May 312012

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is a disease which affects older dogs and has many similarities to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Several of the key pathological changes seen in Alzheimer’s disease are also seen in dogs as well as there being many similarities between the behavioural changes seen in both diseases. Some of the behavioural changes seen in dogs include:

  • Changes in activity levels
  • Changes in eating or drinking habits
  • Changes in sleeping patterns (awake and often vocal at night whilst sleeping during the day)
  • Aggression and anxiety problems
  • Loss of learned behaviours such as house training (often resulting in housesoiling)
  • Inability to navigate familiar surroundings (e.g. getting stuck in corners or going to the hinge side of the door to be let out)
  • Failing to recognize owners or familiar people and other pets

Further confusing the already difficult diagnosis of this disease is that older dogs without CCD also show some behavioural changes. However, research conducted by the Regenerative Neuroscience group shows that the frequency of problem or unwanted behaviours commonly seen with CCD are generally low with minimal impact on learning and memory. Our research also showed, surprisingly, that there was very little difference in rates of CCD between different breeds of dog despite large differences in life expectancy.

Find out more about the Dogs and Cells trial at the RNG.

Click here to access the Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Rating Scale.