Does your cat have dementia? Local vet says feline dementia underdiagnosed
- It's not just humans; cats can get dementia too
- Veterinary behaviour specialist Dr Aileen Pypers says more research is needed into understanding feline dementia
Like humans, cats are also capable of developing neurodegenerative diseases.
Cape veterinarian Dr. Aileen Pypers says cats that are fortunate enough to live a long life may develop some level of feline dementia.
Dr. Pypers says there's not enough data on the prevalence of feline dementia but the disease is often underdiagnosed.
Feline dementia, also known as cognitive dysfunction, usually develops in senior cats 12 years and older.
Dr. Pypers says dementia often results in a gradual decline in a cat's cognitive abilities.
Symptoms of cat dementia can often include changes in behaviour such as disorientation, relentless pacing, excessive vocalisation, sleep disturbances, and any other behavior deemed "abnormal" by the owner.
Dr. Pypers says pharmaceutical companies are only now starting to invest in the research and development of medicines and treatment methodologies for feline dementia.
She advises that senior cats should have at least two check-ups a year to rule out any other underlying conditions.
It's part of the problem with pets that are living longer, they are subjected to more age-related disease and people are not always aware of that.Dr. Aileen Pypers, Veterinarian and veterinary behaviour specialist - Pets At Play
Dogs and cats can both develop cognitive dysfunction which then progresses to dementia because they have the same brain structures as humans do.Dr. Aileen Pypers, Veterinarian and veterinary behaviour specialist - Pets At Play
These diseases are not well studied, the biggest problem with something like dementia is the lack of treatment options available because it's a more 'recent' problem.Dr. Aileen Pypers, Veterinarian and veterinary behaviour specialist - Pets At Play
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