Today we are going to be exploring Alzheimer’s in dogs.
Some dogs do develop a sort of Alzheimer’s disease as they get older. It is 28% for 11 and 12 year old dogs, and at least 60% in 15 to 16 year old dogs. The veterinary term for it is canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). The symptoms can include failure to recognize familiar locations or people, wandering or pacing, restlessness at night, and loss of housebreaking.
Because there aren’t any practical ways to test a dog’s thinking ability, CCD is diagnosed by ruling out physical explanations for the symptoms, such as failing eyesight, or blindness, a urinary tract infection, or pain that causes the dog to feel irritable and distracted.
The drug Anipryl reduces the symptoms of CCD in some dogs. Other dogs are either not helped by Anipryl or show an increase in symptoms such as restlessness and trembling. Anipryl should not be given to a dog who is taking either phenylpropanolamine (for urinary incontinence) or an antidepressant because the combination of drugs can produce extreme restlessness and agitation.
A dog taking Anipryl should not use a Preventic collar or other products that contain amitraz.
Melatonin is a natural supplement that’s often recommended for dogs who display sleeplessness, restlessness, or agitation at night, but it shouldn’t be used in diabetic dogs.
There’s also a prescription dog food designed to fight aging changes in the brain. Hill’s Prescription Diet Canine b/d contains antioxidants, brain-specific fatty acids, and other nutrients to help slow the breakdown of brain cells.
A research study showed that normal dogs fed b/d were able to learn new tasks more quickly than dogs fed a regular diet.
One of the best thing you can do for your dog is to give them mental stimulation. Play, light exercise, and training is just as important as it is for a puppy. Puzzle toys and food toys are also helpful.
Try to avoid changing your schedule. Anxious dogs thrive on routine. Anxiety can also be treated with keeping your a dog in a familiar surrounding and a familiar routine.
In conclusion, while CCD is not curable, you can alleviate the symptoms by taking the steps outlined above.
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Complete Healthy dog handbook by Betsy Brevitz, D.V.M.