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Effects of a four-week group class created for dogs at least eight years of age on the development and progression of signs of cognitive dysfunction syndrome

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  • 1 From the Departments of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
  • | 2 Departments of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess the effects of a 4-week group class specifically created for dogs ≥ 8 years old (senior dogs) on the development and progression of signs consistent with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).

ANIMALS

86 dogs with or without signs of CDS at the time of study enrollment.

PROCEDURES

Dog owners completed a proprietary CDS survey at baseline and then 3, 6, and 12 months after completion of the baseline survey. Twenty owners with their dogs attended 4 weekly 50-minute classes that were specifically developed for senior dogs, addressed common behavior problems for these dogs, and included training and enrichment activities. Survey results were compared between class and nonclass groups and within groups at 3, 6, and 12 months.

RESULTS

The association between age and CDS score was significant, such that older dogs had signs consistent with a higher degree of impairment. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome scores for dogs that attended the class did not significantly differ at 12 months, compared with scores at 3 months, whereas the CDS scores for dogs that did not attend the class were significantly increased at 12 months, compared with scores at 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Signs of CDS developed or worsened as dogs aged. Participation in the senior dog class mitigated the progression of signs of CDS and may improve a senior dog's quality of life.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess the effects of a 4-week group class specifically created for dogs ≥ 8 years old (senior dogs) on the development and progression of signs consistent with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).

ANIMALS

86 dogs with or without signs of CDS at the time of study enrollment.

PROCEDURES

Dog owners completed a proprietary CDS survey at baseline and then 3, 6, and 12 months after completion of the baseline survey. Twenty owners with their dogs attended 4 weekly 50-minute classes that were specifically developed for senior dogs, addressed common behavior problems for these dogs, and included training and enrichment activities. Survey results were compared between class and nonclass groups and within groups at 3, 6, and 12 months.

RESULTS

The association between age and CDS score was significant, such that older dogs had signs consistent with a higher degree of impairment. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome scores for dogs that attended the class did not significantly differ at 12 months, compared with scores at 3 months, whereas the CDS scores for dogs that did not attend the class were significantly increased at 12 months, compared with scores at 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Signs of CDS developed or worsened as dogs aged. Participation in the senior dog class mitigated the progression of signs of CDS and may improve a senior dog's quality of life.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Table S1 (PDF 117 KB)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. O'Brian (mobrian27@gmail.com).