Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, or canine Alzheimer’s, occurs in more than half of dogs that reach older ages
Dogs age at a faster rate than we do, so we are doomed to witness the ravages of the passing of the years in their body. And also in his mind. To the well-known osteoarthritis, the renal, vision or hearing problems that characterize those dogs that reach old ages are frequently added. This is about fifteen years in large dogs and up to twenty years in small dogs.
Anyway, it is considered that from the age of eight the dogs begin to feel symptoms of aging and therefore enter a third age that can in some cases become long and dilated. Some dogs live all their lives with enviable health, especially in the mental plane, but it is not normal; According to a 2011 study by the Ibero-American University of Science and Technology, based in Santiago, Chile, about 61% of dogs over fifteen years of age experience the so-called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, which is commonly known as canine Alzheimer.
What symptoms does a dog with canine Alzheimer’s show?
The symptoms can be very varied and in essence would not vary from what we could see in an elderly person with senile dementia or Alzheimer’s. Now, you have to know how to identify them in the dog because in the case of suffering from the disorder, our friend will require special treatment that makes his situation bearable. And being aware of it to us will also help us to be patient with him.
The following are the eight main symptoms that can make us suspect that our dog suffers from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome or Alzheimer’s:
- He spends much more time sleeping: it is normal for the dog with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome to feel more tired, or at least stressed by a world that stops understanding with his senses, so he prefers to take refuge in isolation and sleep. He sleeps more than he used to, although his dream is lighter.
- It has a slight limp and difficulty climbing stairs: there may be a slight limp that is not due to osteoarthritis but to neurological failures at the level of the spine. The diagnosis should be given by a veterinarian, but as a clue, we will see that lameness is not related to pain by stretching the limbs very gently.
- He is more sullen with other dogs: if he was a sociable dog or at least he was curious to smell the back of his fellow neighbors in the park and suddenly shows no interest and systematically growls or barks at those who come to greet him, he could be suffering Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
- It has less interaction with humans: it is also a symptom that stops being interested in liking humans and seducing them to caress the back and back. For example, he is indifferent when someone comes home or is even less receptive to who we are his family.
- It makes scratches on the walls: if we see that it scratches the walls of the rooms where it is accustomed to always be without problem, it can be an unequivocal sign of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome and that it has become disoriented and scared. Disorientation is one of the most acute and dangerous symptoms of this disease.
- Needs are made at home: it does not always happen, but a change in habits in this regard, such as defecating at home or urinating without a lot of time between exits, may be due to canine Alzheimer. However, renal problems should not be ruled out.
- He doesn’t answer our call: he may stop recognizing us momentarily, getting disoriented or stop hearing us about the disease.
- It has a tendency to get lost: in the same way, it may tend to move away from us because of all the factors together. This is that it disorients, hears and sees badly and does not recognize us by a temporary or chronic alienation. If you get into the habit of leaving alone and moving away more than you normally did without knowing how to return, we must suspect.
In these cases, which, in good part, like all aging, are the law of life, there is no specific medication that can reverse the process. Therefore we must adapt to the new conditions in the best possible way and always trying to facilitate the life of our friend. For now we will provide a quiet and hot place, away from noise, where she or he can rest.
We will look for an adequate diet that does not cause you to be overweight and we will always take you for a walk at very regular times, so that you do not get confused and get used to identifying the routines. The walks are very important to keep your brain as oxygenated as possible and your heart in good working order. But they will not be very long or at a great pace. We will adapt in time and step to what she or he demands of us, and we will try to pass or always be in the same places to give references to those who are welcome.