Older dogs can sometimes develop a condition known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) where physical and chemical changes take place in the brain, which lead to cognitive and behavioral changes in your companion. In this article, you will learn more about what CDS in dogs is, how it presents, and what you can do about it.
According to WebMD, 50% of dogs over the age of 10 will display one or more symptoms of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. It is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans; dogs with CDS possess symptoms associated with learned behavior, recognition, thinking, and memory. These symptoms are a result of physical and chemical changes in the brain, according to the website Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in Dogs. In addition, like Alzheimer’s disease in people, CDS in dogs is a progressive condition.
This condition may present in several ways in dogs who suffer with it. For instance, dogs who are confused or disoriented may not be able to find the door (they may go to a wrong door or to the hinge-side of the door, according to WebMD), seem lost in the yard or the home, get stuck behind or under furniture, may become stuck in corners, may forget they’ve just eaten and want to eat over and over again, may not respond to his or her name, and may not recognize familiar humans. Canines affected by CDS may stare blankly at the wall, exhibit aimless wandering, and less purposeful behaviors as well.
Sleep patterns are another thing that changes with CDS in dogs. Dogs with this condition sleep more, but sleep less during night hours. Dogs with this condition may also walk in circles or pace compulsively. Tremors, weakness, and stiffness are other symptoms that may present in CDS.
Dogs with CDS may also seek less attention from their human companions, walk away while being petted, may no longer greet his or her owner, and may show less excitement when being greeted by his or her owner. On the contrary, some dogs with CDS appear to need more affection; wanting to be around his or her human all the time. Some canines affected with this disease may exhibit separation anxiety or become aggressive.
Learned behaviors, such as housetraining are also affected by CDS in dogs. A dog suffering with this condition may not signal as often to go outside or may defecate or urinate inside the home. They may also forget how to go up or down the stairs, according to Holistic Vet Pet Care.
Similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, the cause of CDS in dogs is not completely known. However, just as in Alzheimer’s the brains of dogs examined during autopsies have shown a build of beta amyloid, which is a protein that damages the nerves in the brain. As dogs grow older, beta amyloid naturally accumulates in the brain. When this happens, it begins to become waxy and form plaque, which inhibits the brain from sending impulses, according to Bella Online. In addition, the brains of dogs who have CDS possess less oxygen than the brains of canines without the disease. Changes in dopamine, serotonin, and norepinepherine have also been associated with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.
Symptoms of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in dogs may also be caused by many other medical conditions, such as pain, anemia, urinary tract problems, cancer, diabetes, hearing loss, vision loss, and other conditions. Thus, when you take your dog to a veterinarian for a diagnosis, he or she will ask you for a detailed history of your canine’s behavior. The veterinarian will also conduct a physical examination, routine blood tests, get x-rays, and conduct a neuro examination on your companion in order to rule out other possible medical causes for the symptoms your dog is exhibiting.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. However, there are treatments that may help your dog. According to WebMD, the medication Anipryl (selegilline), which is utilized to treat Parkinson’s disease in humans, improves the quality of life and the symptoms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in dogs who suffer with it. Anipryl is the only medication that has been approved by the FDA to treat CDS in canines. According to the website CDS in dogs, studies find that pet owners report improvement in at least one symptom in 69-75% of dogs with CDS when being treated with Anipryl.
WebMD also suggests there may be benefits to feeding dogs with this condition Hill’s prescription b/d food, which contains a lot of antioxidants. In addition, environmental changes may help improve the quality of the lives of canines with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. For instance, you may want to put baby gates in front of staircases in order to prevent your dog from falling down them and injuring himself or herself. You might also want to confine your dog to areas that have tile floors if he or she is urinating or defactating inside the home. However, it is important to continue to give your dog a lot of love and affection and not to socially isolate him or her.
If you suspect that your furry friend is suffering from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, please take him or her to your veterinarian in order to rule out other causes of your dog’s symptoms. If your vet determines that your dog is suffering from CDS, he or she can give your dog medication and make suggestions to you on how to improve the quality of your furry friend’s life.
CDS in Dogs: Could Your Dog Have CDS:
CDS in Dogs: What is CDS:
WebMD: Healthy Dogs: Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in Dogs:
Holistic Vet Pet Care: Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome in Dogs or Dog Alzheimer’s:
Bella Online: Doggy Alzheimer’s Disease:
Suite 101: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome:
CDS in Dogs: How Can You Help:
Swift Water Frame: Elder Care Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS): Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome: