Dogs in their twilight years present a true diagnostic challenge. Not only
are senior dogs more likely to develop health problems, but they are
inclined to develop multiple health problems and greater variability in
their responses to stress, drugs and environmental factors. A very fine line
exists between "normal" and "abnormal" for a particular
age of dog.
In general the definition of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
(CDS) is geriatric onset behavioral changes (usually gradual) which are not
entirely attributable to (other) general medical conditions. Historically,
geriatric behavior problems have fallen into diagnostic categories similar
to those in younger dogs. Based on two studies, those include: separation
anxiety; breakdown of housetraining; aggression toward dogs; aggression
toward people or dogs; excessive vocalization; phobia; and, night time
waking where often no motivation is noted.
Let's go now to the most
important part of the history - ensuring that the pet does
have the clinical signs consistent with CDS.
Very seldom will a dog have an observable CDS problem during a visit to the
veterinary hospital. Veterinarians must know all of the details about:
- what the problem is;
- when it started;
- its trend; and,
- any secondary problems.
To get this depth of
information goes beyond simply asking how the dog is doing. You, as
Owners, need to be tell your vet about behavioral problems that have
arisen and/or need changing. Without your help, the signs of CDS may
be passed over because you mistakenly assume behavioral changes
associated with CDS are "normal aging," and not signs of a
disease or condition. The history is seldom volunteered in an
appointment. As owners, you need to carefully record what clinical
signs are present and this is done best by questionnaire. This
questionnaire is available at Senior
Dog Behavior History Form.
Please print this form out, keep your records on it and give it to
your vet when you visit next.
An addition you may want to make is to rate each occurence of the
abnormal behavior as 1 thru 10, with 1 being the very mild and 10
being very severe. Write this on the form and explain it to your vet.
The Senior Dog
Behavior History Form categorizes clinical signs into:
aimlessly, going to wrong side of doors; appearing to forget
previously learned tasks getting "stuck" in corners and
often sleep more during the day, and much more deeply; they often are
awake at times they "should" be sleeping, e.g. during the
night. They may act restless and pace or wander inappropriately -
hence we often state that they have an increase in purposeless
activity, and a decrease in purposeful activity);
elimination in dogs previously well housetrained, or increased
accidents in dogs that had occasional ones. These dogs are often
disoriented and will, for example, signal to go outdoors, stand in the
yard for a while and re-enter the house to urinate, often right in
front of the owners); and,
with family members (walking
away from being petted, greeting owners less (or not at all) at the
door; no longer initiating play or petting).
Under each subheading it lists typical examples (not exhaustive
however) of each category, about which you can document behavior
changes over time.
Let's review those
signs one more time. Let's start with
Disorientation: This would include getting lost in
places where your pet should be familiar, wandering aimlessly, not
being able to find entry/exit doors and staring into space.
Activity and Sleep: It's not necessarily that these dogs
are less active remember that the CHARACTER of the
activity itself may be changed, i.e. increased pacing or wandering
purposeless activity and sleep is increased, often very DEEP,
and often at times the dog was previously awake. So you may think that
your dog is MORE active than in the past (for example: my dog is now
sleeping 21 hours a day, and pacing the other 3).
Housetraining: these dogs may soil the home but may also
signal, go out and not eliminate, fail to signal or go out, not
eliminate and then come in and eliminate indoors.
Change in Family Interactions: Dog social behavior
changes. They tend to walk away while being petted, and generally
initiate petting and play less (or none at all). Greeting behavior is
decreased or gone. If you think about it these are qualities that
people value in their dogs as members of the family.
Hearing Loss vs. the
Signs of CDS
occurring hearing loss (that is, changes we expect to see as our dog,
AND OURSELVES, for that matter, gets older) is gradual and dog's
usually compensate in their actions and response to stimuli. With CDS
the hearing loss can be present but there are elements of confusion,
so that perhaps if you clap your hands to wake your dog, s/he may
alert to the sound if s/he hears a little. If s/he does have CDS, s/he
will be confused and not respond appropriately.
They can be divided into
behavioral and medical.
Another way of thinking of these is to consider primary behavior
problems, and those secondary to medical problems which may mimic
signs of CDS.
