Just 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.
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. 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 or 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.
And for more on how to provide natural support for age related brain dysfunction in dogs, click here.