When your vet talks about canine cognitive dysfunction, it is similar to Alzheimer’s or dementia in humans. It is becoming more common because 50 per cent of our dog population is over six years of age. In other words, we have an ageing population of canines.
About 10–30 per cent of ageing dogs will be affected by one or more signs of cognitive dysfunction – but clients don’t often recognise the signs and may not talk about it to their vet.
You need to ask quite specific questions to determine if an animal does have cognitive dysfunction. Often it is written off as old age – just a general slowing down.
When an animal turns 10 years of age, it is time to start screening for canine cognitive dysfunction and vets need to ask our clients some very specific questions.