Your vet needs to rule out medical conditions. The physical
examination and neurological examination would be a key here as with
any diagnostic dilemma, since your vet would see changes in the neuro
exam similar to most neurological diseases. Remember that for the most
part CDS is a "diagnosis of exclusion" - it cannot be
confirmed in our patients until after death, so it is important to
determine other possible causes.
Medical diseases that are similar to cognitive dysfunction include:
- Any Central Nervous
System disease, such as a tumor;
- Any disease that
indirectly affects the Central Nervous System, such as end stage organ
dysfunction like renal (kidney) or hepatic (liver) disease;
- Endocrine disorders,
such as diabetes
- Conditions that affect
circulation or blood supply (especially to the brain). Therefore
anemia, hypertension cardiac disease, respiratory disease (and their
causes) must be examined;
- Painful conditions can
affect the pet's response to stimuli or increase irritability and
- Deafness - and
blindness - technically fall into the "secondary" behavioral
problem category. Dogs with sensory impairment though -- if they do
not have CDS -- are very good at compensating for the impairment. Deaf
dogs learn to recognize other signals; blind dogs find their way
around fine, and learn (for example) by bumping into things, if it's
gradual onset impairment. Often in real life, of course, we see dogs
with both sensory failing and CDS.
- Any condition that
affects the pet's mobility (arthritis, degenerative joint disease,
etc.), or the pet's senses could also directly or indirectly affect
- If we are dealing with
house soiling we have all of the rule outs from a medical standpoint,
for polyuria, incontinence, increased frequency, etc. (such as urinary
tract infection, kidnet disease, etc.).
In fact between the
neuro exam, the physical exam, the acute onset, and laboratory tests
(Blood Chemistry, Complete Blood Count and Urinalysis, as a minimum),
it should be possible to rule out cognitive dysfunction in many cases.
With a slower onset, a progressive condition and no laboratory tests
or physical findings on exam that would indicate a medical problem
that might contribute to the clinical signs (behavioral), then your
vet could consider CDS a diagnosis.
Stepping back to the
five "signs", is one sign enough to make diagnosis or do we
need 3 of 5, or 5 of 5?
In very general terms, this is a diagnosis based on MULTIPLE signs
that could be within one category or in more than one. If a dog is
showing just one (say, inappropriate elimination ) CDS should
certainly be part of the possibilities (in an old dog with a problem
that's gradual in onset ) but CDS is typically a syndrome with
In general it is unlikely that, with a good behavioral history, you'd
find aggression to be the sole sign of CDS. To answer more vaguely :)
aggression is a very broad, very nonspecific sign, of anything from
metabolic disease to osteoarthritis to intensified dominance
aggression due to impaired vision and hearing. But
aggression/irritability can occur (and does) as part of this syndrome
in some dogs.
Also, we can have concurrent medical problems AND
In addition, there are other behavioral considerations.
Primary behavior problems in dogs -- those not secondary to a medical
condition -- may be either new or chronic. If an old dog exhibits
behavior changes in one category (for example inappropriate
elimination) but lacks any other signs of CDS, it is important to
consider non-CDS related problems in your vet's behavioral
differential. Some important primary behavior differentials include:
- Separation anxiety;
- Separation anxiety with
destruction of property;
- Fear biting;
- Environmental phobia
housetraining (or breakdown of housetraining);
- Urine marking; and,
- Aggression of assorted
varieties (dominance, fear, territorial). It must be determined
whether or not these dogs are chronically predisposed to
aggressiveness. Aggression is not particularly pathognomonic for CDS
A point about separation anxiety since it may come up quite frequently
as a possible diagnosis. In old dogs as in young, separation anxiety
(without CDS) is classically a problem that occurs in the absence of
owners and shortly after they depart (not 6 hours later) in direct
response to departure, and at exit points (doors ) Most important,
signs of disorientation are absent. As you look at at the clinical
categories of CDS you may notice that all 4 categories involve
disorientation to some degree (even inappropriate elimination in which
dogs eliminate at their owners' feet).
Your vet will also
consider drug side effects when looking at symptoms and responses to
therapy when diagnosing CDS.
S/he me first try therapy and wait for response if you diagnose or
suspect a medical problem. Sometimes s/he may even do drug trials
before making the CDS diagnosis. If a pet is on drugs, s/he will also
consider the side effect of those drugs. And even if a diagnosis of
CDS is made, s/he will have to remember that these are older dogs and
that other medical problems may soon develop.
