Diagnosis of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Diagnosing Canine Cognitive Dysfunction:


Ping was diagnosed with Canine Cognative Dysfunction (CCD) on December 14th 2015.  I had been taking him to the Vet weeks and months prior to his diagnosis because there was something wrong with him, but I couldn’t tell the vet what it was exactly.

His symptoms presented a few months ago.  Initially he would scream in his sleep (see what Ive prepared for the bet below). The Vet initially thought that he was in some sort of pain and prescribed him Tramadol, and asked me to give him some Melatonin (3mg) at night.

The Melatonin seemed to work, but the Tramadol did nothing.  I continued to give him Melatonin when the Tramadol was gone, and he continued to sleep throughout the night, until a few weeks ago when he started to exhibit additional symptoms.   At the time, I was really scared and didn’t really know how the hell I was going to explain to my Veternarian what was going on without breaking down and crying, so I typed them all up so I could methodically go through them all with her in order.  Here’s what I typed up for her.

Previous Symptoms

  • Screaming in the middle of the night.
    • Vocalizing (like a human scream) that would last about 10 – 15 seconds.
    • During these vocalizations he would stiffen and his legs would stand straight out, and they were stiff.
    • After the vocalizations, he would arch his back back and forth, sometimes wiggling himself off the bed. If he didn’t fall off the bed, he would suddenly “snap out of it” and look around a bit confused and fall right back to sleep.

New Symptoms

  • Ping seems like he is looking around the house for me, this happens very often
    • I will call his name and he will not respond (although he will hear me just fine at other times)
    • If I walk up to Ping and touch his back gently he will snap out of it and be like “oh, ok.. there she is” and follow me back to where I was sitting.
    • This will repeat all night.
  • I will find Ping standing near the corner, with his face facing the corner.
  • He wont go up and down the stairs any longer, although he is perfectly physically capable of doing it.
  • He used to BEG to sit in my lap, now he shows almost NO interest in being near me.
    • At bed time, he used to lay with his head on my pillow, and now he cant get far enough away from me.
    • Does not want to be picked up.
  • Because I often have to touch him to let him know where I am, It often scares him, and he’s tried to bite me.
  • Drinking MUCH more water and peeing when he shouldn’t (Im not sure if they are related?)
  • Very restless as night, seems to be panting more. He is keeping me up at night and usually settles down around 4:30 am.
  • If I let him, he will stand under a chair in my dining room for hours and hours, not moving. It’s like he is in a trance. When I call his name or get up close to him, he doesn’t even flinch.  Its only when I touch him that he snaps out of it.


On his good days, he alerts me when I get home, he still wags his tail, and hops up to get my attention, is excited to go outside, and get treats…but I feel like his bad days are now outweighing his good days. –

It really helped me to have all this prepared and ready to go when I got to the Vet.  She also appreciated that I had done so.  I did not break down and cry, forget things, or get emotional and that only helps her do her job.  Because of Pings age, she wanted to rule out problems with his Throyid, Kidney, Liver and Pancreas (Ping has a history of pancreas problems) so she ran the appopriate tests and said she would call me the next day with results.  She aslo did a physical exam and wanted a stool sample (which I had also brought with me).

Ping in 2006, before Canine Cognative Dysfunction.

Ping in 2006, before Canine Cognative Dysfunction.

She called me the next day and said “Ping is the healthiest 15 year old dog Ive ever examined”.  She explained that there was absolutley nothing wrong with any of his organs, or his bones (besides his teeth.. he is too old for dentals and his teeth arent the greatest anymore).  Because she was able to rule out all of the things that would cause any one of his symptoms, she consulted with other veternarians and came to the conclusion that Ping met several criteria of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.

I brought Ping back into the Vet to discuss options.  She explained that there is a drug called Anipryl that is used on Humans to treat Parkinsons disease that has had some good results in Dogs with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.  That combined with diet, and some different drugs (which I will talk about on another post) is Ping’s treatment plan.

I am going to try this treatment plan for a few months, and if there is no significant improvement in Ping; I will have to say good bye.  If Ping continues to decline, or even remain where he is now; I would consider that he is suffering.  Ping is no longer there.  He doesnt recognize me and is constantly restless.  That is not my Ping, that is a suffering dog, and I wont let it continue.


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