Study: Older dogs who sleep poorly may have dementia


In a North Carolina veterinary lab, Woofus, a 15-year-old hound mix, lets researchers attach electroencephalography, or EEG, electrodes to his head before stuffing him into a dark, cozy room for an afternoon nap.

While he is napping, the study team will analyze Foss’s brain waves to judge the quality of his sleep. Woofus suffers from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, or CCDS, a canine disorder that is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Elderly dog ​​owners say he struggles to get enough rest at night.

“Just like humans with Alzheimer’s disease, dogs with Alzheimer’s disease experience sleep disturbances, such as insomnia and sleep fragmentation,” said veterinarian Dr. Natasha Olby, professor of neurology, neurosurgery and gerontology at North Carolina State Veterinary College in Raleigh.

Woofus isn’t the only sleep-deprived dog in this study. On other days in the clinic, Jake, a 13-year-old pointer, and Coco, a 12-year-old dachshund, among others, might be taking naps while researchers look inside their brains.

“Owners of dogs with CCDS have reported that their dogs have difficulty sleeping at night, increased daytime sleepiness or both, as well as rapid vocalizations and vocalizations at night,” Olby said. “This can be very difficult for dog owners—not only are they worried about their pet, but their sleep is also greatly disrupted.”

John Joyner / NC State Veterinary Medicine

Koko, a 12-year-old dachshund, had no problem dozing off when hooked up to EEG electrodes.

To see if sleep problems in dogs signal early signs of dementia as they do in people, Olby and her team turned to a group of senior dogs enrolled in an ongoing study to test anti-aging supplements. Twice a year, she said, the dogs visit and “do all sorts of really fun cognitive tests.” “They really enjoy it and love the therapists they work with.”

To be considered for an anti-aging study, a dog must have lived to more than 75% of the life expectancy for his breed or breed mix. A dog also cannot be crippled by arthritis or go blind, because the pet needs to be able to perform tasks designed to test its cognitive abilities.

A dog might, for example, be asked to find a treat hidden under a cup or a snack inside a cylinder that had been sealed at one end by a researcher. By repeating the tasks in the clinic every six months, any decrease in the dog’s mental speed or performance can be tracked.

John Joyner / NC State Veterinary Medicine

Woofus, 15, a hound mix, plays “find the cure” games with the researchers.

For the new study that measures a dog’s brain waves during sleep, the researchers used a form of EEG called polysomnography, which is used in sleep clinics to diagnose sleep problems in people.

“It’s the gold standard way of looking at what the brain is doing while we sleep,” Olby said, adding that this is the first dog study to apply the same technique used in humans.

“We stick these electrodes on with a really cool water-soluble conductive glue. And then we wash them off afterwards,” she said. “We don’t use anywhere near as many electrodes as you see on people in the sleep lab, because dogs have a crust and surface area Much less to cover.”

She said she feels really comfortable with the staff, and it wasn’t too difficult to train her 28 large dogs to wear electrodes and walk around with dangling wires without complaint.

John Joyner / NC State Veterinary Medicine

Jake, a 13-year-old pointer, was one of 28 dogs trained to sleep using EEG electrodes.

To make dogs more comfortable while they nap, owners bring their dogs’ beds from home, which are placed in a white noise-sheltered room.

“The staff sits with them while they nap to make sure they don’t try to pull or eat the electrodes or do anything that might hurt them,” Olby said.

When the brain waves during sleep were compared to a dog’s cognitive test, the researchers found that dogs with severe dementia spent less time in deep sleep and REM sleep, just as people do. The study was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

“The dogs that performed worse on memory tests had levels of REM sleep that were not as deep as they should be,” Olby said. “We found the same thing when it came to deep sleep.”

While no one knows the exact mechanism at work — either in humans or in dogs — research like this study It may help scientists better understand the process and find ways to manipulate it, Olby says.

“There is a possibility that we might be able to identify an early signature of change on an EEG that could tell us, ‘Hey, things are starting to slip.'” Because with a chronic neurodegenerative process, we would of course like to be able to intervene sooner rather than later.”

In the meantime, there are medications for anxiety and melatonin for sleep that vets can prescribe as your dog gets older, Olby says. And, as with people, diet and exercise seem to be important factors.

“There have been some really nice studies that show that diets rich in flavonoids, antioxidants, and medium-chain fatty acids can slow the progression of dementia in dogs,” she said. “It’s just like people — if you can eat a Mediterranean diet and do your exercise, you’ll do better.”