In fact, other medical problems are LIKELY to develop, in
approximately 50% of older dogs. Moreover, another medical disorder
(other than CDS) is likely to occur within the same
Be aware that these signs are not necessarily those of normal aging.
Consider also that controlling the signs of CDS can significantly
improve quality of life for your dog and indirectly for the human
family (and the relationship). Supportive care of your dog for other
(concurrent) problems is also important in that you must have
realistic expectations for management of a progressive disorder.
Is it known if
primary CDS dogs have a shorter life span than other geriatric dogs,
in other words can it be considered a cause of death?
Indirectly the answer appears to be yes -- because untreated or
unresponsive CDS appears to accelerate the decision to euthanize.
Does CDS occur in
It's not known for sure but so far there have been some of the
physical changes characteristic of CDS found in cats are virtually
identical to those seen in dogs, and these cats (3 in the study) had
cognitive dysfunction type signs such as wandering and vocalizing. In
another study of older cats (about 50 cats in the study), about 60%
have been identified with at least one of the signs as seen in dogs.
Although there is no cure, your vet can help prolong the quality of
your dog's life, and preserve his/her role in the family, by
decreasing the behavioral problems resulting from the syndrome.
There are some relatively simple steps to ease your dog's clinical
signs. For example, environmental changes (in the home or yard) can
help. Examples include placing baby gates in the house to prevent
injury (stairs); also using leads and fences outdoors. Old dogs with
CDS wander away from home and appear lost. In the home removing
clutter can ease the dog's mobility. Dogs can also be restricted to
areas easily cleaned if they are inappropriately eliminating It is
important, however, not to socially isolate the dog.
We can use house soiling as an example. Even if we were to treat
control or perhaps resolve an underlying medical condition such as
diabetes, a urinary tract infection or CDS, the problem may persist.
For these dogs we may have to alter the environment, such as taking
the pet out more frequently or confinement training but behavior
modification in the form of reinforcing the appropriate behavior (with
food and praise) and supervision and interruption of any indoor
Although supervision and interruption with perhaps a leash and halter
is important if the dog begins to eliminate indoors, punishment
has no place. It causes fear, anxiety, and in these older
dogs perhaps even injury.
Your vet will send home L-Selegeline (Anipryl (R)) which has been
recently approved for use in the clinical indication of cognitive
dysfunction (CDS) in dogs.
Generally - and remember, your vet will make a decision based on
what's correct for YOUR INDIVIDUAL DOG - it's dosed at 0.5 to 1 mg/kg
per day for about a month. The dose is once daily in the mornings (the
best time to enhance cognitive function).
While most dogs seem to improve within the first couple of weeks,
there are some dogs that do not show improvement until the second
The drug has few side effects. Occasionally, some mild
gastrointestinal upset that usually resolves on its own in a few days,
and there are occasional reports of increased activity, but that's
about it. There are a few drug contraindications that your vet will
discuss with you.
Your vet may start with a tablet size (one of 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 15
mg, or 30 mg) that is at or above 0.5 mg/kg and after about a month if
there is no significant response s/he may increase to the next tablet
size if it is still within the dose range. If your dog were responding
at 0.5 mg/kg for a while and then started to deteriorate, your vet
might increase the dose for a month if your dog was not already at the
maximum recommended dose.
Generally the dogs that improve are on Anipryl for the balance of
their lives, which in many cases will be until they develop a medical
problem that leads to death or necessitates owner euthanasia. In some
cases the cognitive dysfunction will progress to a point that the
medication is no longer effective.
We hope that you will
find this information helpful in your quest for better pet care.
David E. Hammett, DVM
and the Staff of All Creatures Veterinary Clinic, PC
In spite of our best
efforts Miss Taffy went to the Rainbow Bridge on April 4, 2000. I am leaving
all the information up that I have about her illness because so many people
have seen it and written to me and have found it useful. She is always in
our hearts and we miss her terribly.
The following is part of a letter I wrote to my friends about my Lhasa Apso,
Miss Taffy. She is thought to be between 14 and 15 years old. I have had her
12 years and she has been a joy to live with for all these years but is
starting to have serious problems. The letter explains the problems and
below the letter there is a paper that my vet gave me to read that helps
explain what is wrong with her. I am putting this web page up for those of
you with older dogs who may be going through the same thing.
