Dog health is the biggest priority for every owner. Giving treats, teaching tricks, exercising is great, but health care is the number one priority.
Especially when your dog ages, some diseases gradually appear. Parkinson’s disease is one of the typical senior dog diseases.
You probably thought Parkinson’s was a human disease, and you might surprisingly ask: Can dogs get Parkinson’s disease? The answer is yes. There’re a lot of cases of dogs and Parkinson’s disease. So, let’s talk about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for this disease to learn how to act once you face the problem.
(If you’re interested in other health-related topics for dogs, check out our Loobani website.)
What Is Parkinson's Disease In Dogs?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder caused by the loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells.
Dopamine is an essential neurotransmitter for muscle control. The reduced dopamine caused by Parkinson’s disease can cause a number of problems in dogs, including tremors and muscle stiffness, and impaired balance and walking.
Symptoms Of Parkinson's Disease In Dogs
Parkinson’s is a horrible disease for both humans and dogs. But, our furry buddies are greater insecure and purer, as they don’t understand what’s taking place with their bodies.
Discussing Parkinson’s signs in dogs will help you address the issue sooner and quickly help your dog deal with the problem.
here are the signs of Parkinson’s disease in dogs:
Difficulty moving muscles and joints
This can seem like tripping or converting your canine’s gait in practice.
Getting stiff and rigid
Does your dog have difficulty getting up when sitting down? Are they uncomfortably sedentary?
- Involuntary body and head shaking
These are self-explanatory, but this is the most apparent sign if more than one leg shakes uncontrollably. It can cause your dog pain. Note that this is not the same as tremors during sleep. Hypnotic convulsions or sleep onsets are common in healthy dogs of all ages and breeds. This is a muscle cramp that many dogs experience when they fall asleep.
- Inability to maintain balance
Parkinson’s sickness can reason your dog to fall and lose balance while taking walks. It’s best described as drunk walking. Staggering is an obvious sign of a neurological disorder.
- Suffering from depression and anxiety
Mainly, it is challenging to determine depression and anxiety in a dog. Typically, in case you observe your pup attempts to keep self-isolated, loses hobby in his preferred toys or things, and does not care a good deal about his treats, you then’re likely facing puppy depression.
If you think you have a dog with Parkinson’s disease, you should expect their symptoms to become more severe over time gradually. So, grab your pet, take it to the vet, and start the treatment immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to slowing the disease’s progression.
How To Treat Parkinson's Disease In Dogs
Unfortunately, there are no definitive ways for treating Parkinson’s disease in dogs, the same as in humans. I mean, there is no exact medicine that you will give to your dog, and he will start jumping the second day actively. So, if your dog has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, your veterinarian may recommend several different ways to relieve your dog’s symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Little is known about how to cure a dog with Parkinson’s to recover from the disease entirely.
What do vets recommend to reduce the dreadful symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in your dog? One form of vet-approved treatment is physical therapy. Your dog must get specific regular exercise to help keep him moving. Physical therapy can also control pain to some extent.
Dog medication may be prescribed to help limit tremors. You should also monitor your dog’s diet and provide only high-quality vet-approved food. Parkinson severely weakens the body, and causing damage to any other organ might bring fatal results, so while choosing your dog’s diet, make sure to focus on maintaining muscle mass. Dogs need to obtain strengthening food to fight. Nutritious supplements may be necessary to help with this. So, consult with the vet about the diet.
Note that your dog will never fully recover due to the incurable nature of this disease. However, don’t lose hope. Treatment and medication can significantly extend your dog’s lifespan and improve its quality of life.
What Causes Dog Parkinson's Disease?
As we mentioned, dog Parkinson’s disease is caused when dogs begin to lose dopamine-producing nerve cells. Dopamine is essential for the neural control of muscles, and a lack of dopamine can lead to tremors and other muscle-related symptoms. The condition is thought to be hereditary in dogs, but the exact cause is unknown. Injury might also play a function inside the development and progression of the disease.
There is no single test that can diagnose Parkinson’s in dogs. Your veterinarian will review your dog’s medical history and perform a thorough physical exam to rule out other potential causes of his symptoms.
You may be referred to a veterinary neurologist to confirm the diagnosis in many cases. Additional tests may include scanning so your veterinarian can look at images of your dog’s brain. Correct diagnosis is the key to providing the best possible treatment to prolong your dog’s life as long as possible.
Both ataxia and stroke can lead to loss of balance as well. In these cases, your dog may walk in circles, and you may notice a head tilt. Inner ear infections can also affect balance, and other symptoms may include shaking your head, ear odor, and discharge. So, don’t freak out if you notice any similar symptoms. Shaking does not mean only Parkinson’s. It is able to be resulting from something else, which can without difficulty be handled.
Differences Between Humans And Dogs With Parkinson's Disease
While generally, Parkinson’s develops similarly in humans and dogs, there still are some differences.
Also, another notable difference in dog-and-human symptoms is. Even though the disease can cause anxiety in dogs and humans, we often see this symptom in humans.
Honestly, getting a dog diagnosed with depression is much more complex than in humans, and it might explain why statistics show that Parkinson’s develops anxiety more in humans than dogs.
How To Adjust To Living With A Dog With Parkinson's Disease
Living with a dog with any degenerative disease can be challenging. Your dog may be very confused about what’s going on in its body. Dogs with Parkinson’s disease can feel out of control and almost betrayed by their bodies.
It is essential to be gentle with your dog during this time.
Although Parkinson’s disease is incurable and progressive, your veterinarian may recommend steps you can take to help your dog’s quality of life for as long as possible.
With the movement difficulty, your furry friend might find it challenging to hold pee till he reaches the allowed area, so a bunch of nearby, easily accessible grass pee pads around the house will let him feel more comfortable and secure.
Taking wonderful care of a canine is a complete-time task, not clean at all. Even if you do everything for your pup to grow into a healthy dog, they still might develop some diseases, especially when they start aging.
Our bodies are natural and sensitive, and it’s practically not possible to elevate dogs without fitness troubles. For instance, I have a 4-year-old golden, and during this period, we have probably visited the vet more than 20 times. Sometimes, it’s annual shots. occasionally, it’s an epidemic, bacteria, liver issues, kidney troubles, and so forth.
Dogs are not very protected from diseases. Seeing your furry buddy in pain is the worst. Watching how they struggle, how they lay all day, lose appetite.
Sometimes, when symptoms can no longer be controlled, euthanasia is often used as the only remaining humane option, as life for dogs with thoughtfully developed Parkinson’s disease might be torture.
This decision is totally upon you and your vet’s recommendations. However, make sure your dog spends the last days happily with his favorite humans, toys, and treats.