Dogs can suffer from dementia and many go undiagnosed

Is your older, cuddly canine suddenly seems like a different dog? He's not behaving the same, doesn't engage with the family like he has for years?

So what's going on with your pooch?

Your pooch may have an illness that experts say is strikingly similar to a horrible human disease. It's almost painful to watch.

Adorable Dakota seemed to walk in an endless loop. His owner said the vet diagnosed him with canine cognitive dysfunction, or C-C-D.

Dr. Melissa Bain is an animal behavior expert at the University of California, Davis.

"CCD is similar to human Alzheimer's disease in that there are a lot of the same physical changes in the brain and some of the same correlations to behavioral changes," she said.

The dog dementia can start around age 9 or 10 and studies estimate more than 60 percent of dogs between ages 15 and 16 can show at least one symptom of CCD.

"Some of the signs that we do see in dogs that have CCD are dogs that have a loss of house-training, dogs that have a change in their sleep wake cycles, such as they're up all night and sleep all day. And, we also see sometimes where they don't recognize their owners," Bain said.

They might get lost in the house, get stuck behind furniture or become overly aggressive. Bain said current treatments are limited.

"There are two different diets that are licensed to slow down the progression of canine cognitive dysfunction in dogs. They have antioxidants in them," she said.

Max, another precious pooch who had the disease, had become so aggressive or confused at times the vet gave him CBD oil derived from cannabis or hemp. His owners believe it bought them a little more time.

If your pet seems like he may have CCD, Bain said it's critical to see your vet and you shouldn't diagnose your dog yourself.

Experts said we are seeing more cases of dog dementia, partially because dogs are living longer thanks to advances in veterinary medicine.

Still, as many as 80 percent of cases may be undiagnosed.
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