Help for pets with dementia

I have had dogs who suffered from cognitive decline or dementia in their old age. Often these dogs are put down because they can no longer function properly. I wish this product had been available years ago.

Noted Veterinary Surgeon Dr. Theresa Fossum Adds CogniCaps, a cognitive function supplement, to her Popular Line of Natural Animal Supplements

Noted veterinary surgeon Dr. Theresa Fossum DVM, MS, Ph.D., Diplomate ACVS, and author of the most referenced book on its topic, Small Animal Surgery, has added a new product to her popular line of natural animal supplements Dr. Fossum’s Pet CareCogniCaps, to support healthy brain function in aging dogs.

Dr. Curtis Dewey, a veterinary neurologist with extensive knowledge of the brain concerns aging dogs often experience, collaborated on the development of CogniCaps with Dr. Fossum. The supplement, a combination of eastern and western modalities, was created in an easy to administer capsule format and contains a proprietary blend including our own BioCog formula (registration pending) plus vitamin E, zinc, naturally occurring phytochemicals such as curcumin, oral S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), and phosphatidylserine, a membrane phospholipid. In addition, the supplement contains a number of herbs from Traditional Chinese Medicine that have been shown to support cognitive function.

According to Dr. Dewey, the estimated prevalence of cognitive concerns in older dogs generally varies between 14% and 35% of the pet dog population; however, these numbers are likely an underestimation. As with people, cognitive decline in dogs can increase dramatically with age; as many as half of all dogs 11-12 years old are likely experiencing age-related decline, and nearly 70% of dogs over the age of 15 are affected. Importantly, dogs may show evidence of brain changes as early as 4-6 years of age.

Even mild or moderate changes in cognitive ability can make living with affected pets difficult. Dogs may become disoriented and frequently become “stuck” in a corner of a room, they may urinate or defecate in the house because they may be temporarily confused about where the appropriate place to go is. They may seem stressed, they may bark at inappropriate sounds or objects, and they may become less interactive with their owners. Affected dogs often develop sleep disturbances (they are active and may vocalize at night, but they sleep during the day). In a word, these pets show signs of senility.  

Dogs affected with changes in cognitive ability typically respond well to intervention, especially if instituted early in the process. Precautionary measures such as dietary changes and environmental enrichment can both help, and slow the progression of cognitive decline due to aging. This suggests that simple changes including health supplements as provided in CogniCaps may be generally advisable in pet dogs as they approach middle age.

Because there are so many individual health supplements for cognitive decline, veterinarians and their clients are often faced with the prospect of recommending multiple separate supplements to produce a positive response. It is also common practice to separate the recommendation into the categories of western and eastern medicine. Again, this conceptualization leads to the necessity of multiple supplements-both western (conventional) and eastern (non-conventional, holistic, etc.). Although pet owners often will administer multiple supplements to their senior dogs, it can be challenging. Also, it is unlikely that the average pet owner will administer multiple supplements to a well seeming middle-aged dog. CogniCaps is a truly integrative health supplement, combining a mixture of both western and eastern ingredients in one small capsule, allowing for ease of use for pet guardians to support keeping dogs’ minds sharp as they age.

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For more information on CogniCaps, please see https://drfossums.com/product/cognicaps-cognitive-function-supplement/. For information on Dr. Fossum’s full line of natural pet wellness products please see https://drfossums.com.

The Tools to XEL: Poetry for Prosperity by Lex Sloot

The Tools to XEL: Poetry for Prosperity by Lex Sloot, ISBN: 9-780975267912, 415 pgs. Hardcover, $29.95

This is an unusual book because through poetry and prose, this book is a guide for successful living. For example, in chapter 9 he states, “You are the Author of your own life story; All failings are yours, But so is the Glory.” There are 17 chapters that cover all aspects of life. Another example is: “Victory is not intended for him to tried and then surrendered.” The book has an index of Trucepts that allows the reader to find the topic that he needs advice about. What makes this book very unique is that although it has truisms, they are easy and fun to read. Some of the topics are: Your ally is adversity; Your magic mind contains the key; Your potential; There’s lesson to be learned; and Persevere while others fear. Sloot has mastered the advice genre in a fun and easy to read book.

Viability: The Essence of Existence, a book review

Viability: The Essence of Existence by Lex Sloot, ISBN: 13-978-0-9864287-6-0,

433 pgs. $29.95, hardcover.

This is an amazing book filled with practical advice, and philosophy. Viability deals with all of life’s challenges and concerns that everyone faces at one time or another. For example, in the section of his book titled Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Sloot states in his book that today, this is the historical present. What an interesting thought and a new way to look at today. The book includes an Index of Trucepts that covers every situation that a person might face. There is so much in this book that it is hard to write a comprehensive book review. Some of the topics in the book are: People deceive; Our customers tell us; My inner truth; Life is not always fair; I made a mistake; All individuals; Do not lose ground; and If you are driven, are just examples of the topics he covers.

I especially liked the section about government which in an unemotional way, explains the true dynamics of how the government works. Not only is this a worthy book to have, but it would be a wonderful gift for anyone from a teen to an adult. This is one of the most unusual books, with sage advice that I have not seen in a long time. There are three basic chapters with about 25 topics in each chapter.

You can purchase this book on Amazon

Parrots as pets

Many people have parrots and parakeets of all varieties as pets. However, if you go to a bird rescue organization, you will see many, even hundreds of birds that were given up for adoption. Some of the birds will constantly squawk, or pluck out their feathers, some to the point where they have no feathers left. Some pace or sway back and forth or bite their cages. These birds are suffering from mental illness which was brought on by an unstimulating environment. It is similar to keeping a person in solitary confinement. The research by Dr. Georgia Mason, director of U of G’s Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare has determined that the more intelligent parrots and other highly intelligent mammals, need an enriched environment to maintain mental health.

Sweet Pea

If a person wishes to have a parrot for a pet, be sure to research which bird will fit into your lifestyle. Some birds do not require as much stimulation as others. Also realize that birds are flock animals that need companionship. If a potential parrot owner plans to have a solitary bird, be prepared to meet the bird’s needs. Not doing so can cause the bird to become mentally ill and the owner will be forced to give the bird up for adoption or to a bird rescue organization.

If you have a bird and are having difficulty with it, or you are not sure which bird to get, please contact the parrot division of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants at iaabc.org.

Bird migration how you can help save birds

It is the time of year when birds migrate. One of the dangers to migratory birds are ground lights, even porch and street lights. Many birds are killed because of ground lights. We can help by turning off all outside lights when they are not needed. Here are two articles for you to read. The one is a newsletter that comes out very two weeks by Brome, a maker of the very best squirrel proof bird feeders. I know because I have tried them all. The Brome newsletter is free and anyone can subscribe to it. The newsletter is a great learning tool for adults and children. They also have a photo contest each month.

https://theconversation.com/want-to-save-millions-of-migratory-birds-turn-off-your-outdoor-lights-in-spring-and-fall-114476


https://bromebirdcare.com/bbn-5-20-a-visit-from-a-young-jay-birds-have-incredible-vision-new-species-discovered-lights-out/?ct=t(BBN_Episode_499_20_2016_COPY_01)&goal=0_db27e6004d-3996b78197-176213157&mc_cid=3996b78197&mc_eid=cfe2b5e782

Indigo Bunting

Canine hookworms resistant to treatments

            Hookworms are a common problem in dogs. These worms have a hooklike mouth that attaches to the dog’s intestinal tract. There are serious consequences if a dog in highly infested. Currently the most prevalent breed to have hookworms are Greyhounds. The conditions that they are raised and raced in is conductive to the spread of hookworms.

            Because of the widespread adoption of racing greyhounds’ hookworms are spreading to other dogs as well. A dog does not have to ingest the worms to become infected. The larvae live in the soil and can burrow through the dog’s skin and paws. Also, a female can pass the worm to their puppies through their milk. Hookworms also can infect people.

            What is upsetting is that veterinarian researchers have found high levels of hookworms in dogs that were treated. It is important that dogs are retested after a treatment to ensure that all of the worms have been killed.

            The most upsetting thing about hookworms is that they are becoming resistant to the three medications used to deworm a dog. The researchers are concerned that only the drug resistant hookworms will be left and will spread. Right now, the only deworming medication that is successful in killing the resistant hookworms is emodepside. However, that medication is only approved for cats.

            What a dog owner can do is avoid dog parks, where hookworms can live. Have your dog tested for worms frequently, especially if it is an adopted Greyhound, and make sure if your dog has hookworms, retest after treatment.

Juvenile epilepsy in Parsons Russell Terriers

When epileptic seizures caused the death in some Parsons Russell Terriers at six to twelve weeks of age, researchers delved into the cause. These puppies’ seizures were so severe that they died and medication would not help them. The researchers at the University of Helsinki found a gene disorder similar to the cause of Alzheimer’s in humans.

Riley, PRT

They developed a test that can determine if a dog carries this recessive gene. Because the gene is recessive, both the sire and dam must carry it to produce the defect in dogs. Therefore, it is essential that breeders of PRT’s have their dogs tested before they breed.

Behavior and personality traits identified in cats

With cats being the number one pet, there is surprising little research about their personality and behavior traits, especially in relation to cat breeds. This study has managed to explore the world of cats. They studied 4300 cats in 26 breed groups. Their study was the most extensive and significant to date and opens the door for further research.