I wrote to
"Many of you know that Miss Taffy has been acting pretty strange for a few
months now. We have been taking her to the vet and having tests done and having
consultations with other Vets so on. Taffy is not actually sick. Her heart,
lungs, liver and kidneys are in excellent shape but she has totally lost her
mind! She has no idea who Mom and I are most of the time. She hides from us
behind the couch or under a bed or what ever is handy. We have to tag team her
to even get a hold on her to give her medicine and she bites us any time we
pick her up or even try to. She wants nothing to do with us at all. Giving her
any kind of care or grooming is major event. She is right now taking Elavil
which they often give dogs who have severe separation anxiety. She has only
been on it for a couple of days so we don't know really if it will help but we
doubt it will. She has also been taking a new drug for senility but it has not
helped and actually seemed to make things worse.
The vet gave
me a paper to read and I have scanned it and will attach it to this email just
in case any of you want to read it. The general consensus is that she has what
is called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome which is progressive and irreversible.
What it is in a nutshell is that her body is healthy and her brain is going to
pot. I didn't scan the whole paper my Vet gave me but it had pictures of dogs
brains showing how parts of them get smaller and smaller so that the dog
basically can't function in a normal way. Signs of it are "changes in the
usual sleep wake cycle, such as increased daytime sleeping and less nighttime
sleeping. Changes in interaction with the owner such as decreased greeting
behavior. Signs of disorientation, such as becoming trapped in a corner or
behind furniture or staring into space. Impairment in normal housetraining,
with loss of signaling to go outdoors and house soiling. " That is exactly
how Taffy started out but she is much worse now.
Most of you
know that when we got Taffy no one really knew her age but best guess by 2
different vets was between 2 1/2 and 3 and we have had her 12 years. It is very
distressing, depressing and many other things to know that she does not
remember those years. She doesn't remember snuggling together on the bed
sleeping in late on Sat. morning or going for car rides or any of the things
she use to love. Most of all and most hurtful of all she does not remember that
she loved us or how much we love her. Where she use to be delighted to even see
us now she runs in fear from us. I didn't quite realize how deeply upset I am
till I started to write this letter to you all. It is very difficult for me.
no idea what will happen. I pray that one of the medications will at least
relieve her fear and give her some peace. She roams the house all night long
just panting and huffing and puffing from being so stressed out. There is no
comfort that we can give her, nothing helps her, we can't even hold her. She is
so physically healthy that this could go on for a very long time."
A New Look at "Old Dog" Syndrome
In dogs as in people, the medical implications of true aging are progressive
and irreversible. Dogs reaching the final one-third of their lifespan undergo a
variety of physical and metabolic changes that may cause them discomfort and/or
change their behavior. For example, the acuity of the senses-sight, hearing,
taste and smell-are reduced. Metabolism slows, immunocompetence decreases and
tissues become dehydrated. Muscle and bone mass decline, and arthritis may
affect the joints." There is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease,
cancer and endocrine, renal and hepatic disorders.
undergoes a series of changes that result in cognitive decline. It is generally
believed-and studies have shown-that a dog's cognitive ability tends to decline
with age. Cognitive function in dogs includes spatial orientation,
housetraining, and recognizing and reacting to human family members. Cognitive
Dysfunction Syndrome 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, infection or organ failure. CDS
often is referred to by veterinarians as "old dog syndrome" or
simply, "senility" and is manifested by one or more of the following
five signs in the absence of any physical cause:
2. Decreased or altered responsiveness to family members
3. Disturbances of the sleep-wake cycle
4. Decreased activity level
5. Deterioration in housetraining
progressive, degenerative course of canine CDS involves a gradual decline of
cognitive ability sufficient to produce disfunctional ability in the home
and/or as a family member. Dog owners may feel helpless, anxious and frustrated
with the notion that the lifelong bonds they share with their canine companions
are slipping away. While owners may be willing to tolerate some age-related
behavioral problems associated with CDS, there eventually comes a time when
those problematic behaviors become intolerable and euthanasia may be
Recently specialists have quantified the types and distribution of age-related
behavior problems. An ongoing demographic study is being conducted at the
University of California at Davis, investigating the incidence of signs
associated with CDS in dogs between 11 and 16 years old. To date, a total of
139 dogs that had been patients at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
have been evaluated: all were companion dogs that had received adequate
veterinary care; the majority of males were neutered and the females spayed. It
is important to note that none had a major debilitating general medical
condition nor was undergoing drug therapy that might cause behavioral changes
such as those being studied.
