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Alzheimer-like Disease in Pets

Older pets can suffer from Alzheimer-like disease. Named Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, CDS, it shares many of the same symptoms.

As pets age, behavior changes may be the first indication of declining health and welfare. Symptoms include disorientation, alterations in social interactions and changes in sleep-wake cycles, elimination habits, and activity levels. Pets may also show increasing levels of anxiety which may be manifested by pacing or always wanting to be with you.

Memory deficits have also been identified in both dogs and cats. Signs can be very subtle and are usually easier to recognize in performance animals such as service and hunting dogs. In addition, signs of fear, phobias, and anxiety might be components of CDS.

CDS can be difficult to diagnose in pets because many of the symptoms overlap with other medical issues. Pain from arthritis or urinary disease can alter sleep cycles, activity levels and urination behavior. Hearing or vision problems can make a pet look confused when given commands. Cats may yowl at night because of hearing loss.

What to do? The first thing is have your pet examined by Dr. Shaw. A blood profile and urinalysis performed in our in-house lab are indicated to rule out other causes. If those tests are within normal limits there are several options for pets with CDS.

Environmental enrichment such as increased social interaction, new and varied opportunities for exploration, hunt and chase games and stimulating ways to obtain food and treats can help engage your pet. Visiting one of the numerous off-lease dog parks in Bend, Oregon is a good source of stimulation.

Nutritional counseling at Westside Pet Hospital along with several diets we carry contain added nutrients to slow down the brain-aging process. Various drugs have been developed to improve cognitive function.

Proper diagnosis of CDS and proper intervention a local veterinarian can increase the quality of your pet’s later years.

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