Brain Dog Disease

 |  Apr 9th 2008  |   4 Contributions

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Dog Brain Disease
Reporting Ukee Washington

PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) Could your dog get Alzheimer's? No, but there is a canine condition that's similar. Dog owners should know what to look for, because there are ways to help.

Renee Payne dotes on her shepherd husky Wray. So when Wray starting acting strangely, Payne knew something wasn't right.

"She started peeing in the house, and she's always been very well house-trained," said Payne.

That was just the beginning.

"I would be sitting at my desk, and she would stand right next to me and stare at nothing or stare at the wall," said Payne.

It turned out the problem was in Wray's brain. The dog had cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).

Veterinarian Dr. William Ridgeway explained, "Cognitive dysfunction syndrome is a complex chemical and physical change in the brain in dogs. It parallels Alzheimer's in many, many ways."

Symptoms of CDS include barking, whining, anxiety and restlessness. Some dogs may become aggressive when they're confused or scared. There also can be memory loss and diminished thinking and learning skills in the brain.

"Dogs will get these globs of beta-amyloid plaques, which is very similar to Alzheimer's, in a portion of the brain," said Dr. Ridgeway.

While medications can't fix the damage, they can alleviate the symptoms. Owners can help by keeping a simple routine. Keep "the same time schedule for them -- eating, drinking, walks. And keep the commands short and simple," said Dr. Ridgeway.

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