Dementia in pets

Cats & dogs can get dementia too

As knowledge grows within the veterinary world about felines and canines, our furry friends are living longer.  Thanks to the internet, professionals  are able to create more awareness about a range of possible health issues, nutrition, even enrichment for our pets.  Combined with this, social media groups focused on cats or dogs have members who post about there pets illnesses, one being dementia, or rather cognitive dysfunction syndrome.

Cats with dementia / cognitive dysfunction

What is dementia or cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS)?

As explained by Vets4Pets: …”very much like our human Alzheimer’s CDS is diagnosed by behavioural changes, as degeneration in the brain leads to loss of learned behaviours and changes in sociability.”

What are the signs of CDS?

Firstly, we are not veterinary professionals but have experienced living with a geriatric cat with CDS.  If you have any concerns about your pet, we recommend you consult your vet.

Read here Vets4Pets Health Advice

A cat or dog with CDS can become anxious, disorientated, confused and forgetful – including forgetting to eat.

Here are the signs for a cat or dog:

  • Confusion and disorientation  so forgetting normal things: that they would previously be use to sleep pattern may change and there might be nighttime howling or barking
  • Staring at walls or into space
  • Withdrawn and depressed
  • Memory loss
  • Changes in general behaviour

So if you notice any changes in your senior pet, please book an appointment with your vet. 

At this point we would like to quote Vets4Pets: “CDS is much more common than you might think – a study suggested that 28% of pet cats aged 11 to 14 years develop at least one geriatric-onset behaviour problem that appears to relate to CDS, and this increases to over 50% for cats of 15 years of age or older!  As CDS is degenerative, sadly affected cats are likely to worsen with time, which is known as cognitive decline.”

Can the vet give my pet medication to cure of CDS?

Unfortunately not, as explained above, CDS is degenerative.  A vet advises that as soon as you see behavioural changes in your pet, to see them immediately.   There could be underlying issues that need to be checked.  Blood tests  or simply checking to see if your pet has arthritis which could explaining soiling outside the litter tray or a dog that has withdrawn from going out for his ‘walkies’. 

Supportive care can be given, which we will detail in this article. 

What did you do when your cat was diagnosed with CDS?

Firstly, my kitty, Uncle Albert,  came to me as a rescue aged 15 and weighing 2kg.  The signs weren’t obvious for some while. Then I noticed the following:

  • He would suddenly stop eating as if he couldn’t remember what he was doing
  • He would stare at a wall
  • Night-time howling
  • Albert would be withdrew every so often and refuse to eat. His weight on average was 2.43kg

I consulted my vet and discussed the changes in Albert’s behaviour.  His Norfolk vet , Terrington St Clements, suggested Aktivait.  Each box contains 60 capsules which  can be opened and mixed with food.  Within days, Albert tucked into his food.  Occasionally sometime would catch his attention, so I simply tapped the bowl and tucked in.  After a few days there was a noticeable weigh gain, but with thyroid issues he  was unable to reach a normal weight for felines.

How can I support my cat or dog with CDS?

Aktivait for cognitive dysfunction in dogs
Aktivait for dementia in cats
Aktivait for dementia in dogs

To explain what Aktivait does, here is a quote from VetPlus: “nutritional supplement to aid a healthy central nervous system and support brain function in older dogs/cats.”  

Aktivait contains the following ingredients per capsule:

  • DHA/EPA 35mg
  • L-carnitine 13.5mg
  • Vitamin C 20mg
  • N-acetyl cysteine 20mg
  • Alpha lipoic acid 10mg
  • Vitamin E 10mg

As mentioned previously, your vet will check if your pet has any other issues.  They may suggest another treatment but you can speak with them about Aktivait.

Where can I buy Aktivait?

Aktavait helped my cat with dementia

Firstly, as a result of Uncle Albert being loved, fed, warmth, veterinary care, regular blood tests, thyroid medication and Aktivait, he flourished.  The nightly howling lessened and he ate.  The Aktivait powder I mixed into Webbox Lick-e-lics.

Aktivait, specialised food and medication can be purchased online at reputable veterinary stores.  I recommend a price comparison between VetsUK, Animeddirect, Viovet.

What changes do I need to make for my cat and dog ?

There are lots of things you can do to help your family pet at home or on a walk.  It’s important to understand that your pet needs you more than ever now.

  • Do not get  angry with your pet
  • Keep calm around them
  • Stick to a routine
  • Feed them in the same place
  • Keep furniture in the same place
  • You may need to retrain your cat to use the litter tray
  • Keep your dog on a lead when out on a walk as they probably wont survive it they get lost
  • Consider cat proofing the garden 
  • Buy battery operated sensor lights for night time for reassurance
  • Be there for them, cuddles, love

Is there anything else you can personally suggest?

Emergency tag for my dog cat
  • Buy a medical tag and on the reverse have engraved ‘dementia’ with other issues. It’s a quick medical alert for a dog warden, vet or rescue if your pet wanders off.
  • For any age, include vet contact details on a tag with your house number and post code on the other side
  • Don’t forget to include ‘I am chipped’ on the tag
  • Ask your microchip company to add details of there medical records to your pets account

Are there any benefits buying online?

First of all, before you buy any product online for your animal, check they are  a legit company at the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. They list accredited internet retailers  Secondly, purchasing online is often cheaper than a veterinary practice.  And thirdly, register with a cashback site.  I generated £100 which I eventually withdrew and deposited into my private vet account to cover future bills or purchases.  

There are 3 top money sites we recommend – Read our article on the best Cash Back sites you can use today. We do recommend that you have several cash back sites and check out the offers first before any online purchasing.

Have a elderly relative?

If you have a elderly relative that has a form of dementia we suggest you read our article that will help you find them if they go missing.

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