Spotlight on Research: Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (Sponsored by Virbac Animal Health)


Spotlight on Research: Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (Sponsored by Virbac Animal Health)

Jun 01, 2012
By staff

Helping cats and dogs with cognitive dysfunction syndrome feel better and act younger

Pets are living longer. As a consequence, the population of dogs and cats developing signs of senility is growing. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is a disease of age-related degenerative changes in the brain similar to that seen in people experiencing Alzheimer's disease.

Table 1: DISHA—Behavioral Signs of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
The clinical signs of CDS involve age-related development of behavioral changes unrelated to other medical or behavioral conditions. The most common signs associated with CDS in cats are disorientation, changes in sleep patterns, housesoiling, and changes in activity. In dogs, the changes in behavior may be more overt (Table 1).

CDS is a diagnosis of exclusion. Once systemic illnesses, organic brain disease, and true behavioral problems have been ruled out, cognitive dysfunction should be considered in older dogs and cats exhibiting signs of decreased mental acuity or dementia.

Table 2: Management Strategies for Pets with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome
Interventions for CDS include environmental management, dietary modification, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) supplementation, and occasionally drug therapy* (Table 2). As with any behavioral condition, appropriate behavior modification and environmental enrichment can play important roles in optimal response. In some senior pets, even limiting their environmental scope or stimuli can improve their abilities to cope on a daily basis.

NOVIFIT® (NoviSAMe®) Tablets are an S-adenosylmethionine tosylate supplement for cognitive health of older dogs and cats. SAMe is an endogenous molecule that stimulates cell metabolism in all tissues and has been found to be deficient in patients with Alzheimer's disease. This supplement can be more cost-effective than psychotropic drugs and has few known side effects or contraindications, making it an excellent choice for senior patients. Moreover, once-daily oral administration, with or without food, helps ensure client compliance. It is the only supplement for CDS in cats backed by scientific research.1

When your client describes one or more of the behavior changes commonly associated with CDS, it is time to have a conversation about the possible causes and long-term management strategies. The latest research confirms that, with early intervention, SAMe supplementation may delay the worsening or improve the mental acuity of affected cats and dogs.


1. Araujo JA, Faubert ML, Brooks ML, et al. NOVIFIT® (NoviSAMe®) Tablets improve executive function in aged dogs and cats: Implications for treatment of cognitive dysfunction syndrome. Intern J Appl Res Vet Med 2012;10(1):90-98.

*No drugs are currently approved for treating CDS in cats.