Recognize the signs of “Dementia” – 怎樣判斷我的狗狗開始有腦退化?
There are currently no standardized signs in determining whether a dog or cat patient is beginning to suffer from brain function deterioration. However, based on past experiences from pet owners, here are some of the more common signs collated for you to use as reference (see Part 1 Canine Dementia) :
- Playing less (不再活躍)
- Barking or howling for no reason, especially at night (晚上吼叫)
- Sleep mostly throughout the day (日間多睡覺)
- Aimlessly walking or pacing at night (無意識走來走去)
- Unexplained urination and defecation accidents (urinary and/or fecal incontinence) (如厠小意外)
- Different eating pattern (可能食無定時)
- Appearing confused or disoriented (不知身在何處, 似迷惑)
- Becoming stuck under furnitures or in corners (Dysthymia) (走至角落不懂轉身)
What do Science tell us?
An important scientific study published in 2010 by a group of researchers in Australia have found 13 behaviors that correlate particularly well with the diagnosis of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. These signs include:
- Problems with orientation (Staring blankly, getting lost)
- Memory dysfunction (lost recognition of owners, lost toileting skills)
- Apathy (avoiding contact, reduced activity time)
- Impaired olfaction (difficulty finding food)
- Locomotion dysfunction
The pet’s inability to locate food and avoidance to be petted by owners are in particular noticeable amongst pets that were deemed to have dementia in this study.
A link to the document is available here CCDR Scale 2010
We provide here a scoring system as published by the scientific group to help you determine whether you dog’s changing behavior is considered to be a developing case of cognitive dysfunction. This scoring system is applicable only to dogs.
Scores greater than 50 are indicative of a developing cognitive dysfunction in such older patients.
Table extracted from research article Cognitive dysfunction in naturally occurring canine idiopathic epilepsy 2018
If you complete this table and your dog’s assessment score is greater than 50 – please find us for a consultation to better understand what can be done to help your pet as soon as possible! Cognitive dysfunction is debilitating and can greatly affect all family members. Carers should learn to read the patient’s clinical signs and with an open channel of communication with the veterinary clinic – better use supplements, medications and other management methods to help the pet.
Give us a call on 2915-2095 to make an appointment and have a chat about your aging pet!