PDSA

We rescued an elderly Greyhound about four years ago and have had no problems with her until now. All of a sudden, she’s started yowling, bumping into things and going to the toilet around the house. The vet can’t find anything wrong with her, but I’m worried that she’s suffering. Could it be dementia?

Paul Manktelow advises…

You’ve done the right thing in getting her checked over by your vet. In the absence of any other diseases, it’s possible your dog could be showing symptoms of brain ageing or canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), which would explain the signs you are seeing. I guess the most comparable thing you would see in people is dementia, which isn’t a condition in itself but rather describes a group of symptoms that occur when the brain cells stop working properly.

CCD is usually progressive and as more brain cells start to deteriorate, you may start to see additional signs, such as staring, pacing and abnormal sleep patterns. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean your dog is suffering and there are a few things you can do that may help to manage these signs.

Firstly, I’d feed a quality diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. I’d also advise mental and physical stimulation through play, walks and interactions with other dogs. I’d also keep everything in the house the same and be sure not to move furniture around. Also, I’ve heard that playing gentle music in a room may help with spatial awareness.

Giving your vet regular updates can help to track the progression of the signs so you can identify if things are better, worse or the same.

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