screening interview, owners of the dogs were asked about the following:
in the usual sleep-wake cycle, such as increased daytime sleeping and less
2. Changes in interactions with the owner such as decreased greeting behavior
3. Signs of disorientation, such as becoming trapped in corners or behind
furniture or staring into space
4. Impairment in normal housetraining, with loss of signaling to go outdoors
and house soiling
The UC-Davis CDS prevalence study revealed three major findings:
62% of 11- to 16-year-old dogs scored positively for one or more behavioral
categories indicative of CDS. The prevalence of signs rose markedly with
advancing age. No significant differences in incidence were seen between
castrated males and spayed females within a given age group. From the data
described above, we can assume that, as the population of older dogs increases,
so will the number of CDS diagnoses made by veterinary practitioners. A 1998
market research study conducted by Pfizer Animal Health with dog owners
supports the UC-Davis prevalence study findings. A total of 255 dog owners with
dogs 8 years old and older were asked a detailed list of questions about their
48% of owners indicated their dog exhibited one or more clinical signs
associated with CDS.
12% of surveyed pet owners described their dog as "senile."
73% of the remaining owners believed their dog "could develop
81 % of dog owners who described their dog as senile indicated that their
veterinarian was aware of the condition.
If your veterinarian has determined that your dog has CDS, a treatment for this
disorder will probably be recommended. A new drug called Selegiline or L-Deprenyl,
(brand name Anipryl), although not a cure, has been shown to alleviate a some
of the symptoms of CCD. If the dog responds, he will need to be treated daily
for the rest of his life. As with all medications, there are side effects and
dogs with certain conditions should not be given Anipryl. For instance, if your
dog is on Mitaban for external parasites, Anipryl is contraindicated.
As a result of advancements in veterinary medical care, dogs are living longer.
In fact, an estimated 13.6 million pet dogs in the United States are 8 years
old or older which means a substantial number of senior canines are at risk for
developing age-related behavioral and medical disorders.
CDS is a
common, recognizable condition in senior dogs. Because older dogs are integral
to the lives of millions of families, it is important that clients understand
the difference between "normal aging" and age-associated medical and
behavioral conditions such as CDS. Finally, because the syndrome is manifested
through behavioral signs, the client plays a key role in identifying its signs
and in bringing them to their veterinarian's attention.
Dog's Mind Going to the Dogs?
A typical morning for me
consists of quickly feeding the dogs, pouring a cup of coffee in my commuter
mug, hunting frantically for my keys and rushing out the door-without the
coffee. I run back inside to collect what I forgot the first time. Now I'm not
only late, but I'm convinced I am losing my mind.
If you have an older dog, you
might notice similar "absent mindedness" as he gets older. And if
your mornings are anything like mine, perhaps you can relate to what your dog
may be going through. While your brain lapse is more likely induced by the
three extra times that the alarm clock's snooze button was hit, for a senior
dog, it's a biochemical change that occurs in his brain as he ages. For you and
me, slowing down-and waking up earlier-should resolve that forgetfulness. And
there's help for old Madeline too.
Similar to aging people,
geriatric dogs-and maybe elderly cats-can suffer from a "memory"
disorder called cognitive dysfunction syndrome, or CDS. CDS has been compared
with Alzheimer's disease in people because the changes that occur in the brain
are similar and the signs-forgetfulness, disorientation, and not recognizing
family members-are comparable.
In dogs with CDS, owners
notice that their older animal seems more disoriented and confused. "Dogs
may seem lost in their surroundings-get lost behind a couch, or stuck in a
corner, or stand at the hinge side of the door," says Dr. Jo Ann Eurell, a
veterinarian at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in
Urbana with an interest in behavior. "A senior pet may not recognize
family members, or may sleep all day and be up pacing all night. The most
notable sign is a deterioration in house training. A dog with CDS will have a
lot of accidents."
