Dementia in the dog: What holders need to know

If in a life with a dog suddenly nothing is as it once was: Suddenly forgets the beloved Fellnase where the bowl is, does their business after years of housebroken on the living room carpet and looks for hours in the void. Keepers who observe strange behavioral changes in their old dog should also be concerned with possible dementia.

Basically, dementia, with all its effects and actions on the dog, is quite similar to human dementia. It also occurs in quadrupeds usually in the elderly, while destruction processes take place in the brain. Veterinarians in dog dementia also speak of cognitive dysfunction syndrome, short CDS.

At first, dementia is usually only modest. This is because the nerve cells in the dog's brain do not die from one to one tomorrow, but steadily. This affects above all the cells that were previously responsible for learning, consciousness processes and memory. The destruction process of these nerve cells gets under way, because special proteins in the body of the dog no longer work.

However, these proteins are important for protecting brain cells from dangerous deposits. If they lose their function, there is a deposit of non-removable proteins on the cells. A brain cell affected by this can no longer communicate and is no longer supplied with nutrients. In the further course then it comes to the death of the cell, which triggers a chain reaction. More and more cells are now covered by deposits and die. This decay process is slow but steady over the years and can not be reversed.

Especially affected by dementia is the behavior of the dog. If the disease progresses, it leads to strong fears and severe discomfort. The dog is no longer able to cope with his actually so familiar world, suffers from his sudden impurity and can no longer please his master. As a result, some affected dogs become very timid, retreat or give in to a strong lethargy. Aggressions are also possible with demented dogs.