Canine cognitive dysfunction is Alzheimer's disease in dogs. It affects mostly older dogs. This page looks at the signs and symptoms, prevention, and conventional treatment of CCD. It also looks at how to use natural remedies such as herbs and supplements to prevent and alleviate the symptoms.
Just like Alzheimer's disease in people, canine cognitive dysfunction affects mostly older dogs.
When a dog gets older, their cognitive functions may change. This could cause a change in their behavior.
The exact cause of this syndrome is not clearly known. However, it appears that physical and chemical changes in the dog's body affect the brain function of the dog.
Microscopically, it has been found that dogs with cognitive dysfunction have abnormal protein accumulations in their brain, and blood vessels of the brain become visible. Ultimately, these abnormal brain conditions interfere with proper nerve transmission, resulting in behavioral changes in the older dogs.
In a pet owner study, nearly half of all dogs aged 8 years and older showed at least one sign of canine cognitive dysfuntion syndrome.
Other studies showed that 48% of dogs 8 years and older, 62% of dogs 11-16 years old, and 100% of dogs 16 years of age and older showed at least one sign of CCD.
The top most common signs and symptoms of CCD include:
The drug Anipryl has now been approved by the FDA for treating canine cognitive dysfunction. Most dogs are prescribed one tablet per day.
While effective in some dog patients, the drug can cause some side effects in others, including appetite loss, increased water intake, vomiting, anemia, as well as signs of confusion, disorientation and restlessness - symptoms that we want to get rid of in the first place!
If no side effects are shown, the dog has to keep taking this medication for the rest of his life.
As this drug Anipryl is rather expensive and may cause side effects, if your older dog is showing signs of CCD, you may want to consider natural alternative remedies.
Quite a few herbs and nutritional supplements can be used to help prevent and improve CCD. They include:
Choline is a "building block" needed to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, responsible for mediating brain functions such as memory, intelligence and mood. A deficiency in acetylcholine is believed to be a contributing factor in senility in general and Alzheimer's disease in particular.
A clinical study has found that choline supplementation was effective for reversing signs of cognitive dysfunction in both dogs and cats. Recommended dosage is 50 to 100 mg daily for a 50-pound dog.
This is a natural resveratrol supplement for dogs. It contains not only resveratrol, but also kelp and lecithin. A good supplement for older dogs.Thorne Research Basic B ComplexVET
This contains the entire B-complex, including 80 mg of Choline citrate.
This is a unique combination of various antiaging herbs and supplements such as Ginkgo, acetyl L-carnitine, and Bacopa. This is an excellent supplement for dogs with age-related decline in brain functioning.
If you are the parent of an older dog (7 years or older), and are concerned about the possibility of your dog developing canine cognitive dysfunction, please take action now! Prevention is better than cure.
One of the most important thing to do is to minimize inflammation in older dogs (minimizing inflammation may prevent or decrease the incidence of CCD as well as many other disorders, including cancer).
Take these steps now to minimize inflammation and prevent CCD: