In the first part of this article, I discussed canine cognitive disease and its similarity to Alzheimer’s disease in people. You saw that using the latest research by renowned brain specialist, we can use their findings to extrapolate the potential causes, treatment and prevention for this degenerative disease of the brain and peripheral nervous system. I listed the most common potential factors that will bring out this disease.
If we look at this list, and again work backwards, we can start to connect the dots and get an idea as to how this degenerative condition may have occurred. Inflammation, as I have said many times, is the underlying problem of almost every chronic disease in pets and CCD is no exception
Inflammation in dogs and cats (and people) primarily is the result of an inappropriate diet. In dogs, heat-processed pet foods create inflammation. Starch in all kibble is converted to sugar and sugar causes inflammation. Inflammation occurs in the gut, leading to leaky gut syndrome, which allows undigested and unprocessed material to pass through the gut and into the blood stream, triggering a response by the immune system. This creates a hypersensitivity to the immune system that persists throughout the individual’s life causing various diseases. As mentioned, the beta-amyloid plaque buildup in the brain in CCD and Alzheimers is an over-reaction by a hypersensitive immune system.
When chronic inflammation of the gut persists, the gut becomes inefficient in its normal function and secondary deficiencies occur such as B vitamin deficiencies and folate deficiencies, both found in Alzheimer’s patients. These deficiencies are common in both dogs and cats with chronic bowel inflammation. As the inflammation persists, malabsorption and maldigestion occurs leading to more and more nutritional imbalances and deficiencies affecting both anti-oxidant rich nutrients as well as processing omega 3 fatty acids.
Everything that is converted chemically in the gut enters into the portal system and goes to the liver. Many of the impure and harmful chemicals are stored in the liver instead of being removed from the system. These toxins are released throughout the individuals life adding to further health complications. It is not surprising that poor liver detoxification is on the list of Alzheimers potential causes.
If we look for sources of heavy metals in the dog’s body, we don’t have to look far. Mercury is found in rabies vaccine and aluminum is found in almost all of the other vaccines. Copper can be found in our drinking water. These heavy heavy metals enter into the system, cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in the brain, creating symptoms and diseases, such as CCD.
Infections such as Lyme disease has been found in many Alzheimer patients. In searching for causes for CCD and Alzheimer’s disease, we clinicians need to be doing diagnostic blood test to detect the presence of these potential infections.
Another major factor found in people with Alzheimer’s disease is prolonged elevated cortisol levels which occurs with chronic stress. Stress, is an energetic imbalance that in time affects the physical body and causes disease. If our personal or environmental stress levels are high and prolonged, not only will we be more predisposed to degenerative diseases like Alzheimers, but our dogs will also be affected the same way, which may contribute to CCD.
What can we do to prevent this disease? Prevention is always best. Feeding a non-inflammatory, specie-specific, balanced diet that is fresh and not heat-processed is critical in preventing this degenerative disease. Supporting the immune system with probiotics and digestive enzymes is recommended. Do not allow over-vaccination of your dog and if you need to vaccinate, make sure that the vaccine does not have a heavy metal preservative. Make sure that your dog has a source of omega 3 fatty acids and natural antioxidant nutrients. Minimize environmental stress. The goal is to feed a non-inflammatory diet, keep the gut and immune systems healthy and avoid toxins that affect the nervous system and to minimize environmental stress.
What can be done in regard to treatment once the disease has been detected? Like most degenerative diseases, if we catch the disease early, the better chance we have at reversing the changes. The drug that is recommended by many vets is Selegiline (Anipryl®). I do not recommend this drug due to its potential harmful side effects that include death. I like to treat these dogs with a natural approach. Here are my recommendations:
- Diet modification if needed (see above comments)
- Filtered water (old pipes often have lead and copper in them)
- Multivitamins that include B6,12, folate and zinc. (adult human=80 pound dog)
- Cholidin (chewable supplement for pets that supply precursors for acetylcholine). This can be purchased online and every dog with CCD should be on this no matter where they are in their progression).
- Ginkgo biloba. This human supplement for brain function and memory loss has been researched and proven effective at diminishing CCD symptoms. The dosage is 4mg/kg body weight daily.
- Turmeric. This Ayurvedic herb has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain as well as have an anti-amyloid effect. I like using the Golden Paste Turmeric formula.
- Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful anti-oxidant that benefits the brain as well as the heart.
- Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan. This Chinese herbal formula addresses the imbalances that create the symptoms associated with the brain from a Chinese medicine perspective. This formula supports cerebral blood flow and energy by supporting the kidney, liver and blood. Dosage: human adult dosage=80 pound dog.
- Pulsed electromagnetic (PEMT). I love pulsed electromagnetic therapy for any disease that affects the nervous system. The brain and peripheral nervous system are electrical in nature and PEMT is designed to balance electromagnetic energy.
- SAMe. SAME is a supplement that is used in people and pets for supporting the liver and brain function. It has been shown to reduce symptoms in dogs with CCD.
- Milk Thistle: Milk thistle is a good herbal remedy to detox the liver. I recommend doing a 3 day detox with milk thistle once every 2-3 months to regularly detox the liver.
12. Eliminating stressful energy in the home environment, person and dog. I like
to smudge the home regularly. Smudging with white sage will neutralize
negative energy in the home. Google how to smudge your home. For
personal energy, diffusing calming essential oils is beneficial for both pet
and caretaker. Essential oils such as lavender, rose, vetiver and Ylang
Ylang are very effective for anxiety and stress relief. I do not recommend
smudging or diffusing with cats in the room.