What is Dementia?
Dementia in cats has been likened to senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in aged humans. Accordingly, you need to know what to do when the condition affects your pet.
As your cat ages, health complications and disorders are inevitable. One of the main health conditions that are highly likely to affect an aging cat is dementia. It is also known as cognitive dysfunction, which is simply a decline in the cat’s brain-related abilities including response to stimuli, retention of memory, and general awareness. In addition, its immune system grows weaker.
Symptoms of Dementia in Cats
If your cat has hit the 10-year mark in its age, you are likely to begin noticing the signs of dementia. However, advances in veterinary medicine have gone a long way in lengthening the lives of cats to more than 20 years. Therefore, the following symptoms don’t mean the end of life for your pet.
- Excessive sleeping
- Disinterest in playing
- Reduced appetite
- Increased irritability
- Disregard to defecating and urinating training
- Forgetfulness of familiar routes
- Staring at nothing for a long period
- Excessive licking
- Inconsistent sleep cycle
- Waking at night to make loud meowing noises
Causes of Dementia in Cats
What exactly causes dementia in cats has not yet been determined. However, the genetics of the cats may play a role in the onset of the condition. In addition, there are various other factors that contribute greatly to development of dementia, including:
- Inflammation of the tissues
- Metabolic disease
Diagnosis of Dementia in Cats
When diagnosing dementia in your cat, its health history is significant. You will need to let the veterinarian know the date when you first noticed the condition as well as any possible causes. Only then can a physical examination be conducted for an analysis of the entire health condition of the cat.
The veterinarian will carry out tests including ultrasounds, x-rays, and blood tests. The aim is to ensure that there are no other causes to the changes of the cat’s behavior apart from dementia. A specialist in animal behavior may be called in if examination of the cerebrospinal fluid and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) on the cat does not show any damages in its brain.
Keep in mind that noticing of the signs alone does not confirm the presence of the condition in your cat. For instance, aversion to food and water can also mean that the cat is in pain. In addition, older cats cut down greatly on playing, preferring to while away their time sleeping. It doesn’t mean they have a case of dementia; they are simply too old to play with as much verve as kittens.
Treatment of Dementia in Cats
When the veterinarian picks out dementia as the most possible cause of behavioral changes in your cat, he or she may give a prescription aimed at eliminating anxiety, such as fluoxetine. The drugs also help in fighting off or reducing the effects of the condition.
Once the doubts of dementia presence have been removed, you’ll have to ensure that your cat gets perfect therapy and support for the remainder of its life. Fortunately, the responsibility of the cat’s health is not entirely left to the veterinarian. There is a lot for you to do in the quest of ensuring that your pet cognitive functions are improved and you have a chance to give it your best.
Your cat’s diet is a great determinant when it comes to reducing the effects of senility in its health. Inclusion of antioxidants and vitamin E and C in it will do a lot more good than harm. The diet should also have additional nutrients such as selenium, beta-carotene, omega 3, carnitine and flavonoids.
Recovery of Dementia in Cats
After the first treatment, checkups by the veterinarian should be a continuous process in order to make sure that it has the desired response to medication and therapy. If you notice any change of course in its behavior, it is advisable to let the veterinarian know about it as soon as possible. However, you can narrow down the veterinary checkups to twice a year if the response is steady.
When your cat is fresh from the veterinarian, try as much as possible to get rid of anything that may be stressful to it including the presence of animals that may make it feel intimidated. Additionally, provide the proper amenities for improvement of its comfort. Also, ensure that the litter box is easily accessible.
Remember, treatment of dementia is not designed to completely eliminate the condition. What matters most is the period of time between the onset and the actual treatment. By making an early appointment with a veterinarian, you will have an upper hand against the disease since it will be easier to treat and manage it. In addition, create a consistent program involving training and exercise as well as enough time for playing in a comfortable and encouraging environment.
Dementia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
my cat has dementia she was just diagnosis with it last month she is 16 years old, the vet told me to give her vitiamins like fish oil and i tried mixing it with her regular food but she wouldnt eat itwhat should i do about that
If Angel Marie doesn’t like the taste of fish oil in her food, you might try administering capsules like a tablet which she may respond better to. Try to hide it in something else, but if all else fails you can try placing it at the back of her throat holding her head straight up and rubbing her neck. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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