For veterinary teams, research supports what many (if not all) clinic teams already know. Many pet owners don’t recognize the early warning signs of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), a neurobiological disorder characterized by an age-related decline in the cognitive abilities of senior dogs and cats. As a result (noted by Veterinary Practice News), many pet owners don’t seek veterinary help until it’s too late for veterinarians to help the pet or owner.
To save time educating your veterinary clients about CDS and the early warning signs—and help advance the goals of National Senior Pet Month— download our free Senior Pets and CDS Awareness Kit with tools and resources to further client education on the importance of detecting CDS warning signs early.
The Prevalence of CDS
- For Dogs: Studies published by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found 28% of dogs age 11-12 had some level of CDS, and 68% of dogs age 15-16 had more predominant levels of CDS. Similarly, research published in Frontiers of Neuroscience found that CDS affects up to 60% of dogs 11 years of age or older.
- For Cats: According to research published in Today’s Veterinary Practice, 28% of cats age 11-14 showed signs of CDS, and 50% of cats age 15 and older showed greater signs of CDS. Similarly, research published in Topics in Companion Animal Medicine found almost one third of cats age 11-14 showed at least one behavioral problem related to CDS, and 50% of cats age 15 or older showed several behavioral problems related to CDS.
The Challenge for Pet Owners
As previously noted, many pet owners don’t recognize the early warning signs of CDS.
“The behavioral signs of CDS,” notes the Purina Institute, “are non-specific and may be initially dismissed by owners as inevitable with age. CDS can mimic the clinical signs associated with a number of health conditions, including osteoarthritis, thyroid disease, metabolic disorders, neoplasia, and kidney disease.”
Similarly, Lynne Seibert, DVM, writes in Today’s Veterinary Practice, “CDS is underdiagnosed because caregivers may assume behavior changes are a result of normal aging.”
How You Can Help Change This
To help educate your clients about how to recognize the early warning signs of CDS and the importance of addressing it early, download our free Senior Pets and CDS Awareness Kit.
Available for a limited time, our kit includes:
- An educational handout—Nutrition for Dogs with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS): Synopsis of a ClientEd Handout—that you can print or email
- A pre-written email template for your clients—5 Signs Your Senior Pet May Have Cognitive Dysfunction
- Two social media images that you can post on Facebook to further education around the importance of detecting the signs of CDS early