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Violet Stars

Cognitive Dysfunction

Dog Treats in Bowl

Nutritional Intervention for Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) affects older dogs and cats which typically show chronic progressive behavioural abnormalities. Cognitive performance follows similar age-related trajectories across dog breeds, despite remarkable variation in developmental rates and lifespan. The prevalence of CDS in dogs 11 to 12 years old is estimated to be approximately 28%, and is 68% in dogs 15 to 16 years of age. In a 2-year prospective longitudinal study of dogs more than 8 years of age, 33% of dogs with normal cognitive status progressed to mild cognitive impairment, and 22% of dogs with mild cognitive impairment progressed to CDS.

Recent work suggests that simple preventive measures against CDS may be generally advisable in pet dogs and cats as they near middle age rather than waiting until obvious clinical signs are present. Environmental enrichment can have positive effects on behavioural health and quality of life in pets and is likely to improve cognitive function. The role of nutrition for the therapy of this disorder is ongoing - this review article helps explain what nutritional intervention can help these pets.

Image by Gina Sell

Investigating Owner Use of Dietary Supplements in Dogs with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

 The aim of this study was to investigate owner use of dietary supplements (DSs) in dogs with age-related behavioral changes. An observational study based on an online questionnaire for owners of dogs with age-related behavioral changes was performed. Out of a total of 394 owners who completed the survey, over half of the dogs received DSs (54%), whereas only 8% reported changing their dog's base diet. The most used DS was fish oil (48%). The use of DSs should be discussed with and monitored by veterinary surgeons since many geriatric patients have multi-morbidities.

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