Dog dementia is a troubling reality for many senior dogs. Research has found that by the age of 11 or 12, 28% of dogs had mild mild and 10% had severe cognitive impairment. By the time the dogs reached the age of 15, the risk had risen to 68% for cognitive impairment and 35% for severe cognitive impairment. Olby said a 2022 study found that the odds of cognitive impairment in dogs increased by 52% with each year of age.

Pet owners can look for signs of declining mental functioning in their dogs. According to Olby, vets use an acronym called DISHA-AL, which stands for disorientation, reaction changes, sleep/wake cycle alterations, and house soiling; activity changes (increase or decrease); And anxiety, learning and memory.

“One of the first signs is that you will start to see a little bit of confusion as you do with people, they suddenly start making some mistakes and things that you wouldn’t expect them to do,” Olby said.

Courtesy Raymond Browner

“In general, it’s very good for animals to sleep with their people,” said Dr. Dana Farbell, chief veterinarian of the North American Veterinary Society.

“Do you really think there is enough room for you?” – Delilah, a 10-year-old Siberian Husky.

Stephanie Moody / Royce Rescue and Sanctuary

“Who said everyone doesn’t fit in bed? As long as I get the bulk so I can spread out, I’m great.” — Beast (lower right), a 106-pound European Doberman, with his sisters (clockwise from lower left) Buttercup and Bear; Brother Joey, lying on their human; and Sister Bailey.

David Alan

“Hi, I’m Tessie, a 4-year-old Australian Cattle Dog. I love sleeping with my girls so much that when they go to the store, I cuddle with their bed toys until they come back.”

Sandy Lamott/CNN

“In the animal world, related animals tend to sleep together,” Farbel said.

Lynx (top) and Luna (bottom) are two-year-old Siberian forest cats.

Courtesy Trent Lloyd

“Come on, Dad, that’s enough sport for tonight. It’s time for bed.” – Ellie, a 6-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, loves sleeping under the covers next to her skin.

Courtesy of Stephanie Moody/Royce Rescue and Sanctuary

Dogs and cats that share a human bed tend to have a “higher level of trust and a stronger bond with the humans in their lives,” Farbel said. “It’s a great display of trust on their part.”

Banshee, a 6-year-old husky mix, survived heartworms.

Courtesy Trent Lloyd

“When a dog turns their back on you, it’s an incredible sign of trust because that’s a very vulnerable position for them—they can’t watch for danger,” Farbel said.

Mason, a 3-year-old lab mix, loves sleeping next to his daddy every night but hates hoodies.

Sandy Lamott/CNN

“Dogs and cats that bond closely with their humans get additional health benefits,” Farbel said, including an increase in oxytocin and dopamine, the feel-good hormones.

“What? I don’t snore!” – Luna, a 2-year-old Siberian Forest Cat.

Courtesy of Ryan Bollea

“Make sure all pets in your home are up-to-date on the latest flea, tick, and internal parasite prevention, especially if you’ll be putting them in your bed,” Farbel advised.

Molly (left), a 15-year-old Cockapoo mix, loves sleeping under her human armpit, while Effie (right) prefers the end of the bed and hates getting up early.

Courtesy of Ryan Bollea

“Animals have different personalities, just like we do,” Farbel said. “Some people sleep with the lights on and some people like to sleep in complete darkness. One pet may be more protective, and the other has a more assertive personality.”

Effy, a 4-year-old Jack Russell terrier mix, has been known to crawl up to her human if she needs a little more affection.

Courtesy of Stephanie Moody/Royce Rescue and Sanctuary

Farbel said a dog who sleeps at the end of the bed with his face toward the door may have a more protective personality.

“Thank God the monster bed hog is gone so I can catch up to my beat.” Buttercup, a 4-year-old beagle-bulldog mix.

Sandy Lamott/CNN

“I may look like an angel, but at night I’ve been known to walk or sit on my skin and try to smell their breath. I also enjoy wrapping my two-footed adult body on their necks around 3am” –Lynx, a 2-year-old Siberian Forest cat.

She added that dogs may also lose learned behaviors, or forget to house train them and start having unintentional accidents around the house.

“There is the classic problem of wandering around and getting lost under the table or something — they can’t process information and know where they are. Changes in the sleep cycle, increased anxiety, all of those things are classic signs of dementia.

Do not assume that this is what is wrong with your dog. Just as with people, other health issues such as metabolic diseases, urinary tract infections, or even brain tumors can mimic the classic signs of dementia.

“High blood pressure can make dogs anxious, for example, so your vet needs to thoroughly examine the dog to rule out disease,” Olby said.

#Study #Older #dogs #sleep #poorly #dementia

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top