Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating, and progressive, health complication that we typically associate with older adults. In dogs, however, there can be a debilitation from Parkinson’s disease as the condition is related to a change in dopamine levels which, ultimately, can affect canines as well. If you are caring for an older dog, it is important to become familiar with the variety of aging health issues that may arise in your family pet, including the complications associated with these types of neuromuscular disorders.
Parkinson’s disease is often difficult to diagnose in a dog but not because there are limitations to veterinarian testing. Instead, the condition is difficult to treat because many dogs are simply not diagnosed early and, when symptoms develop and progress, it is often too late to offer services to a dog that may have benefited from early intervention. It is for this reason that dog owners should become familiar with Parkinson’s disease signs in dogs so as to ensure early treatment is provided.
The signs of Parkinson’s disease in dogs are typically the same as that found in humans – fatigue, lethargy, changes in mental alertness, and the development of tremors. Often, the first sign of complications that a down owner will even notice is the development of tremors but usually the fatigue has already developed as well.
When you begin to notice that your dog has the potential signs of Parkinson’s disease, it is important to seek out veterinarian consultation and testing. Once confirmed as suffering from the condition, there are limitations to what your veterinarian can offer to your dog in terms of treatment. In most cases, the best form of care to provide for a dog with Parkinson’s disease includes a restrictive diet, a boost in exercise, and the use of medications to help control tremors. Typically, dogs that are diagnosed late with this condition often do not live much longer and usually pass away during their sleep.
If you are caring for an older dog, it is recommended that you seek out regular veterinarian treatment and consultation. Because dogs have many similar conditions to aging humans, we can often identify possible risks in our dogs even when we are not familiar with the treatment that should be provided. If your notice that your dog is showing signs of Parkinson’s disease, then seek out treatment and work to mitigate the complications so as to prolong your dog’s life as long as possible.
Sources: Complete Care for Your Aging Dog, by Amy Shojai