Caring For A Dog Or Cat With Dementia
People are living longer than ever and so are their pets. Many believe that longer lives are responsible for the rise of dementia in people, as well as in our pets. Yesterday, I wrote about ways you can delay or prevent cognitive dysfunction in your dogs and cats, but what if telltale signs are already showing up?
Veterinarian Shawn Messonnier of the Paws and Claws Animal Hospital in Plano, TX, says that one out of four dogs and cats over the age of 7 have a cognitive disorder similar to Alzheimer's in humans. The signs of dementia in pets include losing interest in you and in other social interactions, having accidents in the home, sleeping much more than usual, eating excessively or eating much less than usual, barking or meowing at when you can't find a reason for it, and wandering, particularly at night.
If you see these signs, you should immediately take your pet to a veterinarian to get a medical diagnosis, as your pet could have a physical ailment that is responsible for any of these behaviors. Physical problems can exacerbate symptoms of dementia in pets, so make sure those are treated; I prefer veterinarians who specialize in natural or eastern medicine for pets.
Teach Your Old Dog (and Cat) New Tricks
All the measures an owner takes to prevent or delay cognitive dysfunction in their pets - physical exercise, mental stimulation, socialization, and proper diet - must be continued, although modified for the pet's age and particular physical disabilities. And the recommendations for human Alzheimer's patients are the same!
University of California, Irvine director of Alzheimer's research, Carl Cottman, Interviewed by USA Today, cites a study in which dogs enrolled in a 'continuing canine education' class, followed an exercise regimen, and were fed an anti-aging diet. The control group was fed an anti-aging diet, but did not participate in the exercise or continuing education programs.
Cottman said the the results were so definitively positive for the group involved in socialization, exercise, enrichment, and diet, that they make a significant difference for dogs.
Beyond socialization, diet, and physical and mental exercise, there are special natural supplements called Cholodin which have been studied and recommended by veterinarians for use in dogs and cats with cognitive dysfunction and/or seizures. Their primary ingredient is choline, a B vitamin. Dr. Messonnier, referred to above, has had impressive results treating older dogs and cats with Cholodin, but he says the secret is to start the supplement before the signs of dementia appear.
"Many pets taking choline supplementation will not develop signs of Alzheimer's disease (cognitive disorder.) Cholodin is safe, inexpensive, and has no significant side effects," says Dr. Messonnier.
Customers of Cholodin could not agree more that the supplement works; many say it actually reverses symptoms of cognitive dysfunction in their pets.
Humans, eat plenty of beef liver! (See choline).
That's the buzz for today!