Cognitive Dysfunction in Dogs and Cats

Cognitive Dysfunction in Dogs and Cats

Kitty Alzheimer's or puppy dementia - are these real things? You bet your bottom dollar. Though not the exact same as the human version, animals have a similar disorder designated as “Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.” All the times you thought Fluffy and Fido were maybe acting just a bit off, perhaps even a bit confused, could have been early indications of this disorder.

Kitty Alzheimer's or puppy dementia - are these real things? You bet your bottom dollar. Though not the exact same as the human version, animals have a similar disorder designated as “Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.” All the times you thought Fluffy and Fido were maybe acting just a bit off, perhaps even a bit confused, could have been early indications of this disorder.

According to a study done a few years ago, by the age of 11 approximately 50 percent of pets have started to show signs of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. By the time your pet hits 15, that number goes up to 68 percent. This means that most senior animals are struggling with some semblance of cognitive distress. Some pets begin to show signs of mental decline beginning at middle age and, for whatever reason, it seems to have become more prevalent.

Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome include:

Increased amount of sleep during a 24-hour period
Apathy
Lack of interest in activity
Forgetfulness
Inability to remember simple tasks previously learned
Increased anxiety through the day, notable discomfort
Staring into space with a blank look
Pacing
Unusual or unwarranted barking
Trouble recognizing familiar environments and/or people
General confusion
All of the above listed symptoms can be part of other conditions, and do not in themselves diagnose a pet with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. A variety of tests are often run to rule out other possible diseases. For instance, animals with incontinence as they age could fall into this category, as well as those with seizures. In these cases, the underlying condition is the cause rather than the actual diagnosis.

A Healthy Body Promotes a Healthy Mind

What can you do about Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome? To start, keeping your pet mentally stimulated is imperative. Much like humans, the brain is similar to a muscle—if you don’t use it, you begin to lose it. Mental exercises will keep your pet sharp and entertained while also strengthening your bond. In addition to mental stimulation, a healthy and appropriate diet, along with regular physical exercise, maintains a sound mental state.

If you think your pet may be suffering from a form of kitty Alzheimer's or doggy dementia, definitely pay a visit to your local veterinarian to rule out any other potential causes first. Once that has been done, do your best to keep your pet active, both physically and mentally. Doing this will pay off in the long run and can keep you both happy!

If you'd love to learn more about the best nutrition for your pet, or new ways to engage and stimulate your pet, stop in or give The Pet Beastro a call at 248-548-3448.

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