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How to spot dementia in a man' s best friend.

Chat with the vet--
Canine dementia, or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)
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Dog dementia, or Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), is a progressive brain disorder that shows similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s in humans.
CDS is an incurable, progressive degeneration of the brain in dogs that could affect their well-being as well as that of their owners.
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“Dementia in dogs is as heartbreaking as Alzheimer’s in humans,”
says Shin, the owner of a poodle named Hoochu, who shows symptoms of dementia.
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“When dogs get dementia, it gets difficult for everyone.
It might start howling and waking up everyone in the middle of the night,
soil everywhere
in the house,
and even become aggressive to you,”
Dr. Park Sang-chul, DVM,
a vet that specializes in internal medicine at Seoul Yes Animal Hospital, located in Gyeonggi province in South Korea.
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Since CDS cannot be reversed, it is best to treat it as soon as possible, and even take preventive measures if your dog is aging, as it is mostly shown in dogs older than 12.

The University of Washington research team found that cognitive disorders were 6.47 times more common in inactive dogs, compared to those that were active.
This means a lack of exercise can contribute to dogs getting dementia.
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Yes. Domestic pets, especially dogs and cats, nowadays live long enough to develop dementia. [National Geographic]
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For cognitive health, it is best to constantly stimulate the brain.
So really, stop and actually smell the roses on your walks.
Exercise or any mentally stimulating activities or toys will help. That counts for simply sniffing around outside. For indoors,
nose work toys will do.
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Dr. Park also suggests keenly observing your dog’s behaviors is
a key to early diagnosis.
An MRI scan will generally show brain atrophy in dogs with CDS as well.
DISHAA is an evaluation tool that could be used to assess the mental acuity of a dog.
The form can be downloaded online, or you could visit a local vet to ask for an assessment.
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Noticeable Signs of CDS

- Change in appetite
- Reversed sleep cycle
- Change in personality
- Aimless wandering
- Spacing out
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Like any disease, treatments may be a success or a failure, depending on a patient’s condition. There is no cure for CDS, but it responds relatively well to medications that help slow and alleviate symptoms.

If your dog shows signs of CDS, and you are considering medicating or treating your dog, first contact your local vet.
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“In the end, dementia, both in dogs and humans, is about management.

It can’t be cured, so it’s important to have patience and strive for
a treatment that would do
the trick,” remarks Dr. Park.

"Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.”

John Grogan (Author of Marley & Me)
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