Answer: Some days, I think we all experience cognitive dysfunction (senility), but do our pets? Possibly, once all underlying causes have been ruled out, there is a possibility your pet may be experiencing cognitive dysfunction. Studies conducted in the early 1990s were the first to identify brain changes in older dogs that were similar to brain changes seen in humans with Alzheimer’s disease (ie, ß-amyloid deposits). Laboratory tests were developed in the 1990s to identify learning and memory deficits in older dogs. Lately, these studies have started on younger dogs to thoroughly understand the effect of aging on the canine brain. Similar studies in young and older cats are also ongoing.
While researchers are still not able to classify any genetic cause of why individual animals develop cognitive dysfunction, there are drugs and specific diets available that can help decline in dogs. If you think your pet is becoming senile, discuss it with your veterinarian.
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