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Dementia and Animals

I recently had a rather random thought, do animals get dementia? If they do, how can we tell? It is a subject that intrigued me. And thankfully I found a very helpful article about it on the national geographic website.

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/13/do-animals-get-dementia-how-to-help-your-aging-pet/

It basically says that animals that live in the wild may develop dementia but they would not survive long enough due to becoming weak prey. So there has not been much research.

But animals that are domestic pets could, and do show signs of dementia. Although it is not know as dementia, for example there is “canine cognitive dysfunction”. The symptoms in pets seem similar to those that some humans display such as “acting disoriented, walking in circles, or staring into corners or [at] the wall. Other symptoms include aggression, changes in sleep patterns, loss of interest in family members, and inability to control urination or defecation “in more than just an incontinent way—almost like they’re forgetting how to be house trained… Cat owners might also notice their pets yowling at random times of day.”

I don’t want to do too much research as experimenting on animals makes me sad. But if animals are getting dementia there must be some way of finding a universal cause? And so more hope of a cure?

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4 thoughts on “Dementia and Animals

  1. Hi Kirsty..interesting subject as my elderly dog had dementia of a sort..began wandering..pacing..not sure where he was and needed lots of reassurance and care.

  2. Yes, sadly our pets can suffer from cognitive decline. Our 17-year-old dog had trouble orienting herself around the house, was easily confused and suffered from incontinence. Eventually we had to set up a space for her downstairs because she couldn’t navigate stairs any more. She remained sweet until the end, however.

    • Oh how adorable. It’s nice to hear she stayed sweet, there is I suppose a worry that there could be mood change as with humans. It is nice to hear how comfortable you kept her 🙂 xx

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