Aging is never an easy thing and like us, some pets age more gracefully than others. Recently Kern Road Veterinary Clinic introduced our Golden Years Day Camp to help owners screen for potential health problems. This commitment to helping our senior patients stay vital extends over to behavior as well as medical.

Cognitive dysfunction is a broad term that describes a breakdown in the brains ability to process information and react. The development of behavior problems later in life can be a result of cognative dysfunction. The signs that a pet may be developing this are similar to senility in humans. They may become disoriented, change bathroom patterns, alter sleep cycles, develop anxiety issues and interact less with the family. The level of dysfunction can very greatly from occasionally showing one of the previous signs to demonstrating many signs at intense levels.

Many senior diets have begun including high levels of antioxidants to help prevent the onset of cognitive dysfunction. These antioxidants reduce the number of free radicals in the brain and allow for better neuron function. The presence of antioxidants in a diet have been proven to help reverse the effects of cognitive dysfunction. For severely effected patients, some medications have also been developed.

If the presence of antioxidants helps reverse the effects of cognitive dysfunction, the question should be asked: What would happen if we supplemented with a decent vitamin and mineral supplement throughout life? Kern Road Veterinary Clinic has begun offering a complete line of supplements to address this potential issue.

Mental and physical stimulation play a huge role in preventing and reversing the effects of cognitive dysfunction. Motivation training, trick training, daily walks off of the property and interactive play are all very important for our senior pets. Using the brain will keep it healthy and significantly more active.

Older pets that are starting to develop behavior problems should receive a medical exam first. Various medical problems can manifest themselves through behavior changes. A comprehensive exam, blood work including organ function and checking thyroid may be indicated. Radiographs may also be necessary. The diagnosis of Cognitive Dysfunction can only be made by ruling out other causes for the onset of these behaviors.