Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome In The Dog

Visit the Pfizer Animal Health website that explains much more about Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

This information is from Pfizer Animal Health, a world leader in animal health care development, and was printed in the September, 1998 Issue of DVM Newsmagazine.

A New Look at “Old Dog Syndrome”

Does any of this sound familiar…?

  • The senile miniature poodle that wanders the house and gets “lost” in corners…
  • The terrier that ignores his owner when his name is called– but isn’t deaf…
  • The previously well-trained schnauzer who has started having accidents in the house–right after he comes inside…
  • The cocker spaniel who gets “stuck” in corners or behind furniture…
  • The old collie who wanders aimlessly through the neighborhood…
  • These dogs are showing typical behaviors associated with a disorder called canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, or CDS. The following questions and answers will give you a brief introduction to the incidence, pathogenesis and diagnosis of CDS.

    What Is CDS ?

    Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is the age related deterioration of cognitive abilities characterized by behavioral changes in dogs that cannot be wholly attributed to general medical conditions such as neoplasia (cancer), infection or organ failure. CDS is often referred to ads “old dog syndrome” or “senility”, and is manifested by one or more of the signs listed in Table #1.
    CDS is not “normal aging”. A number of pathophysiological changes are suspected to play a role in its development. These include:
    * deposition of amyloid plaques in the cerebral cortex and hippocampal part of the brain
    * alterations in neurotransmitters, including dopamine
    * increased levels of monoamine oxidase B (MAOB) in the brain
    * increased levels of free radicals

    The progressive, degenerative course of canine CDS involves a gradual decline of cognitive abilities sufficient to produce functional disability in the home and/or as a family member.

    How Common Is CDS ?

    A 1998 market research study indicated that 48% of dogs 8 years of age and older exhibited at least one clinical sign associated with CDS. Meanwhile, in an ongoing prevalence study being conducted at the University of California at Davis, 62% of 11 to 16 year old dogs scored positively for one or more behavioral categories indicative of CDS.

    How is CDS Diagnosed ?

    The first step in diagnosing CDS is recognition of signs, frequently observed first by the pet owner. Next the veterinarian should conduct a thorough behavioral and medical history, followed by a complete physical and neurological examination. These can be supplemented, as appropriate, with diagnostic laboratory tests to identify other unrelated medical conditions that may be contributing to clinical signs.

    Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is a common, recognizable condition in senior dogs. Understanding the syndrome and the behavioral changes associated with it can help veterinarians diagnose cases of CDS and better educate pet owners to look for the signs.

    Signs of CDS

  • Disorientation
  • Wanders aimlessly
  • Appears lost of confused in the yard or house
  • Gets “stuck” in corners or behind furniture
  • Stares into space or at walls
  • Has difficulty find the door
  • Does not recognize familiar people
  • Does not respond to verbal cues or name
  • Appears to forget reason for going outdoors
  • Decreased or Altered Response to Family Members

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

  • Uninates/defecates indoors
  • Signals less to go outdoors
  • ~~~~~~~~~~

    Click on the link at the beginning of this article…
    “The Internet Animal Hospital”

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