Ca­nine cog­ni­tive dys­func­tion

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - VET CORNER | FEATURE STORY - with Dr Annette Kelle­her

AS dogs age, some may de­velop signs sim­i­lar to a per­son with Alzheimer’s disease or de­men­tia. Symp­toms may in­clude: Wan­der­ing and/or pac­ing. Gen­eral con­fu­sion or dis­ori­en­ta­tion. Rest­less­ness, sleep­less­ness at night or bark­ing for no rea­son. Get­ting “stuck” in cor­ners or small spa­ces. Act­ing “dazed” or star­ing off into space. Seem­ing to be lost in fa­mil­iar places. Go­ing to the wrong side of fa­mil­iar doors. Be­com­ing with­drawn; in­ter­act­ing less with fa­mil­iar peo­ple and other pets. For­get­ting house­train­ing; hav­ing “ac­ci­dents” in ar­eas where they never did be­fore. Less en­thu­si­as­tic about games, toys or foods that used to cre­ate ex­cite­ment. Change in per­son­al­ity and tem­per­a­ment, such as un­char­ac­ter­is­tic ag­gres­sion for no rea­son. Not re­spond­ing well to their name or to com­mands they once knew. Any other be­hav­iours that are un­usual for your dog. Th­ese signs of­ten de­velop grad­u­ally and get worse over time. They may also be worse at night and seem to im­prove dur­ing the day. This is a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion with peo­ple and is partly due to the tired brain not able to func­tion as well as it used to. Of course, not all dogs with de­men­tia will dis­play the same signs. If you no­tice any of th­ese symp­toms in your dog, be sure to see your vet­eri­nar­ian as there could be other med­i­cal rea­sons for some of th­ese symp­toms. There are some med­i­ca­tions and se­nior dog pre­scrip­tion foods that can help re­duce the symp­toms of de­men­tia in dogs. The med­i­ca­tions can act by improving circulation of blood to the brain and can help to in­crease oxy­gen sup­ply. Med­i­ca­tions in­clude Vivi­tonin which is specif­i­cally for aged dogs and some hu­man de­men­tia prod­ucts have also been found to be help­ful in some dogs. The foods have high lev­els of omega 3 fatty acids, this helps to pro­tect the brain from free rad­i­cal dam­age and also helps with in­flam­ma­tion. If you think your old mate might be show­ing some of th­ese symp­toms, have a chat to your vet who might be able help.

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