Senior Dog Survey
COGNITIVE DYSFUNCTION SYNDROME EVALUATION TOOL
Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is an irreversible degeneration of the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans, characterized by progressive cognitive impairment beyond that expected to occur with aging. CDS has a slow onset, can be difficult to manage and affects an estimated 14% of dogs 8 years and older.
What Is DISHAA?
In order for a dog to be diagnosed with CDS, owners must observe their dog exhibiting specific behaviors. The DISHAA Tool helps owners identify these behaviors, enabling veterinarians and owners to work together to assess a dog’s mental acuity.
- Gets stuck, difficulty getting around objects, goes to hinge side of door
- Stares blankly at walls, floor, or into space
- Does not recognize familiar people/familiar pets
- Gets lost in home or yard
- Less reactive to visual (sights) or auditory (sounds) stimuli
- More irritable/fearful/aggressive with visitors, family or other animals
- Decreased interest in approaching, greeting or affection/petting
- Pacing/restless/sleeps less/waking at night
- Vocalization at night
HOUSESOILING, LEARNING AND MEMORY
- Less able to learn new tasks or respond to previously learned commands/name/work
- Indoor soiling of urine or stool/decreased signaling to go out
- Difficulty getting dog’s attention/increased distraction/decreased focus
- Decrease in exploration or play with toys, family members, other pets
- Increased activity, including aimless pacing or wandering
- Repetitive behaviors (e.g., circling/chewing/licking/stargazing)
- Increased anxiety when separated from owners
- More reactive/fearful to visual (sights) or auditory (sounds) stimuli
- Increased fear of places/locations (e.g., new environments/going outdoors)
1Salvin, HE, McGreevy, PD, Sachdev, PS, & Valenzuela, MJ (2010). Underdiagnosis of canine cognitive dysfunction: a cross-sectional survey of
older companion dogs. Veterinary Journal (London, England : 1997), 184(3), 277–81. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2009.11.007
Please complete this canine senior pet cognitive assessment. If you’ve noticed changes in multiple behavioral categories, be sure to talk to your veterinarian today about the health of your pet’s aging brain.
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Once this form is completed, your veterinarian will determine the cause of these signs through a physical examination and recommended diagnostic tests. However, even if your senior pet is experiencing multiple health issues associated with aging, there may be some degree of CDS.
A score of 4-15 is consistent with mild, 16-33 is moderate, and >33 is severe CDS.