if the animal is startled while resting or sleeping.

An increase or decrease in appetite and thirst are also signs to look out for. Blood and urine tests are carried out to check for underlying medical problems.

Changes in a pet's behavior typically include:

  • confusion and disorientation
  • decreased interest in food
  • general apathy
  • decreased ability to recognize places and people
  • disruption of the normal sleep/wake cycle
  • wandering
  • repetitive compulsive disorder
  • persistent barking or whining, especially at night
  • loss of learned behaviors, such as toilet training
  • irritability and aggression
  • reduced interaction with the owner

Can CCD be treated?

CCD can be treated and the options include medications, dietary changes, behavior modification and changes to the pet's environment.

Medications are available from your veterinarian for treatment of some forms of cognitive dysfunction in dogs. These drugs help to normalize neurotransmitter levels, increase blood supply and protect against nerve cell deterioration. If you recognize any of the above problems in your dog, it is worth trying treatment as many dogs show marked improvement and become more attentive, playful and interactive.

Sometimes drug therapy needs to be combined with behavioral treatment,

Use it or lose it' - provide a rich environment designed to stimulate its brain using toys, simple brain challenges and brain games involving simple training routines (e.g... sit, drop, fetch) are ideal because many older dogs are chronically bored.

A new diet : Brain aging care" or b/d  has recently been released on the market specifically for CCD. This diet contains increased levels of antioxidants to reduce the free radicals produced in aging brains. The antioxidants in this diet include Vitamins E and C.

A special mix of fruit and vegetables are also added to give increased levels of the antioxidants known as carotenoids and flavenoids.

Mitochondrial co-factors Lcarnatine and alpha lipoic acid increase mitochondrial energy production and decrease free radicals.

Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA help strengthen Neuronal call Membranes

Other ingredients are included to promote cell function and durability. Research has shown that this form of dietary management improved the learning ability of older dogs by 58%.

 

 

 

How do I know if the behavior is medical rather than Canine “ senility”?

Geriatric pets increasing number of medical and degenerative problems that can look like canine senility - EG a kidney problem is present, can present as incontinence, or urinating inside the house. Diseases of the endocrine organs such as the thyroid gland and pituitary gland can lead to a variety of behavioral and personality changes. Arthritis and other painful conditions can make the animal irritable, or resistant to handling. A decline in hearing and sight can cause problems, such as if the animal is startled while resting or sleeping.

An increase or decrease in appetite and thirst are also signs to look out for. Blood and urine tests are carried out to check for underlying medical problems.

Other Brain diseases can mimic CCD

 

Changes in a pet's behavior typically include:

Clinical Signs are multi factorial
Numerous behavioral changes may occur with CDS and can be divided into categories:
1) Spatial disorientation/confusion may be manifested as wandering, staring, or moving to unusual places. or  
confusion/disorientation such as staring into space or getting lost in corners;
2) Altered learning and memory may cause house soiling and lack of response to previously learned commands. In working dogs, a decline in performance may be noted. Loss of learnt behaviors such as toilet training
3) Alterations in activity may occur, such as increased purposeless or repetitive activity. Conversely a decline in activity may be noted.
4) Altered social relationships, with decreased or altered interactions or responsiveness to family members may occur.
5) Altered sleep-wake cycles, such as nighttime waking or increased anxiety, irritability or restlessness can be a problem.
6) Decreased perception of or responsiveness to stimuli may lead to decreased interest in eating, walking, playing.

7) compulsive behaviors such as vocalization for no apparent reason;

Can CCD be treated?   Yes our aim is to improve the quality of life of the patient!  it all comes down to quality of life.  If we as vets and compliant  owners can work together to do something that  improves it’s quality, then in my opinion it’s worthwhile.  If your dog is experiencing any of the symptoms discussed here, please have a chat with your vet about the options available to you

Treatment involves directly addressing the patient holistically ie : physical as well as behavioral causes and  strategies that involve environmental  as well as a behavior modification program. Old age problems can often be successfully managed but not cured. 

Providing a diet fortified with antioxidants, see b/d below

Selegiline (Anipryl) may be tried at 0.5-1.0 mg/kg PO q 24 hrs. Morning administration is recommended, particularly in dogs with sleep-wake cycle disturbances.

  • Selegiline is an irreversible inhibitor of the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO), specifically the B type. In the brain, MAO plays a role in the break down of catecholamines (i.e.. dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine) and serotonin. Other possible pharmacological effects of selegiline include increased synthesis of dopamine and decreased re-uptake of dopamine from the synapse.22
  • L-amphetamine and L-metamphetamine are metabolites of selegiline that may contribute to the pharmacological effects of the drug.
  • Avoid concurrent treatment with MAO inhibitors, such as amitraz, meperidine or other opioids, tricyclic or other antidepressants, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
  • Clinical efficacy studies supporting selegiline use in CDS were based primarily on owner response to questionnaires, rather than on standardized comparative cognitive testing procedures of treated and untreated patients. Since selegiline may produce nonspecific, low-level hyperactivity by increasing brain catecholamine levels, the "response" observed by owners may not truly be representative of improved cognitive ability.3
  • Response to therapy may be noted within a few days, although typically most owners report improvements within the first 2 weeks of therapy. At one month the response rate was reported to be 77%

DIazepam - Valium also used to treat canine cognitive dysfunction.

Drugs that increase cerebral perfusion may have some benefit in CDS.
a) Propentofylline () is licensed for use in some European countries for treating dullness and lethargy in old dogs.25 This drug improves blood flow to the brain via vasodilation and reducing blood viscosity.26

CCD can be treated and the options include medications, dietary changes, behavior modification and changes to the pet's environment.

Medications are available from your veterinarian for treatment of some forms of cognitive dysfunction in dogs. These drugs help to normalize neurotransmitter levels, increase blood supply and protect against nerve cell deterioration. If you recognize any of the above problems in your dog, it is worth trying treatment as many dogs show marked improvement and become more attentive, playful and interactive.

Sometimes drug therapy needs to be combined with behavioral treatment,

Use it or lose it' - provide a rich environment designed to stimulate its brain using toys, simple brain challenges and brain games involving simple training routines (e.g. sit, drop, fetch) are ideal because many older dogs are chronically bored.

A new diet hills b/d - a brain aging diet,  has recently been released on the market specifically for CCD. This diet contains increased levels of antioxidants to reduce the free radicals produced in aging brains. The antioxidants in this diet include Vitamins E and C. A special mix of fruit and vegetables are also added to give increased levels of the antioxidants known as carotenoids and flavenoids. Other ingredients are included to promote cell function and durability. Research has shown that this form of dietary management improved the learning ability of older dogs by 58%.

canine cognative dysfunction diet

Based on the talk 

Age-Related Behavioral Changes in Dogs and Cats with Dr. Gary Landsberg DVM Dipl ACVB