What are the signs of dementia in your pet?

As we become more and more educated on the signs of Alzheimer’s Disease in people, it’s worth asking  — what about animals? Can anything be done to prevent it?

This article by Steve Dale in USA Today Weekend discusses both the signs and ideas on how to keep cognitive dysfunction (CD) at bay. CD is diagnosed by excluding everything else medically relevant first, but there are signs to identify it.

“It’s always been there,” says veterinary behaviorist Gary Landsberg of Thornhill, Ontario, director of veterinary affairs at Cancog Technologies. “Our pets are living longer, and we’re learning much more about identifying cognitive dysfunction.” Landsberg is now researching the disorder in cats.

The acronym for pet owners to identify CD is referred to as DISH:

D — Disorientation and confusion, such as attempting to walk through the wrong side of a doggie door.

I — Changes in interactions, such as an outgoing pet becoming withdrawn.

S — Sleep disturbances: cats yowling or dogs pacing overnight for no apparent reason.

H — House soiling, having “accidents.”

So what can be done to prevent CD? The best wisdom points to one thing  –  exercise.Professor Carl Cotman, Director of University California, Irvine,  Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, says that dementia in people and in animals respond the same.


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