Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms

These are some of the commonly agreed upon symptoms of canine cognitive dysfunction. Many of them can be singly attributed to other conditions, but if your dog has a multitude of these, it’s probably time to go to the vet.

Small black and white terrier stands in a corner with her head close to the wall

  • Pacing back and forth or in circles (turning perennially in one direction)
  • Getting lost in known places
  • Staring into space or walls
  • Walking into corners or other tight spaces and staying there
  • Appearing lost or confused
  • Waiting at the “hinge” side of the door to go out
  • Failing to get out of the way when you open a door she is on the other side of
  • Can’t remember routines, or starts them and gets only partway through
  • Barking for no reason
  • Forgets cues and trained behaviors she once knew
  • Motor difficulties like difficulty backing up (aside from physical problems)
  • Startling easily
  • Less enthusiastic about toys or quits playing altogether
  • Performing repetitive behaviors
  • Trouble with eating or drinking (finding the bowls, aiming the mouth, keeping food in mouth)
  • Stops responding to her name
  • Has difficulty getting all the way into her bed
  • Trembling for seemingly no reason
  • Getting trapped under or behind furniture
  • Sleeping during the day
  • Sleeping less at night
  • Forgetting about house training
  • Has difficulty learning anything new
  • Less seeking of attention; gets withdrawn
  • Acting frightened of people she once knew
  • Has trouble with stairs
  • Getting generally more fearful and anxious

A small black and white dog is sitting perched in the doorway of a plastic dog grate. Her head and front paws are inside the crate and her butt is hanging out.

Prevention and Treatment

Selegiline (brand name Anipryl) has been shown to slow the progression of canine cognitive dysfunction. It is a drug that is used to treat Parkinson’s in humans. It is available now for dogs in tablets and chewables. If your vet prescribes it, try to shop around. Its price really varies. The doses for dogs that you can buy on cards are quite expensive. But it can also be purchased in generic tablets quite cheaply.

There is also evidence that a diet rich in anti-oxidents can reduce canine cognitive dysfunction.

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Symptoms and Treatment

  1. Hello
    Thank you so much for your posting on CCD. My Tessie, a corgi mix, is 14 yrs. old. I work out of town, was gone for 3 days, came back home, and had a whole different dog. My husband has been ill himself, is retired, and really is kind of in denial about how our pets are aging.
    We got Tessie when she was less than a year old from a high kill pound, and honestly, I have never loved a dog like I do this one. In a few days time, suddenly, she has every symptom on your list except not eating and drinking, and she still loves to go outside and feel the sun on her face. But she stares at nothing, gets caught in corners, and doesn’t seem to know who I am. Her face is blank, she barks all the time, trembles and shakes. I took her to our vet the same day, whom I love and trust, and the dr. told me about dog dementia, and gave me a med, which seems to agitate her more. Yesterday, she had a seizure, so we are going to try Phenobarb.
    Tessie is a “down” dog, she has been paralyzed in her back legs with IVDD for 6 years, and my husband and I have expressed her bladder 3-4 times/day every day since. Our vet said she never believed Tessie would live so long as a down dog, and I never could get her to be in a cart, but she is healthy and has always been happy till now. She just isn’t there, and I have cried buckets this week, because I didn’t know what to do.
    My husband says as long as she eats and drinks and enjoys the outside, we can deal, but she seems so confused and blank to me.
    Your website has given me hope that maybe it isn’t as bad as I thought, and thank you for sharing pictures of your sweet dog. I would send a pic of Tessie, but I am not that computer literate.
    My email is tessiesmiles, because Tessie was a champ at the “submissive grin.” She learned early on that people went nuts when she grinned at them (with her teeth), so she did it whenever she approached ANYONE. Her smile is gone now.
    Thank you again. I needed a “fur mom” who would at least understand how I felt. I really didn’t know what the right thing was.
    Best wishes,

    Penelope Johnson

    • Hi Penelope,

      My heart goes out to you. That is tremendously tough. Have you asked your vet whether there is an acclimation period for the original med? I’m hoping Tessie can get used to it.

      You love her so much! I know the blankness is disturbing. Cricket didn’t have it badly, but I know some dogs who have. I hope you can figure out how things are from her point of view. I think the blankness bothers us more than them, but if she really completely doesn’t know you, that’s more difficult to handle.

      If it helps to know, Cricket went through a transition period where more things scared her and I think she was more agitated in general, but she got through that. For about the last year she has been much more calm.

      I would love to see dear Tessie. All you have to do is email it to eileen@dogdementia.com. Tell me whether it’s just for me or whether I can put it in our “old dogs” gallery.

      I hope Tessie can keep surprising the doctor and stay with you longer. I think I do understand how you feel. Not only watching so much of your dog disappear before your dogs, but to suddenly be faced with these tough decisions. Hang in there.

      Hugs.

      Eileen

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