Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Canine cognitive dysfunction refers to the presence of geriatric behavior problems which are not adequately accounted for by other general medical conditions. Dogs afflicted with cognitive dysfunction may have brain lesions and behavioral problems similar to those associated with Alzheimer’s disease in people. Typical signs of canine cognitive dysfunction include confusion, disorientation, decreased activity, changes in wake/sleep cycle, loss of house training and a loss of interest in, or ability to interact with, its owner and environment. It affects about 2.3 million dogs in the U.S. annually.

questionnaire is available to help determine if your dog is showing the typical behavioral signs of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. If you see several of these signs, the first thing to do is see your veterinarian for a general health exam and to rule out any physical or medical problems that could cause abnormal behavior. If your pet has a clean bill of health, you may want to speak to your veterinarian about a new medication called Anipryl®. You can print this form and bring it with you to give to your veterinarian to include in your pet’s medical record. This drug has recently been approved to help animals with cognitive dysfunction.

Anipryl® is the veterinary trade name for a drug called selegiline hydrochloride, also known as L-deprenyl. It is used in humans for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Cushing’s Disease. The drug is approved by the FDA for use in dogs for treatment of Pituitary Dependent Hyperadrenocorticism (PDH) also known as Cushing’s Disease and Canine Cognitive Dysfunction . In one study with 125 dogs with Cushing’s disease, 60% were “slightly improved” to “improved” after one month of therapy, and 77% were “slightly improved” to “improved” after 2 months of therapy. Approximately 20 % of the dogs did not respond to the drug, and those that did tended to do so after 1-2 months of therapy.

Possible side effects of this drug include (but aren’t limited to); vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactive/restless, anorexia, staggering, seizure, lethargy.