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What is CDS in dogs?

Shopping with the dog
Shopping with the dog
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

This is not a love story rather cautionary tale of what might be. We love our pets and look for ways to help them be happy and content. In some ways one could say, we take of them as we would our parents; what ‘our parents’? Yes that is what I said. It may seem more natural to say our children, however our pets are aging at a rate of seven years to each one of our, thus they may start as our wee ones and within a short time become our geriatric pets.

In August 2012, Dog Fancy ran an article regarding Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) in dogs. This disease has been on the radar of veterinarians for many years, but only recently come into our daily language. CDS, accordingly to this article, is the changes in a dogs brain are almost the same as those of a person with Alzheimer’s disease. The information leads to more questions than answers, and this article will not attempt to look at all the scientific information, rather what we can learn in how to treat our pet with this disease.

Whether, this is the same dementia affecting people or not, most all veterinarians agree that there is some kind of a cognitive dysfunction which can be associated with our precious pets. There is little that can be done to treat this and so it is up to us how we wish to proceed. Just as with our parents there is no test to know it will happen to this pet and not that one. We as the steward of our pets must plug in our empathic emotions and take the best care we can of our pets or we can go it for a short time and then seek euthanasia as the treatment. Whatever we seek as the answer for our pets, we must keep in mind their need for comfort and emotional care as well. If this is a true diagnosis, the pets cannot help the incontinence or need to be directed again and again to their spot to lie down. They cannot be corrected as we did when they had the ability to learn; rather we must have the empathy to slowly bring them inside from wandering around the year without focus. Yes, we must treat them as our parents with dementia. Are we up for this?