The pharmaceutical drug Anipryl (or generic selegiline) works to alter specific brain neurotransmitters. A standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease in people, it’s also been found to improve symptoms for some dogs with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). It’s estimated that 75% of treated dogs will show improvement in at least one clinical symptom within two months of therapy. Sounds impressive – but what this really means is that not all dogs will respond and results vary widely. This drugstore option is my Plan B. So let’s move on to Plan A.
Healthy brains need a supply of Omega-3 fatty acids (plentiful in fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel), phosphatidylcholine (prevalent in meat, fish and eggs), and the molecule S-adenosylmethionine, or SAMe (not found in foods – made by the body’s liver). It just makes sense to zero in on possible deficiencies in the diet and low levels of SAMe. So, my treatment plan is more of a recipe – asking what does the brain need to function better? It’s no different than baking a cake – leave out a critical ingredient, like baking powder, and it’s time for pancakes.
Starting with diet, include foods high in Omega-3 fats or be sure to add fish oils. Ignore products labeled only as fish oil. The specific amounts of EPA / DHA must be listed. Although DHA is the critical fat for brain function, the daily supplemental dose is calculated based on the EPA fraction: 20 mg / lb. Here’s a simple math calculation: If your dog weighs 15 pounds, multiply that by 20 which will equal 300mg’s of EPA. To boost phosphatidycholine levels, feed the high protein foods listed above and add the choline supplement Cholodin by MVP laboratories. To complete this recipe, add the wonder molecule SAMe. It also affects neurotransmitters and can be useful to treat depression in people. The dog dose is roughly 100mg per 10lbs. For quality and price, buy Doctor’s Best. Dogs less than 12lbs should take the veterinary product, Denamarin.
Now it’s time to follow the money – prescription pet food diets. Hill’s Science Diet has formulated its answer for the senior dog population – B/D dog food. Hills tossed in a few recognized goodies like choline, antioxidants, and selected amino acids, but the same crap found in all their high priced diets remained. Look at the top three ingredients: Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, and Brewers Rice. I only had to read the ingredients label to give B/D my two thumbs down rating. Similar to all their other products, Hills continues to use the cheapest sources for protein and enough carbs to fatten a goose! Still a popular choice for vets that fail to recognize that Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. was acquired by Colgate-Palmolive in 1976. Same old advertisements, work like a charm.