Yesterday, my mother seemed irritated because she couldn’t find her reading glasses. While speaking to me she requested my father to look for her glasses. “Perhaps I left it at the beside table,” she said and continued chatting with me. A few minutes later my father irritably said, “You are wearing your glasses on your head.” I had a good laugh and thought, “Part of aging.” Our dogs may not have trouble recollecting where they left their reading glasses. But they can experience forgetfulness or let’s say disorientation. So, to simply answer the question: can dogs get dementia? Yes, they can.
A recent study titled “Evaluation of cognitive function in the Dog Aging Project” focused on a condition called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction that explains dementia in dogs.
The full study can be accessed here.
What is Canine Cognitive Dysfunction?
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or CCD is a neurodegenerative disease in aging dogs.
Signs of CCD
According to PetMD, there are several signs and symptoms of CCD, which have been clubbed under the DISHA acronym.
- [Altered] Interactions with family members or other pets
- Sleep-wake cycle changes
- House soiling
- Activity level changes
Alongside the above, dogs with CCD can also experience restless movements.
Also read: My dog refuses to take his medication. What should I do?
Which dogs are likely to suffer from CCD?
According to the study, the possibility of dogs suffering from CCD increased 52% with each additional year of age.
Among dogs of the same age, health status, breed type and sterilisation status, the odds of CCD were 6.47 times higher in dogs who were not active compared to those who were very active.
Besides age, breed type, activity level and other comorbidities, dogs with a history of neurological, eye or ear disorders had higher odds of CCD.
Are there similarities between human Alzheimer’s disease and CCD?
Clinically speaking, human Alzheimer’s disease and CCD in dogs have many similarities, the study indicates. As with humans, canine cognitive function declines throughout the course of a dog’s lifespan. Clinical signs of this decline appear to be related to learning and memory deficits, loss of spatial awareness, altered social interactions and disrupted sleeping patterns, to name a few. Further, the presentation of human Alzheimer’s disease and CCD share certain neuropathological features such as amyloid-β plaque deposition.
Note: This article is meant for information and awareness and should not be considered as medical opinion.