Dementia disease or often referred to as senile dementia does not only occur in humans. Dogs can also experience this condition which is known as canine cognitive dysfunction or CCD.
Dementia in dogs or CCD is a condition that occurs due to aging of the dog’s brain, which in turn causes changes in consciousness, memory impairment, and decreased response to stimuli.
Dogs who have this disease certainly need special care so as not to endanger themselves or those around them.
Canine cognitive dysfunction symptoms
According to PetMD, clinical signs of CCD usually appear in dogs over the age of 11. For dogs over the age of 16, nearly all dogs show at least one sign of CCD.
Some of the symptoms that can be seen are:
- Experiencing confusion, anxiety, and/or irritability.
- Reduced desire to play.
- Ignoring previously learned training or house rules.
- Excessive barking
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep cycle changes.
Canine cognitive dysfunction causes
There is no definite cause for how dogs develop CCD. As the dog ages, the cells in the dog’s brain will die, which is also known as atrophy. These events have an impact on brain function. Minor strokes and other accumulated damage can also be a factor in a dog’s cognitive decline.
Experts believe some of the symptoms experienced by dogs have the same causes as humans who have the same condition.
Diagnosis of canine cognitive dysfunction
The vet will look for clinical signs experienced by dogs with CCD. Launching Dispomed, several things that veterinarians pay attention to include disorientation, interactions, sleep cycles, and changes in the dog’s activity.
Veterinarians usually have their own assessment to diagnose a dog suspected of having CCD. One of the assessments used by doctors is Canine Cognitive Rating Scale or CCDR developed by University of Sydney.
Treatment for canine cognitive dysfunction
Similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans, CCD in dogs cannot be cured. However, you can reduce the risk of CCD and improve the dog’s quality of life.
You can make your dog’s environment more comfortable with:
- Using a night light to help dogs with CCD walk in the dark.
- Give a potty to pee if you haven’t woken up or come home.
- Using an orthopedic foam bed to make it sleep more comfortable.
Prevention of dementia in dogs
Although CCD is caused by age-related brain damage, there are several ways you can prevent or at least improve your dog’s brain health. According to dr. Ken Tudor on The Well Dog Place page, the way you can do it is:
- Add an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, vitamin and fish oil supplements to dog food.
- Choose a quality dog food.
- Invite it to play and do physical activity every day.
- Create a geriatric health program with veterinarians.
Having a pet isn’t always fun. There are times when the pet is sick or has certain conditions. As responsible pet owners, it is important for us to always care for and provide the best care for them.