Dementia, also known as senility or cognitive dysfunction, is a change in behavior seen in older dogs. Some feel it may be a normal aging change, however there appears to be a substantially accelerated form of dementia seen in some dogs.

The two most common complaints of owners with senile dogs are loss of housetraining and wandering during normal sleep time.

Cognitive dysfunction is seen in male and female dogs of all breeds that are at least 10 years old or older. The problem is progressive and the cause is unknown.

Dogs with cognitive dysfunction can disrupt their family’s routine with the house soiling, vocalization, wandering, and diminished family interaction.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Dementia is generally diagnosed by history and physical examination findings. There are behaviors that are typical for dogs with dementia. To rule out underlying disorders, bloodwork and x-rays may be recommended. In some cases, CT or MRI may be beneficial.
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Some dogs benefit from behavior modification exercises and some can improve on medications such as deprenyl (Anipryl).  Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.


What to Watch for*:

  • Lameness
  • Decreased interaction with the family
  • Increased irritability
  • Slowness in obeying commands
  • Alterations in sleep-wake cycle
  • Decreased responsiveness to sensory input problems performing previously learned behaviors

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Dear Valued Clients

During these challenging times, there have been some unforeseen changes at The Big Easy Animal Hospital. I cannot express enough my sincere apology for any inconvenience you have experienced at The Big Easy during these times. As we strive to make the practice safe to protect everyone including you, your family, and our Big Easy team and their families, I’ve decided to make certain changes while we are under this pandemic. These changes will be temporary.


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday:
Walk Ins: Check-in starts at 9:45am.There are a limited amount of patients we can accept. Our receptionists will be happy to assist you with options to help guide you and your pet(s).)


Saturday Hours

Saturdays will be TECHNICIAN APPOINTMENTS only. These will include boosters, bloodwork, nail trims, certain diagnostics, etc. There will not be a veterinarian on site. While I understand these changes can be inconvenient, I have listed local veterinary clinics that we have contacted and are open to see walk-ins throughout the week and Saturdays as well. For life threatening emergencies that occur outside business hours, please contact the following 24-hour animal hospitals below.

Please, be safe and healthy.

Thank you all for your understanding. -Aileen Ruiz, DVM


24 Hour Emergency Care:


Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center

807 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA



4224 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA

VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital

3610 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA

Veterinarians Accepting Walk in Care:

Penn Animal Hospital

2205 Penn Avenue

North Boros Veterinary Hospital

2255 Babcock Blvd



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