New assessment tool for canine dementia

Aging patients can experience dementia, or cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), that includes diminished memory and learning, and changes in social interactions, sleep patterns, and house training. But often, assessing the stage of dementia in a patient is difficult. However, a new study may offer insights about its progression so veterinarians can target treatment.

Researchers from the Slovak Republic developed a rating scale for assessing the severity and progression of CDS from mild to severe. Their results were published in Applied Animal Behavior on August 31.

For the study, 215 dogs were assessed using a canine dementia scale (CADES) that tested the dogs on 17 items, including spatial orientation, social interactions, sleep–wake cycles, and house soiling. The researchers also identified stages of cognitive impairment—mild cognitive impairment, moderate cognitive impairment, and severe cognitive dysfunction—and changes in the stages over time in study participants.

At six months, normal aging to mild cognitive impairment was 42% and mild to moderate cognitive impairment was 24%. At twelve months, the conversion rates almost doubled to 71.45% and 50%, respectively.

Aside from assessing current status of CDS, veterinarians can use the scale to identify the progression of CDS so they can offer appropriate treatments, note the researchers.

Photo credit: © iStock/Pamela Moore

NEWStat Advancements & research News