Successful brain aging in dogs
Continuing research suggests that the answer to this question is an unambiguous "Yes!" Over the past generation, we have changed the way we view animals in general. It's now the exceptional person who has grown up on a farm, and we have come to acknowledge the basic and deep role of the human-animal bond in the daily lives of our clients. Clients who have invested in the veterinary care necessary to see their cats or dogs into middle age are prepared to do everything possible not just to extend the lives of their pets, but also to ensure that their pets' brains are as healthy as possible. The relationship these clients value is both behavioral and emotional, and it is this very relationship that pathological brain aging steals. It is incumbent on modern veterinary medicine to do everything possible to thwart that theft of relationship.
Consoling clients that older pets had a good life and advising euthanasia is out of date. The fear that this is the advice that veterinarians will give may keep many clients from seeking help when their older pets begin to fail behaviorally. Instead, if we encourage clients to anticipate change and intervene as early as possible, these pets and the humans who love them can have many years of additional quality life together.