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J Vet Intern Med. 2015 Nov-Dec;29(6):1569-77. doi: 10.1111/jvim.13633. Epub 2015 Oct 13.

Cognitive Function, Progression of Age-related Behavioral Changes, Biomarkers, and Survival in Dogs More Than 8 Years Old.

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Department of Veterinary Clinical and Animal Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
Section for Epidemiology, Technical University of Denmark, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.



Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) is an age-dependent neurodegenerative condition dominated by changes in behavioral patterns. Cohort studies investigating cognitive status in dogs are lacking.


To investigate cognitive function, progression of age-related behavioral changes, survival, and possible biomarkers of CCD in aged dogs.


Fifty-one dogs >8 years old; 21 with no cognitive deficits, 17 with mild cognitive impairments (MCI) and 13 with CCD.


Longitudinal study. Recruitment period of 12 months and an observational period of 24 months including a baseline and 3 planned subsequent assessments. Cognitive status was determined using validated questionnaires. Plasma Aβ-peptides were quantified using commercial ELISA assays and cytokines by a validated immunoassay.


Signs characterizing dogs with CCD were aimless wandering, staring into space, avoid getting patted, difficulty finding dropped food and anxiety. Thirty-three percent of dogs with a normal cognitive status progressed to MCI and 22% classified as MCI progressed to CCD during the study period. For 6 dogs diagnosed with CCD, signs of cognitive dysfunction increased with time. A diagnosis of CCD did not affect survival. The level of plasma Aβ42 was significantly increased (P < .05) in the CCD group (92.8 ± 24.0 pg/mL) compared to the MCI (77.0 ± 12.3 pg/mL) and normal group (74.9 ± 10.0 pg/mL), but no significant differences in concentrations of systemic inflammatory markers were detected.


Canine cognitive dysfunction is a progressive disorder with an individual variability in the rate of cognitive decline and clinical signs. Plasma Aβ42 seems to be an interesting plasma biomarker of CCD.


Amyloid-beta; Canine; Dementia; Geriatric; Longitudinal

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