I hope we are all staying safe
I thought I would just do a few words on a common problem that can affect all of us
Lets talk about Dementia !
This is a very difficult subject to talk about for 2 reasons really
1) none of us like to think about our pets (or ourselves!) getting old
2) it can be difficult to recognise in our pets
Really any signs of odd behaviour can indicate the first signs of dementia
I know some of you will be saying – ‘but my cat/dog can be a bit odd normally so how would I know!’
Signs can be subtle – especially in cats!
If your pet is showing any of these signs tyhen they may be suffering from early dementia:-
- wandering aimlessly around the home – like many of us are at the moment!
- standing at the wrong side of the door when waiting for it to open
- lying in a different or odd place in the home- cats especially are creatures of habit and when they start doing or not doing what they usually do then something is usually going on.
- not easily recognising you or other members of the family
- Dogs especially can also get into corners and not be able to get out again – you see your dog with his/her head in the corner of the room just standing there.
2) Cats especially will hide away if feeling poorly or off colour- they spend more time up in the bedroom,under the bed or just not really joining in anymore.
- Cats too can be more vocal – going upstairs when everyone else is down stairs and yowling – this can indicate thyroid issues too.
- Dogs may not be so interactive – not greeting you when you come in and not keen to play.
3) Toilet training can go out the window. This is not nice for you and our pets don’t want to be messing in the house either.
- Dogs can go outside then come in and pass urine and or faeces on the floor!
- Cats stop using the litter tray and can start going behind the sofa or the corner of the room – not nice.
4) Their normal sleep pattern can change – dogs and cats can sleep more – or be in their beds more – but they can often sleep in the day but be up pacing round at night time – when we are trying to sleep.
This is distressing for them and not great for us!
Keeping brains happy, healthy and active is important for us all – our pets included.
Never more than now do we all realise the need to keep busy – both physically and mentally.
It has long been proved with us that if you keep your brain active – doing that crossword in the paper, sudoko or word searches- you should keep your brain sharper for longer. (here’s hoping!)
The same is true of our pets – keeping them active and thinking about things – keep them stimulated.
What can we do to help once we notice symptoms – or think we might have early signs?
There are several products on the market that claim to help this problem
The snag is that without a CT scan or even lots of tests we can not be sure which part of the brain is affected or if there is anything horrid underlying the changes (tumour or underlying illness).
Of course, we can run bloods to check organ function – liver, kidneys, etc – if these are not right them they can make our pets poorly – thyroid issues in older cats can cause weight loss, vocalising and odd behaviour. It is worth having a conversation with your vet if you are concerned about your pet’s behaviour and they may advise running a few basic tests to rule things out.
What drugs are available?
As I mentioned there are several options out there.
We use a few here in the Clinic – some work for some pets and not others. In some cases after only a few days owners report there is such an improvement in their pet they are thrilled. I had one lady who said her dog was now so bright and lively her other dog wondered what was going on! An old dog who was previously spending nearly all day in his bed was up and about and joining in again.
Other owners report no real change after a month of meds – I do advise at least a month before you say it hasn’t worked.
There has been a lot of research into fish oil supplements – especially Omega 3 from DHA – docosahexaenoic acid- which has been shown to help the brain cells function – producing nerve cell connections and thus helping nerve transmissions.
Omega 3s have also been shown to help young pups learn better too.
Natural Vitamin E supports older cells and is a free radical fighter! – helping to combat cell damage within the brain.
B Vitamins – necessary for healthy nerve function.
So, with all this info you have several options!
- I would advise- if you think your pet may be showing any of the signs above contact your vet – a few tests – not necessarily very expensive (depending which vets you use) can eliminate other problems like thyroid, liver or kidney
- Thyroid issues can be managed or operated on- don’t panic -we don’t see thyroid issues in young cats -so we only operate on older cats ( I will do a blog about thyroid next!)
- Add supplements to your pets’ normal food – care with this as depending on what you feed it can upset the balance of the diet. Also, some cats won’t take several different additions to their food. Calculating the correct amount can be tricky.
- use one of the ready-made and tested supplements on the market
- We use both Aktivait and Nutramind (from Nutravet) here and have had great results with both
Nutramind is from Nutravet who use only natural ingredients and environmentally friendly recycled materials for packaging remember often our older pets have arthritis too – see the blog on the older pet where I talk about drugs that can help this.
Take care out there!
We are living in strange times and I think we will all be changed just a little bit by this – hopefully for the better!