April 13, 2020

Fighting neurodegenerative diseases

Healthy mind and body

The olive tree is native to the Mediterranean Basin and parts of Asia Minor. The fruit and compression-extracted oil have a wide range of therapeutic and culinary applications. At the end of the twentieth century, several studies revealed that the use of olives in the Mediterranean diet is related to a lower rate of degenerative diseases.

 According to numerous studies, the prevalence of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) syndrome is high, as it’s found in between 15% and 60% of all dogs over the age of eight. Despite the high levels of this syndrome, various studies show that most owners fail to tell their vet when they have a dog with symptoms compatible with CCD, unless they are specifically asked about it. As a result, owners often attribute certain changes in their dog’s behaviour to the regular ageing process and do not consult a professional. What’s more, many owners are unaware that there are options to improve the well-being of their pets when they reach an advanced age and to slow down the progression of the disease.

Natural ageing

The maturing or ageing process is a natural stage that is part of the development of all animals. It’s characterised a series of changes on an organic and behavioural level. As these animals get older, they develop memory and learning problems. However, when they suffer from CCD, they begin to show signs related to learning, memory, perception, awareness, social interactions, sleep and activity.

It’s very important for the owner to understand and accept the changes related to old age, as in many cases they end up becoming a problem. When in doubt, we should go to the vet.

Dogs reach the senior stage at different ages depending on their breed. Small breeds (Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua, etc.) reach this stage at the age of eight or nine, medium-sized breeds (Beagle, Cocker, etc.) at seven years old and large breeds (Mastiff, Dogo, etc.) from the age of five on.

The importance of diet

Of course, the condition in which the animal reaches the senior stage will heavily depend on its quality of life in all previous stages: whether it has had a good diet, a good sleeping pattern, or positive experiences and interactions with other animals and people, and so on.

Any nutritional imbalance will have negative effects on a senior animal. In fact, part of the treatment aimed at alleviating clinical signs and improving its well-being is based on diet. Nutrition based on the Mediterranean diet can help the older brain.

As we saw in the article on Omega-9, fats are essential for the proper functioning of the brain and Omega fatty acids can help fight certain neurodegenerative diseases. What’s more, foods rich in virgin olive oil include Omega acids in their composition, which are rich in antioxidants and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

Giving your dog a diet made with this raw material helps combat the ageing process, as well as thwarting cognitive decline. If you also provide mental stimuli and enrich its environment, you’ll make the final stage of your four-legged friend’s life a calm and happy time.

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