Senility & Cognitive Disorders

As pets age they can suffer cognitive dysfunction. And though there will never come a time when pups or kitty forgets where he left his keys, he might withdraw from his family, become disoriented in his home, cry for no reason, or have sleeping problems. As with humans, the exact cause of cognitive dysfunction is unknown, though it is related to aging and changes in the brain. Sadly, there is no cure, and the problem is progressive. There are medications for dogs and cats that can help improve signs but as yet there is no cure.

Some of the subtle clinical signs of Cognitive Dysfunction can be difficult to distinguish from regular signs of aging. These include things like slowing down and becoming less active. However, dogs and cats with Cognitive Dysfunction also exhibit other signs, including:

  • House soiling 
  • Decreased activity
  • Decreased attention
  • Disorientation
  • Pacing
  • Vocalization (often for no reason)
  • Staring (sometimes at walls)
  • Changes in sleep cycles (wandering at night)
  • Withdrawing from interactions with family members
  • Anxiety