Canine cognitive dysfunction symptoms are seen in as many as 68% of dogs over 15, but unfortunately, not many dog parents know what CCD is or what they can do about it. So, today, here at the Leesville Animal Hospital Blog, we are going to talk about just that!
As our dogs get older, the aging process can sometimes have an effect on the health of their brain. When this happens the changes that take place in the brain can cause changes in the behavior of the dog. Many people refer to this as canine dementia, and that is precisely what the symptoms of CCD resemble!
Researchers believe that a dog can be more prone to developing canine cognitive dysfunction from birth as a result of their genetic makeup, but to date, there is no cure for CCD, only symptom management. Some researchers have found, however, that supplementation with omega fatty acids from middle age and regular mental stimulation can help to promote better brain health and possibly slow the development of CCD.
When a dog does develop canine cognitive dysfunction, symptoms usually begin slowly and develop over time. While symptoms will generally progress, there are a number of things that can be done to slow the progression of CCD and manage the symptoms that it causes.
Firstly, what are the symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction?
An older dog with canine cognitive dysfunction may display any number of the following symptoms:
- Confusion about their surroundings or people around them when these things are familiar to them.
- Seeming to forget rules of the household and previous training.
- Incontinence (fecal and urinary).
- Anxiety (particularly at night).
- Fear of shadows and darkness.
- Uneasiness with sounds at night.
- Inability to settle.
It is important, of course, to rule out any other possible causes for these symptoms before beginning any type of treatment plan!
When your veterinarian has ruled out any other potential causes of your dog’s symptoms and they suspect that your dog may be suffering from canine cognitive dysfunction, they will discuss with you a few different treatment approaches.
There is no cure for CCD, but there is currently a medication on the market that has been proven to slow the progress of CCD, this is called Anipryl. It is important that you discuss with your veterinarian whether Anipryl is a good choice for your dog based on their age, health, and other unique factors to their veterinary history.
In addition to treatment with Anipryl, your vet may recommend making changes to your dog’s diet or to include omega fatty acids in your dog’s daily routine. These changes can help to boost brain health.
Lastly, your vet will discuss with you a variety of environmental changes that you can make to help to ease your dog’s CCD symptoms at home. These changes include things like providing a nightlight in your dog’s sleeping area to eliminate shadows, keeping ambient noise playing at night to reduce strange noises, increasing outside visits to reduce accidents inside the house, and walks before bed to increase tiredness.
While there is no cure for canine cognitive dysfunction, take heart in the fact that there are a number of things that can be done to help your dog to adjust and live comfortably with the new changes in their cognitive health. Between you, your dog, and your veterinarian, you will be able to create a plan to create a better life for your senior dog.
Do you have questions about canine cognitive dysfunction and your dog? Give us a call today!