The older a dog gets, the more
likely cognitive dysfunction becomes. Because dogs, like people, are living
longer, owners have to watch for age-related medical and behavioral disorders.
"A lot of people write off signs of forgetfulness and disorientation in
pets, thinking that it's just because they are old and nothing can be
done," say Dr. Eurell. "But there is treatment available that may
help dogs with CDS."
If your veterinarian suspects
your senior canine is experiencing the effects of CDS, he will perform a
thorough examination to look for an underlying medical problem that could be
causing the behavior change. "As dogs age, their bodies undergo several
different changes," says Dr. Eurell. "Aging dogs are particularly
prone to problems with their hearing, smell, sight, and joints. They are also
at a higher risk for heart problems and metabolic conditions."
Any of these problems can
sometimes also cause signs similar to those in CDS, so a veterinarian will want
to make sure a disoriented dog is not suffering from another systemic illness,
hearing loss, or sight loss, before trying medication for CDS.
Annual exams, or bi-annual
exams, are a very important part of keeping your best friend as healthy as
possible so he can really enjoy his golden years. So the trick for owners,
advises Dr. Eurell, is to be vigilant and to let your veterinarian know of any
behavior changes, especially if your dog is entering the golden years. Don't
just dismiss senile behavior as "old age." Your veterinarian may
suggest medication that may solve the problem and have your old dog learning
new tricks in no time.
For more information and if
you suspect your senior canine may be showing signs of CDS, contact your local
small animal veterinarian.
By Carrie Gustavson
Visit the Pfizer
Animal Health website that
explains much more about Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.
information is from Pfizer Animal
Health, a world leader in animal health care
development, and was printed in the September, 1998 Issue of DVM
A New Look at
"Old Dog Syndrome"
any of this sound familiar...?
senile miniature poodle that wanders the house and gets
"lost" in corners...
terrier that ignores his owner when his name is called-- but
previously well-trained schnauzer who has started having
accidents in the house--right after he comes inside...
cocker spaniel who gets "stuck" in corners or behind
old collie who wanders aimlessly through the neighborhood...
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.
Is CDS ?
Common Is CDS ?
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.
is not "normal
aging". A number of pathophysiological changes are
suspected to play a role in its development. These
* 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
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.
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.
is CDS Diagnosed ?
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
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.
or Altered Response to Family Members
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
No longer stands for petting (walks away)
Less enthusiastic greeting
No longer greets owners
more in a 24 hour day
Sleeps less during the night
Decrease in activity
Increase in wandering or pacing
Signals less to go outdoors
Dysfunction Syndrome in Dogs (CDS)
Or Dog Alzheimer's
Dysfunction Syndrome or Doggie Alzheimer's Syndrome is a condition that appears
to be a geriatric onset of gradual behavioral changes in dogs and some cats,
which are not entirely attributable to other general medical conditions.
Research studies at the University of California at Davis who studied 139 elder
dogs found 62 percent of dogs between ages 11 and 16 have at least one major
symptom of cognitive dysfunction. I have seen and treated dogs with diagnosed
CDS as young as 8 years old.
ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CDS?
related to a cluster of symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer's patients;
disorientation and confusion, memory loss and personality changes.
addition to getting lost in their own yards, dogs with CDS may cower in the
corners of familiar rooms unable to remember how to get past the sofa and
chair. They forget the distinction between indoors and outdoors and soil the
carpets and floors. Other signs:
forget how to navigate the stairs
stop greeting their master/mistress
much time sleeping during the day
they ate and want to eat again and again
their owners awake at night pacing
their heads into corners of walls, or stare blankly at the wall
aggressive or develop separation anxiety
howl at night for no reason, go into closets and can't find their way out
the end, these animals fail to recognize their owners and friends.
