Dog Disoriented – Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

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 Dog Disoriented – Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

 Dog Disoriented - Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
Dog Disoriented – Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is the age-related deterioration of cognitive abilities (normal body functioning that is conditioned or remembered).

It is characterized by behavioral changes in your dog that cannot be attributed to general medical conditions such as brain tumors, infection, or organ failure.

Recent studies show that almost half of our dogs 8 years of age and older exhibit at least one clinical sign of this condition.

Cognitive dysfunction is not �normal aging�. It is related to several pathological changes that may occur in the brain.

The progressive, degenerative course of CDS involves a gradual decline of functions that are normally �remembered�. This decline produces a functional disability in the home and/or failure to interact normally as a family member.

Diagnosis Of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome:

Recognition of the clinical signs by the owner is usually the first step in diagnosis.

Next, the veterinarian must do a comprehensive physical exam and the appropriate laboratory testing to identify medical conditions that may be contributing to the clinical signs.

Specific laboratory testing procedures needed will vary depending on your dog’s individual situation and symptoms.

Laboratory testing may include a routine blood screen and urinalysis (chemical and physical examination of your dog’s urine). More specialized blood or urine tests may need to be performed if the results of the preliminary tests are abnormal.

Radiographs (x-rays) or more specialized imaging procedures, such as CAT scans or MRI, may need to be performed to rule out conditions such as arthritis, brain tumors, and other health problems.

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Signs Of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome:

Your dog may exhibit one or more of the following signs:

Disorientation
  • Wanders aimlessly
  • Appears lost or confused in the house or yard
  • Gets �stuck� in corners or behind furniture
  • Stares into space or at walls
  • Has difficulty finding the door
  • Does not recognize familiar people
  • Does not respond to verbal cues or name
  • Appears to forget the reason for going outdoors
Abnormal Sleep / Wake Patterns
  • Sleeps more in a 24-hour day
  • Sleeps less during the night
  • Decrease in activity
  • Increase in wandering or pacing
Loss Of Housetraining
  • Urinates/defecates indoors
  • Signals less to go outside

Decreased or Altered Response to Family Members

  • Solicits less attention
  • No longer stands for dogging (walks away)
  • Less enthusiastic greeting
  • No longer greets owners

Treatment Options For Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome:

Although no cure is known at this time, changes in your dog’s environment can help ease some of the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction.

  • Baby gates in the house can prevent injury on stairs.
  • Using leads and fences outside of the home can also help prevent injury or prevent your dog from wandering away from home and getting lost.
  • Removing clutter in the home can help make it easier for your dog to move around easily.
  • Restricting your dog to areas easily cleaned may be an option for those dog’s experiencing house soiling problems, especially when you’re not available to supervise.
  • Taking your dog outside more frequently may also help ease house-soiling problems.
  • Remember, your dog probably has no control over his/her “accidents”, so punishment is not appropriate.
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Medical treatment may also be an option. Your dog’s veterinarian will examine your dog and advise you as to whether medical treatments, such as Anipryl, are an alternative for your dog.

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