Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD-Dementia)
This, like neuropathy, is common in the aging pet and is seen in both cats and dogs. It is almost a mirror image of what is seen in people and the signs can be similar. It is a behavioral syndrome with changes such as disorientation, sleep-wake cycle disturbances, house soiling, vocalization (crying, moaning, yelping and barking) and changes in activity. There can also be changes in the interactions with their people where they have to be with one person constantly, or, in some cases, want to have minimal contact. Aggression can also be seen. Getting caught in a corner or under furniture often occurs. The vocalization is seldom a sign of pain, but is often associated with anxiety and/or disorientation. The dog is a conditioned creature and their existence is based around what they have been conditioned to do or act. When they are unable to function in their normal routines, they can become anxious. Unfortunately, there are no specific treatments. Hill’s has a prescription diet that their research indicates can be helpful. Gabapentin can be helpful to improve the night time sleep schedule. Anti-anxiety medications such as Trazodone may be used to diminish anxiety. The most important aspect is to understand what is going on. Please call to discuss.