Doggie dementia

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) or doggie dementia is an underdiagnosed disease affecting a large segment of our aging pet population.
According to the Washington State University Animal Behavior department, there are four distinct types of CCD.
The first one is Involutive depression, which is similar to chronic depression in humans and it arises from chronic anxieties that were never addressed properly. The pets become frightful, seek hiding places and soil in the house.

The second type is called Dysthymia, in which the senior pet loses feelings in the extremities and becomes lodged into corners or appears to lose coordination and become very clumsy. this type also causes behavioral changes like the dog becoming more aggressive.

The third type is the Hyperaggressive dog. This one causes many pet-human bonds to break and result in euthanasia. This results in a deficiency in serotonin, the dog loses the ability to communicate and is generally impulsive and bite the owners or other dogs if challenged. Oftentimes, there is a brain tumor involved.

The fourth type is the confusional syndrome, which is characterized by a sharp decline in cognitive ability. These dogs can’t learn new tricks and forget the ones they used to know. This form is the closest one to human Alzheimer’s disease.

This condition could be one of those conditions that are actually very responsive to your pet’s diet!

Food therapy can slow down the progression and even prevent doggie
dementia because I have tried it in many of my patients. Cooking for
your senior or supplementing his dog foods with Blood and Qi building
foods will provide much needed extra energy. Cats can also get dementia although it is more common for them to get it in conjunction with
Hyperthyroidism and kidney failure. Therefore, when cats show signs
of senility, the first thing I recommend is a blood panel for a better idea
of the situation. The same concept of feeding Qi rich foods applies to most
of these kitties. Glucosamine is well known for the help with increasing joint fluids and helping arthritis but few people know the value of
adding Kelp to both senior cats and dogs’ diets.
Kelp is a great addition for older pets because it is loaded with Vitamins and Minerals and has iodine to help their thyroid function. It is a
good natural source of Vitamin E, which many believe is a key brain nutrient. To prevent CCD, I recommend starting these supplements at age
7 for large breeds and age 10 for small dog breeds and cats. If your elderly
pet is exhibiting signs of early dementia, supplement with homemade foods and
add vitamin E capsules at a therapeutic dose of 25 IU per pound. I also recommend adding Huperzine A, which has been proven to improve
focus and memory in people, or Ginkgo biloba, which does the same.
The doses of these are empirical and are usually off label use since they
are human-grade supplements. It is best to ask your veterinarian what
dose and frequency they recommend since the strengths and formulas
vary per product. Sadly, there are many disreputable companies selling
useless products so, a veterinarian recommendation is preferable. It is
also important to realize that not all human supplements are safe for pet

Cold weather and your pets

The Fall weather finally arrived in Polk County which means its time to review how to keep your pet safe during the cold weather. Thankfully, we do not get snow but it does get chilly and occasionally below freezing in Florida. The concern is that our pets are not well prepared to handle the rare cold weather. It is the duty of pet owners to make sure the pets are not exposed to danger during these cold spells.
Let’s start with clothes; do pets really need them? Certain hairless or thinned coated pets will require to be bundled up when going for a walk. Typically, the less body fat the pet has the worse it can withstand the cold environment. In fact, most dogs really do well to insulate against cold with just their fur so what all pets need is a warm shelter from the wind and rain. A dog house can be filled with straw to insulate and keep outdoor cats and dogs warm. The water supply should be checked against freezing and the water intake monitored closely since many pets dislike drinking cold water. In our practice, we see an increase in urinary blockages during the cold season and it perhaps could be linked to a decrease in water consumption. Signs that your cat or dog has a urinary tract issue include abnormal urination or accidents in the house, small or very large output of urine, red-tinged or dark-colored urine and pain upon urination. Inexpensive pet water fountains can be used to keep the water moving and preventing freezing.
The cold weather also brings in some pain issues to the forefront since many older pets suffer from osteoarthritis that worsens when exposed to the cold temperatures. The pain could be worse if the humidity remains high. Relieving your pet from pain requires a visit to your veterinarian. How would you know if they are experiencing pain? Pets usually pant more, avoid moving much ( not jumping or having difficulty rising), they might eat less and show behavioral changes ( more cranky).
Special attention should be placed on the condition of your dog’s paw pads as they can become very dry during cold weather. If you see cracked pads, it is safe to apply coconut oil or vaseline topically. The fur should be kept brushed and free of mats so that the pets can be insulated properly. Some allergic pets chew on their feet a lot during the winter in Florida because as the grass goes in hibernation a lot of weeds start showing up. Up north, the exposure to salt can really dry up and injure the pads. using pet boots/pad covers can be necessary.
Making sure that your house yard is wildlife proof is important since raccoons and other critters might try to find a shelter from the cold near your house and yard. This makes cold temperatures a factor in increased wildlife-pet encounters. In fact, making sure that your pet has a current rabies vaccine or at least a good protective titer against that deadly disease is an important consideration at this time of the year. Check with your veterinarian how to keep your pet healthy in the cold weather season.