What is Dementia in dogs? Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Dementia in dogs is a big issue, and there’s not much awareness of it.  In the canine world, this is a term used for Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), mostly observe in senior dogs.

According to vets and pet behaviorists, canine Dementia is often referred to as canine cognitive dysfunction. Pets who suffer from this health condition experience mental and neurological issues such as mental abilities descriptions and cognitive awareness.

What is Dementia in Dogs?

Dementia in dogs, also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) or Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), is a mental disorder in dogs. The illness can affect the canine same as Alzheimer’s in humans. Mostly senior dogs can suffer from dementia due to the aging factor in the brain of the senior dogs and leads to behavioral changes and loss of comprehension, memory, and learning. Research shows that about 62% of senior dogs between 11 to 16 years of age is suffered from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction mainly affects the front part of the brain. The front portion of the brain can control the memory and learning process. When this portion is affected, your canine will develop memory loss and may unable to recognize the owners and other family members.

If the condition is left untreated, the plaques will spread to the other parts of the brain and causes spatial disorientation that badly affects vision and hearing ability. Also, your furry friend will lose control of elimination and will starts house soiling.

The Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) also affects the overall mental health and badly affects motor functions.

Please Keep in mind that Canine Cognitive Dysfunction can be different in every dog. Some dogs will show more symptoms than others, while some will show no signs at all at the early stages.  With early care and treatment, your can protect your canine from this uncomfortable health issue.

What Causes Dementia in Dogs?

According to veterinarians, the leading cause of Dementia in Dogs is a sticky protein called beta-amyloid.

A pet can suffer from the Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome when the beta-amyloid protein gathers in the front portion of the canine brain and produces plaque.

The plaques in the brain then gather around the brain neurons, which leads to the breakdown of the nerves cells and gradually decreases the numbers of neurotransmitters.

Due to the decrease of neurotransmitters in the pet brain, the dead cells are replaced with the spinal fluid and cause pathological changes in the pet’s brain.

To better understand this health issue in pets the Dementia has been categorized into four forms.

Cognitive forms of Dementia in dogs:

To better understand and observe the illness, Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) is categorized into three forms.

Involuntary depression in dogs:

Like humans, Anxieties and Depression lead to very severe health issues. In Canine, mostly seniors can suffer from the severity of depression.

According to pet behaviorists, Anxieties and depression play a vital role in developing Dementia in your furry friend. There are many signs and symptoms of Anxieties and Depression in dogs, such as howling, growling, moving in a circle, aggression, etc.

Keep a close eye on your pet especially in the senior age and if notice any of the symptoms contact your vet to avoid further complication.

Dysthymia in dogs:

Dysthymia, also known as dystemic disorders, often involves loss of proprioception and awareness of body length and size. Dystemic dogs develop strange behaviors and often stuck themselves in the holes, corners, or behind the furniture and other objects.

In severe cases, the pets start biting when they feel uncomfortable. Research shows that Dysthymia can be caused due to hyperadrenocorticism and the use of steroids.

Hyper aggressive Dementia in dogs :

As we already discussed, the neurotransmitter serotonin can develop in Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD). Senior pets become hyper-aggressive due to the dysfunction in their neurotransmitter serotonin.

In this form of CCD, the pet gradually loses the communication ability with others pets and animals and unable to give appeasing signals to other dogs and becomes lonely.

Your Canine may start biting at this stage, and also, the anxiety and depression will be increased.

Signs and symptoms Of Dementia In Dogs:

  • Sudden change in the Behavior.
  • Turning consistently in one direction.
  • Continuously moving in the circles.
  • Staring to objects.
  • Hiding in the holes and corners.
  • Don’t follow the owner’s commands.
  • Become aggressive and uncomfortable.
  • Appearing lost or confused.
  • Loss of Energy.
  • Difficulty in vision or hearing.
  • Difficulty in recognizing owners and family members.
  • Don’t show interest in meeting other dogs or pets.

How can Dementia be Treated in Dogs?

Some pet behaviorist thinks that Dog Dementia is not currently considered reversible while some believe that proper care and treatment can bring back your canine from this illness.

The first step of the Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) treatment is the proper management of the environment, diet, medication, and Behavior.

Focus on the nutritional requirements of your canine. Chose foods rich in antioxidants will help reduce the oxidative stress on the brain; before choosing any food for your canine, contact your vet first.

You can use Antioxidant, nutritional supplements such as that will help to reduce CCD-related anxiety.

Focus on the Behavior can be effectively managed by providing time for social interaction, play, and exercise that will help aid mental and physical stimulation. 

Make sure the Exposure to sunlight. The natural benefits of the sun will help you canine by regulating sleeping schedule.

Try to focus on the toilets need also. Senior dogs, particularly in your pet’s illness, will have no control over their pee and poo that can lead to severe depression and anxiety.

Help your puppy with dogs diapers, pads, or a waterproof bed.

When it comes to medication, we always suggest vet advice because self-medication may hurt your canine. According to vets, there are certain medications available to treat CCD in dogs. An antioxidant supplement such as SAMe will work effectively in this health condition.

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