ARE THE SCIENTIFIC FINDINGS OF CDS?
have found autopsies of CDS animals show brains of old dogs and some cats are
often clogged with globs of nerve-damaging beta-amyloidal plaques similar to
those found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. "The more
amyloidal plaques a dog has in his brain the more severe his cognitive
impairment was when he was alive, " says Brian Cummings, a researcher at
the Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia at UC at Irvine. Amyloidal alters
how nerve cells function so it messes up the messages sent between nerve cells,
There is an increase in MAO activity, and decrease of Dopamine levels in the
brain. These interfere with nerve impulse transmission. They have not found the
knots of dead nerve cells called neurofibrillary tangles develop in CDS brains,
that are the other brain characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
ORTHODOX TREATMENT OF CDS
used in the human treatment of Parkinson's Disease, (Pfizer's Anipryl) used in
clinical trials of CDS dogs has shown 75% reversed most of the symptoms of CDS
but 20 -25% of the dogs on Anipryl vomited and had diarrhea, and some exhibited
behavior changes. Because chemicals are more toxic to cats, the company hasn't
tested it on cats, and does not recommend it now. However the literature claims
the symptoms that disturb the owners the most (keeping them awake by constant
pacing, defecating and urinating in the house) are fairly controlled with this
drug and thus these animals are allowed to live longer, but soon succumb after
a year or two.
HOLISTIC APPROACH TO CDS
two questions I asked myself reading about CDS, were, is there a similar
pattern both in symptomatology and necropsy findings in CDS dogs seen in cases
I have treated holistically?
Was I seeing a pattern here that mimics human Alzheimer's Disease in people
that many holistic
practitioners have treated with some success? The answer was yes to both
placquing, lowered Dopamine levels and increased MAO activity in the brain with
resultant behavioral and memory deterioration are only the outward
manifestations of a CAUSE.
That cause invariably has been linked to CHRONIC ALUMINUM TOXICITY.
Elizabeth Reese, a psychiatrist in the San Francisco area, 25 years ago
published her work in the reversal of early Alzheimer's and many
psychiatrically disturbed mental patients with Chelation Therapy. She found
these patients showed very high Aluminum content in saliva and hair analysis.
Serial chelation treatments cleansed the system of this Aluminum, as shown by
decreased levels found in post treatment saliva and hair analysis. Concurrently
with the lowered Aluminum levels, symptomatology of memory loss, confusion,
paranoia, schizophrenia etc. disappeared. The majority of the orthodox medical
doctors have not followed through with this revolutionary treatment.
studies have shown me that Aluminum is omnipresent in all animals, each with
varying levels of concentrations. Aluminum has a predilection for the brain and
nervous system, thus touching every organ in the body and the immune system. I
have found it to be at the core of all pathology as well as behavioral and
memory loss. The more the concentration through time (the older victim) and
increased content in the food consumed, the more dramatic the deterioration in
health and memory.
in kidney patient dialysis using municipal water containing high amounts of
Aluminum were published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet. These
studies show Aluminum can produce premature aging and Premature Senility in
people. Is this not Alzheimer's and CDS in animals?
discussed heavy metal toxicity, symptomatology, food and water sources
contaminated with Aluminum, and treatment in my 3-part article in the research
section of my web page. I refer you to this detailed description there. The
ultimate solution is to stop burning fossil fuels which contribute to Acid rain
that chemically frees bound aluminum in clay soils to be a free agent taken up
by plants and polluting underground aquifers. Alternate energy sources such as
solar, wind, and Fuel Cell energy is the answer.
A TYPICAL CDS CASE TREATED
"Bogie" Scott: Boston Terrier, male, 8 years old. Gradually developed
signs of increased aggression to other dogs, and people. His own owner and
friends, or anyone making a sudden movement, or loud laugh or noise around the
dog would precipitate a sudden attack. He would show dilated pupils, and
growling fiercely try to bite legs, hands or anything in his view. A period of
disorientation, and unresponsiveness to owner's command, would follow. In a few
weeks, his owner was kept awake by his constant pacing in her bedroom. Then she
would find him with his head pressed into the corner of the bedroom. Later he
would stand staring blankly at the walls.
His appetite and energy level were good, and appeared in good health otherwise.
His diet had been one of a highly promoted commercial kibbled pet food
supplemented with some scraps from the table. I have found all commercial
kibbled pet foods contaminated with Aluminum and the kibbling concentrates the
Aluminum content (in some over 800 times) by virtue of its dry matter nature
over canned pet food. Also the high content of cereal content to meat protein
in these commercial diets concentrates the Aluminum further. Cereal crops and
legumes have a predilection for Aluminum, and concentrate it in their tissues.
