Alzheimers in Dogs?

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Cognitive Dysfunction SyndromeJust like humans, dogs suffer from age-related issues.  Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is one such issue that affects aging pets.  Similar to Alzheimer’s disease, CDS affects a pet’s every day life.  There is no cure for CDS, but there are ways to recognize the disease and to help your pet cope.

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Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is not completely understood.  Although there is no explanation as to what causes the problem, there are insights into its cause.  In autopsies of dogs suffering from CDS one common element was present:  there was a buildup in the brain of a nerve-damaging protein. This protein, known as beta amyloid, causes a plaque-like substance that inhibits signal transmission through the brain.  The symptoms of the disease worsen with the amount of plaque that is present.

So, how does CDS affect your aging pooch?  In the beginning stages, the symptoms of the disease are confused with normal aging and start showing around ten years of age or later.  A relapse in housetraining is often the first symptom noticed, especially since it has an effect on the owner.  The dog may simply have an accident or forget that he is supposed to ask to go outdoors.  If you take him outdoors, he may seem disoriented or confused as to why he is there.  This disorientation is evident in many other instances. The dog may even seem lost in his own home or own backyard.  A dog suffering from CDS may also withdraw himself from members of the family.Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome  Instead of his usual greeting at the door or begging for attention, he may seem distant and not care about being petted. He may be easily agitated; things that didn’t bother him before may cause excessive barking.  His sleep will also be affected.  There may be more napping throughout the day and less sleeping at night.  In the place of sleeping, the dog may wander aimlessly around the home.

If you suspect that your pooch is suffering from CDS, then schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.  Make a list of his unusual behaviors to help your vet diagnose the problem.  There is not a test that directly detects CDS.  Instead, your veterinarian will perform a number of exams, ruling out any other possible health concerns.  If CDS is diagnosed, then veterinarian will put your pooch on a treatment plan.  Realize that CDS cannot be cured, but there are treatment methods that can improve your pet’s health.  The most popular treatment is a drug known as Anipryl.  This drug has been shown to reverse many of the symptoms, leading to an improvement in behavior.  A change in diet or additional supplements may also be prescribed.

Just because your pet is getting old, does not mean that his life is over.  There are things you can do around your home to help your dog cope with CDS.  Since disorientation is common, try not to rearrange the furniture in your home.  Provide multiple, comfortable resting spots throughout the house for your pooch.  Raise his food and water bowls off the ground, so he can access them more easily.  If he is allowed onto the couch, then consider purchasing steps oCognitive Dysfunction Syndromer a ramp to help him get to his favorite resting spot.  Continue normal activities with your dog.  Take him for daily walks, and spend time grooming and playing with him.  Don’t get angry with him for any type of accident, since he is unable to control what is going on.  If you are worried about your dog wandering throughout your home, then consider using a pet playpen or pet gates to keep him confined.  Adding a bell to his collar can also help you locate him.

As dogs grow older, CDS is becoming a fairly common age-related issue.  Like Alzheimer’s, CDS causes senile behaviors.  If you think your pooch is suffering from a dementia problem, then take him to your veterinarian.  Although CDS cannot be cured, the symptoms can be treated.  There are also things you can do around your home to help make your dog’s life a little more comfortable.

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12 thoughts on “Alzheimers in Dogs?

  1. Margaret Pollard

    Greetings! My dog has CDC and his doctor and I decided to try natural remedies. 🙂 I give him Milk Thistle, Ginkgo Biloba, MSM, Acetyl L-Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid…they work! Suede, my chocolate lab, used to get up in the middle of the night and get caught under a table and not know how to get back out from under it. He would also start barking in the middle of the night and not quit for hours. He would try to get on my bed which he had never done before. When I started giving him the supplements I also decided to put my bed on the floor so he could get in it if he wanted. He has quit the excessive barking at night…he doesn’t get caught under furniture or in corners anymore…he sleeps pretty well through the night after making one visit during the night. I’m thankful to Suede’s doctor and info on the internet that I studied…please discuss what you learn with your animal’s doctor before trying any new treatments. I’m just very pleased with how well Suede has done with the above mentioned supplements. If you would like to know the amounts I gave and how often I will supply that info upon request. Thanks for all of your informative articles. Keep up the good work. Margaret

  2. Margaret Pollard

    One other thing that should be noted is that it took about 6 – 8 weeks to see results.

  3. Martha

    I had tried supplementing my mom’s dog with the above supplements plus selenium for canine CD , but I was unsure of the correct dosages, could you please supply me with the amounts you found successful and how often; don’t you think an antioxidant would also be helpful?
    I am a true believer in milk thistle because my dog collapsed with liver failure, after investigation they found he had a liver shunt which was not allowing his bloods to detoxify. Although I spoke to my vet about the alternative treatment he knew nothing about natural supplements so I did some research and decided to put my dog on the milk thistle 175mg, l’arginine 500mg, l’carnitine 100mg, alpha lipoic acid 125mg, ground flax seed(ground in coffee bean grinder) 1t, lecithin granules 1t.
    The change was noticable almost straight away and was documented by the results of ea. bile fasting test. His liver function is now almost completely normal and you could also see that his cholesterol dropped with ea. test result.
    He was brought back from the edge and you find that this course is also good for people with liver problems from alcohol abuse, aids, too many presc. drugs etc.

  4. Liz Krieger

    Hi Everyone,
    I have just started doiing some research. Ihad never heard of CDC bofore, but was curious about the possibility of “Alzheimers in dogs” due to some very recent small changes in miy 10-year-old cocker spaniel. She has peed in her bed and on my couch within the past week – very unlike her. She also just recently will stand in the hallway in the evening rather than making her way to my bedroom when I am reading at night. I plan to visit the vet this week. Please recommend some things for me to try with her! Thanks so much for your help!! Liz Krieger

  5. sallie macy

    may i have the amount of milk thistle please-i have an elderly cock-a poo with the brain and now liver problems-thank you!!!!

  6. Amy

    My 15 year old Chow mix dog had been suffering with CCD symptoms for several months. Blood work indicated some liver problems, which I knew about previously. I instantly started her on milk thistle and all symptoms of CCD have stopped. I suspected the cognitive impairment may be related to the liver issues and wanted to give it a try. She has been on 1000 mg daily for approximately two weeks and I’m very pleased with the results. My veterinarian could not offer any help and I’m glad I researched it because I wasn’t getting any sleep since it started. When I came across this site I felt I really should inform others of the benefits of natural treatments. Also, CCD symptoms are common with other organ problems as well.

  7. Josh Toombs

    My dog is eleven, a half yorkie and westie, looks like a cairn terrier. He has been going blind for the past two years and seems to be getting deaf. Three months ago he started going round in circles when out for his walks, always turns to the right. In a quarter mile walk he turns round about forty five times. Has anyone else had this problem with their dog. His Vet does not have an answer.

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