I asked Mr Furlong on our walk today, if dogs got Alzheimer’s. He didn’t know, but evidently they do – Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. it’s called, but it’s the same thing,
Our Furlong dog is called “Bobby”. He’s a rescue dog. We legally “adopted” him after character checks, home visits, garden approval, vet checks and signing lots of papers. No one knows how old he is, but currently the vet guesses he’s in “double figures”.
He’s wonderful – Bobby, I mean – though the vet is ok too, and he must be almost our age now – Bobby, not the vet. So Bobby will probably die before we do. I can hardly think about it for the grief it will cause us.
I’d think of putting him to sleep if he got Alzheimer’s – a favour that will be denied me.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.
The main symptoms can be easily summarized by the acronym DISH which is short for Disorientation,Interaction changes, Sleep changes, and House soiling.
Signs of Disorientation often include:
- Stops responding to well learned commands
- May even stop responding to his name
- No longer remembers household routines
- May stare blankly into space or at walls
- May pace or wander aimlessly, and outside may wander out of his own yard and act lost or confused
- May seem to walk in aimless repetitive patterns, such as around a table or from room to room
- May appear lost or confused, even in familiar surroundings, and sometimes may seem to get stuck in corners, under or behind furniture, have difficulty finding his way out.
- Sometimes, previously well tempered dogs may appear to become easily agitated and may be barking a lot for no apparent reason.
Symptoms of decreased Interaction skills include:
- Often the first thing that you notice is that the dog no longer seems to care about being petted and may even walk away even when being petted and receiving affection.
- Previously sociable affectionate dogs may no longer try to get attention
- The dog no longer goes to greet visitors or even family membersTypical changes in Sleep patterns include:
- The dog may sleep more during the day
- The dog may sleep less at night and instead wander around in the dark
Sometimes symptoms include apparently forgetting Housetraining:
- Some dogs stop signalling that they want to go out
- Some dogs may begin to have “accidents” indoors. These “accidents may even occur just a short time after being outside
- The dog may seem to forget the reason that they are outside, simply wandering around aimlessly and not eliminating.
No sign of this in Bobby. He might be as old as us – but he’s cognitively less impaired!