EAV and hair analysis revealed very high Aluminum concentration in the dog's
tissues, especially brain and nervous system. The hair analysis showed 6.68 mg%
Aluminum. Dr. Eck at the ARL testing labs in Phoenix, Arizona and I
collaborated in studies of cats and dogs over 17 years. We studied the heavy
metal content in the hair of sick and "healthy" animals. We found
these animals showed a tolerable level of Aluminum to be .05 mg%. If there were
levels above .05 mg%, animals started showing symptoms of failing health,
memory and behavior.
The higher the Aluminum level, the more severe the symptomatology. Heavy metals
like Aluminum also deranges the nutritional minerals in the body with a
lowering of the calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron and sometimes potassium.
Other normal metals in the body such as copper, and zinc can be secondarily
toxic by the Aluminum's ability to concentrate these in the body. We tested the
foods and water consumed by these affected animals.
the commercial diets to be the highest source of contamination. Most municipal
waters use Aluminum hydroxide to process water and show high Aluminum content.
Aluminum feeding and water bowls should be replaced with stainless steel or
glass. Never use aluminum foil to wrap food for yourself or your animals ever!
Treatment for Bogie consisted of:
Changing his diet to home made, detoxed, food: 60% protein (raw when
possible)-beef, chicken, lamb, cottage cheese, hard cheese, cooked eggs-
organic when possible- but even organic in this country is polluted with heavy
metals; 20 % organic cooked rice, 20% raw veggies plus Virgin Olive oil,
vitamin and mineral supplementation. Drinking only bottled Spring Water.
2. Detoxification chelation of the Aluminum with my homeopathic 3-bottle Detox
Formula nosode made from the Aluminum in a serial set of increasing higher
potencies, until hair analysis revealed a dramatic lowering of the heavy metal,
and normalization of the minerals.
3. Supportive treatment of homeopathic Total Organ Support for the Male,
Geriatric, and Endocrine Balance for the Male.
4. Wearing my Healing HalterÔ to balance and strengthen the body's Chi, ( or
Life Force) and protection from environmentalnoxious energy fields, a device
built into the Halter.
week of instituting treatment, Bogie stopped his night pacing and pressing his
head into corners, of a room, or staring at the walls. His aggression and
aluminum toxicity level has decreased. Please see photo below of now lovable
"Bogie", still wearing his Healing Halter, in baby carrier sling,
ready for a long trail walk with his owner, Ms. Marlane Scott:
What is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)?
Strikingly similar to Alzheimer's Disease that affects humans,
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome affects the brain of elderly
dogs, causing confusion, forgetfulness about many lifelong habits (ie
: eating, favourite people, or housetraining habits), and normal
boundaries. A dog who may have never left the yard in her entire
life, may suddenly decide to wander off into the middle of rush
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is caused by the chemical and
physiological changes that occur in an older dog's brain. Likely
causes seem to parallel the human disease Alzheimer's as well, such
as the accumulation of B-amyloid
proteins, or the activity of monoamine
oxidase-B being increased. Both of these problems accelerate
degeneration of the brain.
What are the symptoms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome?
These are the most noticeable symptoms of Canine Cognitive
Dysfunction in dogs :
- Aimless wandering
- Confusion about a previously
familiar place (ie: gets lost in the house, can't find her
way out of a corner, seems lost in her yard)
- Years of housetraining seem undone,
as dog forgets to go outside or she forgets to let you
know she has to go
- Forgetting to eat, even forgetting
to drink in some cases
- Doesn't respond to previously
- Forgets who she met recently, be it
dog or human
- Sleeping pattern changes
- No longer seeks attention, or
wanders away when being pet
- Forgets or stops responding to her
How can I help my dog?
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved the use of a
drug called Airyl®
to help slow the process and improve the symptoms of Canine
Cognitive Dysfunction, and also approved it for treatment for
Disease in dogs. This is the trade name for veterinarians for
the drug, selegiline hydrochloride, which is used for Alzheimer's
treatment in humans.
This drug does have side effects, some of which include nausea,
diarrhea, or seizures.
With My Old Dog: For Anyone Who Has Ever
Loved and Lost a Pet
Dogs, Old Friends: Enjoying Your Older
Years: Understanding Your Dog's Aging
|Where Else To Look
Dysfunction Syndrome In The Dog
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.
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Dysfunction Syndrome. ...
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Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. General
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