More than one in four cat and dog owners do not know their pet can develop cognitive dysfunction syndrome, according to a new survey commissioned by Vets4Pets.
The research is part of a wider campaign by the group to raise consumer and industry awareness of cognitive dysfunction in a bid to improve early detection and help pet owners to better manage the condition.
The study of 2,000 owners found many are unaware of early indicators such as confusion, anxiety, restlessness, and a decreased desire to play – and half would not be confident identifying these symptoms in their pet. Almost two thirds (62%) would put any significant behavioural changes in their pet down to them just getting old, and more than three in five admitted they can find it difficult to understand the signs of when they should be taking their pet to visit the vet.
Research has shown that 28% of cats aged 11-15 years show at least one clinical sign of cognitive dysfunction, with this figure increasing to 50% in cats over 15 years of age. The prevalence in dogs is also significant, with some estimates indicating that 28% of 11-12 year-old dogs and 68% of 15-16 year-old dogs are showing clinical signs of the condition.
As part of the campaign, Vets4Pets has sponsored a free webinar to increase industry awareness of cognitive dysfunction syndrome. Hosted by Dr Sarah Heath, RCVS and European veterinary specialist in behavioural medicine, the webinar explores ways in which practitioners can improve the detection of the condition and what they should be asking pet owners to help identify the early indicators of the condition in older pets.
The recording is available for the whole industry to watch online for a year. To watch, visit: https://vimeo.com/684610594/3d9d258bcb