Canine Coginitive Dysfunction, also known as CCD, is an age related degenerative process of the brain, similar to Alzheimer’s humans. The check list below list some of the more common signs seen with this syndrome. Remember, the first step in establishing a diagnosis of CCD is a trip to the vet as the symptoms can mimic the signs of other diseases that may require immediate treatment. One study at UC Davis found that out of 69 dogs participating, 32% of the 11-year old dogs were affected by this syndrome and 100% of the dogs 16 years of age older were affected
Symptoms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction can include:
- -dogs may appear lost or confused
- -changes in relationships with family members and even difficulty recognizing owners
- -pacing, restlessness, walking aimlessly, especially at night
- -decreased interest in activities
- -sleeping more during the day and less at night
- -housesoiling in previously housetrained dog
- -not coming when called, not following previously established house rules
The exact cause of CCD is unknown, but it is thought that the body’s normal degenerative and age-related changes contribute to the dysfunction. These changes include central nervous system deterioration, oxidative stress, accumulation of free radicals, and cell death. This is a progressive disease so symptoms tend to get worse over time. Treatment is aimed at slowing the progression of disease and lifelong therapy required. The disease cannot be cured, but the condition can often be improved with early intervention.
Training activities for the brain that promote brain stimulation such as kong toys, fetch, hide-and-seek treat games. Swimming, walks, and other outdoor activitiescan boost serotonin activity which can help with anxiety. Remember, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks and training activities can promote brain stimulation and help maintain cognitive abilities. If your pets vision is still good, teaching hand signals can help you and your pet cope if hearing loss should develop. Food storage and puzzle type toys can be used for feedings. Alterations to the pet’s environment can make it easier for the dog to get around, for example improving footing with carpet runners. In some cases, the dog may need to be taken outside more often and supervised to prevent bathroom accidents.
CereTrix is an oral supplement containing Ginkgo Biloba and L-Theanine in addition to several antioxidants. This combination of treatments can help dogs lacking mental energy, cognitive speed and focus.Melatonin supplements, such as melavet, given in the evenings can help reset the circadian rhythm to a proper sleep:wake cycle. If you would like more information or would like to discuss if these types of supplements may be the right choice for your senior pet, please call our office at (408)263-3990.