By using questionnaires in an efficient manner, the researchers at the University of Helsinki have identified the following:

  • Activity/playfulness
  • Fearfulness
  • Aggression towards humans
  • Sociability towards humans
  • Sociability towards cats
  • Litterbox issues (relieving themselves in inappropriate places, precision in terms of litterbox cleanliness and substrate material)
  • Excessive grooming
Turkish Angora – Bonnie

 According to the study, “The most fearful breed was the Russian Blue, while the Abyssinian was the least fearful. The Bengal was the most active breed, while the Persian and Exotic were the most passive. The breeds exhibiting the most excessive grooming were the Siamese and Balinese, while the Turkish Van breed scored considerably higher in aggression towards humans and lower in sociability towards cats.”

The result of this study coincided with a previous study, giving it more validity.

Author’s Note: It is just as important for anyone who plans to add a cat to their home to be aware of the personality traits of cats as it is for future dog owners to select the right type of dog for their living arrangements. Even if a cat is a mixed breed, certain physical characteristics can give the potential cat owner an idea of the breed group it comes from, helping them make a selection.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel have the most harmful genetics

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has been a breed for over 1000 years. However, during that time there were “bottlenecks” in the breeding of these dogs where only a small number of dogs were bred.

Researchers studied eight different breeds and found that the Cav had the greatest number of disease-causing genes than any of the other breeds studied. They are especially prone to heart disease.

picabay photo

Note: The study only sampled a limited number of dogs of each breed studied. While this is a good indicator, I would have liked to see a larger number of dogs tested from a wider geographical area. However, breeders who sincerely love their breed, what ever it is, can improve the breed by selective breeding for the right reasons. Too many people breed indiscriminately and do not test their dogs for genetic defects. As a canine behavior consultant, I have seen the results of this for my entire career.

Does my dog have separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a genetic issue. This means that owners do not cause it, however, they can bring it out in a dog and intensify it. Research has shown that dogs that are noise shy, such as a fear of thunderstorms tend to also have separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a panic attack and is very similar to a panic attack in people. It is not fun to have and if it happens often enough, such as when a dog is left alone frequently, can cause the dog’s quality of life to degrade. Imagine being afraid for eight to ten hours, five or more days a week. It is also important to understand that separation anxiety is very stressful, and a dog’s health is affected the same as a person from constant stress. Therefore, separation anxiety not only destroys a dog’s mental health, but can also harm their long-term physical health as well.

Riley – Parsons Russell Terrier

Before you determine that your dog has separation anxiety, you must rule out medical issues that can cause the same symptoms. This will require a thorough examination by your veterinarian. The examination should check for the following:

CBC, Chemical profile, thyroid profile, urinalysis and fecal exam, dental health, GI distress, diabetes, renal failure, colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

After you have ruled out any medical reasons for your dog’s behavior you can then examine the behaviors.

Before you label your dog as having separation anxiety, you must determine if your dog is simply behaving as a normal dog. Puppies, chew and destroy things. Is your dog completely housebroken? Is something teasing your dog outside of your home, making him bark? Is your dog marking? Did you change his food or give him a treat that made him unable to wait to eliminate?

A dog can have various levels of separation anxiety. Like any fear or anxiety, it gets worse the longer the dog has it. Older dogs tend not to respond to treatment as well as younger dogs. Therefore, the behavior associated with separation anxiety will not just “go away” or get better with time. It will get worse until it could reach a level were the dog harms himself.

The symptoms are:

Pacing, drooling, vocalization, destructive behavior and inappropriate elimination of urine and feces, usually randomly throughout the house. Often the feces will have mucus in them and do not appear the same as normal stools.

If you determine that your dog does suffer from separation anxiety, it is best to contact a certified canine behavior consultant because the treatment can vary widely and should be tailored to your living arrangements and the dog’s needs. In some cases, medication may be necessary and, in that case, you would need to consult with a veterinarian behaviorist who understands which medications are best and how to administer the medications and how to wean your dog off of them. A non-veterinarian behavior consultant who understands the medications can work with your veterinarian.

The question that I am often asked is how can a person determine if a puppy is prone to separation anxiety. There is no hard and fast rule, but typically if a young puppy cannot be crated, it is often a good indication that the puppy is prone to separation anxiety.

Remember, the sooner you address the problem the better the chance you will be able to get it under control. All behaviors are learned very quickly. An example is a dog who becomes frightened of thunderstorms and as he experiences more storms, he learns that as the barometric pressure changes, a storm is coming and starts to shake before the storm arrives. He will even act as if a storm is coming when the pressure changes and no storm comes.

The breeds that are most likely to have separation anxiety are:

            Labrador Retriever

            Border Collie

            Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

            Jack Russell Terrier

            German Shepherd

            Australian Shepherd

            Bichon Frise

            Vizsla

To find a qualified behavior consultant go to www.iaabc.org