Dementia in animals is becoming more common as dog and cat have progressively longer life expectancies due to advances in veterinary medicine and nutrition. As with humans, our animal companions also suffer from Alzheimer's disease, especially in old age. Why is the diagnosis still more difficult?
The diagnosis of dementia in animals is complicated by the fact that dogs and cats can not speak. Many tests that are used to diagnose Alzheimer's in humans are therefore not possible. Veterinarians therefore use the exclusion procedure if there is a suspicion of age-related cognitive dysfunction.
Dementia in animals: possible symptoms
The symptoms of dementia in animals are similar to those of Alzheimer's in humans. This includes:
● Disorientation and confusion
● Interaction behavior changes
● Sleep-wake rhythm changes
● loss of interests and drive
● Housing purity decreases
● Dogs forget known commands
You may observe your cat or dog watching the animal run aimlessly up and down. Maybe sometimes it stops at one point and looks as if it had forgotten what it was about to do. Dogs who have been housebroken for a long time suddenly return to their homes. Cats no longer leave feces and urine in the litter box, but pee in bed or on the carpet. At night, animals with dementia are often awake and feel lost, as evidenced by increased barking or loud meowing. People who have taken care of them for many years sometimes do not recognize affected animals. Their confusion and disorientation can also be reflected in aggressive behavior, as they are very insecure.
Dementia or normal signs of aging?
However, these symptoms can also be caused by other signs of aging that have nothing to do with dementia in animals. For example, physical pain also causes uncertainty and changed behavior. If animal senior citizens can no longer hear and / or see so well, that also leads to orientation difficulties. Loud barking or meowing may also indicate early deafness.
Urinary tract disorders are other possible reasons for housetop pollution. Behavioral changes often occur when something is wrong with the animal, but this does not have to be dementia, but other diseases can also be considered. In old age, many cats and dogs suffer from kidney problems, heart problems or other organ diseases.
Only when other signs of aging could be ruled out does the doctor diagnose dementia in animals. Although the disease is not curable, it can be slowed down with a customized therapy. In this way, the quality of life and life expectancy of diseased animals can be improved.
After diagnosis: help animals with dementia in everyday life
If the diagnosis of a dementia in animals is established, you can help your dog or cat, to spend a nice evening of life despite illness. What your pet needs is peace, security and security, as well as age-appropriate employment. Try to get a routine into your daily routine and maintain it. Removals, changes in the interior or frequent vacations should you move as late as possible, if your animal companion has gone over the rainbow bridge.
At the same time, however, it makes sense to stimulate, but not over-stimulate, the brain of diseased animals. For example, take your dog for a walk every now and then or teach him a simple trick. More tips can be found in our guide "Dog with dementia to make everyday life easier". Intelligence games make dogs and cats happy in old age. Cats who have been out and about all their lives will probably not want to miss their outings. However, this is risky, as the cat seniors may run outside or react too late to dangers. Therefore, leave your old fur nose only under supervision in the garden or set up their secure clearance or a beautiful cat enclosure.