Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Protecting Your Pet: Aging Pets
This evening, we're introducing a new weekly segment. Every Wednesday, Health Specialist Marilyn Mitzel is going to show us how to protect our pets. Tonight, we begin with one issue many animal owners must face - what to do when your furry friend starts the aging process.
(WSVN) -- She's your faithful companion.
He gives you unconditional love.
Unfortunately, our furry friends - age fast.
Three months - is equivalent to a kindergartner.
At one - a teenager.
Four - 30-something.
Eight - the big 5-0.
By 15 - a senior citizen.
"You want to play the part of the baby?" saysRobert Dandrea to his dog Noogie.
Sooner - but - hopefully later - you may see changes.
"When did you first notice her decline?" Marylin asks.
"The first changes probably started when she was around 10 or 12," answers Robert. "She was kind of turning into an old lady.
You could noticeably see her slowing up."
Vets have discovered dogs and even cats can get something like Alzheimer's.
It's called cognitive dysfunction syndrome or C.D.S.
Veterinarian Dr. Amy Clemmons says, "That takes place in aging dogs. That has to do with physical and chemical changes in the brain."
Autopsies reveal that the brains of old dogs and cats are often clogged with plaque - similar to Alzheimer's patients.
But there's hope.
"There's a treatment for it," says Dr. Amy Clemmons.
Ldeprenyl [l-dep-ra-nil] - a drug used for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's in humans may reverse similar symptoms in many dogs.
It increases dopamine in the brain - restoring sharpness.
Dr. Michael Fusco from Adams Veterinary Clinic says, "There's no question they seem to have a higher level of alertness they seem to be more active."
But there are side effects.
"Irritability, restlessness, crying out and panting," says Dr. Fusco.
Research shows - vomiting - diarrhea - and behavioral changes were mild to moderate.
Chelsea was 13 when she began changing.
Chelsea's dad, Jules Campell says, "Sometimes she would have that kind of glazed look in her eyes, like she didn't know where she was or who we were."
To their delight - the drug restored Chelsea's vigor.
Jules says, "I think it's probably added two years of her life that we couldn't have had without it."Vets expect to see more senility in cats and dogs as medical advances keep them alive longer.
Owners can help - by scheduling regular checkups ... and, of course...
"A lot of love," says Robert
Don't ever disregard changes in your dog or cat as just signs of old age. It could be a sign of something more serious. If you're in doubt - see your vet.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Michael Fusco
Adams Vet Clinic
Teacups Puppies And Boutique
Humane Society Of Broward County