Dinky is a 14 year old Rat Terrier who has Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, or as it is also known, Canine Senile Dementia.
She’s funny, opinionated, independent, feisty, and down right cute. Unfortunately, because of her disease, which is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in people, Dinky also has anger issues, has lost of all of her normal inhibitions that would protect her from harm, and her training skills have disappeared. Her owner, Melissa Duffy of Carlsbad, Calif. says, “Dinky is, emotionally, a toddler. She has mood swings and overreactions, and mild things will sometimes set her off. I’ve learned to carry dog treats in my pocket because when she sees a treat, her mood will change and she’ll be ecstatic.”
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) is not new to dogs although more is known about it now than in the past. To diagnose CCD, a veterinarian will want to do a complete physical exam, then will ask you a number of questions about your dog’s health, habits, and the behavioral changes you’ve seen. Some aging issues, such as incontinence, can be a sign of CCD or several other diseases. Unfortunately, if your dog is diagnosed with CCD, there is no cure. There are a few medications available now which may slow the progression of the disease, but deciding if one might be appropriate for your dog will be up to you and your veterinarian as they might interfere with other medications or have side effects. Duffy did find that Dinky was allergic to one of the medications but was able to take another which did seem to help her for a while.