Measures of cognitive ageing in family dogs Dr Patrizia Piotti
presented by Dr Patrizia Piotti
Age-related cognitive decline in family dogs
Dogs begin to show behavioural and cognitive signs linked to ageing starting from the age of six. This is a progressive process, so much so that up one third of 11-12 years-old dogs show and 70% of dogs aged 15-16 show signs that are similar to the human Alzheimer disease. In order to study dogs’ ageing process, researchers have been focused, so far, mostly on laboratory dogs. These, however, differ from the dogs living with humans (“family dogs”) in terms of experiences, genetics and sometimes their behaviour. I will describe the latest findings regarding the assessment of cognitive and behavioural changes in aged family dogs, considerations regarding their welfare and quality of life and potential interventions aiming at slowing down the cognitive and behavioural decline of aged family dogs.
About the presenter
Patrizia Piotti, post-doctoral researcher in veterinary behavioural medicine and comparative cognitive neuroscience, is currently researching cognitive ageing in dogs with the Senior Family Dog Project, Eötvös Loránd University. Patrizia’s other research interests are canine collaborative behaviour, individual differences in nonhuman animals and humans, and psychoneuroendocrinology.
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