Vets4Pets kickstarts cognitive dysfunction campaign with webinar - Veterinary Practice
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Vets4Pets kickstarts cognitive dysfunction campaign with webinar

Vets4PEts is sponsoring a free CPD webinar with Dr Sarah Heath to increase awareness of cognitive dysfunction syndrome and help owners with management of the condition

Vets4Pets is sponsoring a free webinar on Tuesday 1 March to increase awareness of cognitive dysfunction syndrome in a bid to improve early detection and ultimately help pet owners to better manage the condition.

Recent surveys show as many as 85 percent of cases go undiagnosed due to pet owners attributing symptomatic behaviour changes, such as disorientation and pacing, to aging in elderly pets, and the later treatment starts, the less effective it becomes.

With pets living longer, optimising their welfare in later years is an important consideration for pet owners and veterinary professionals. Research has shown that 28 percent of cats between 11 and 14 years show at least one clinical sign of cognitive dysfunction, with this figure increasing to 50 percent in cats over 15 years of age.

The prevalence in dogs is also reported to be significant, with some estimates indicating that 28 percent of 11- to 12-year-old dogs and 68 percent of 15- to 16-year-old dogs are showing clinical signs of the condition. A 2010 study, which used data from pet owner questionnaires, also estimated that the prevalence of cognitive dysfunction was 14.2 percent in dogs over the age of eight years, yet only 1.9 percent of older dogs were clinically diagnosed with the condition.

Hosted by Dr Sarah Heath and sponsored by Vets4Pets, topics of the free webinar will include ways in which the veterinary profession can improve the detection of this condition, enabling them to offer practical advice and support for older animals and their owners.

Sarah is an RCVS and European Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine and was made a fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2018. She is a certified clinical animal behaviourist under the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) accreditation scheme and registered as a veterinary behaviourist with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council.

Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets said: “Sadly, cognitive dysfunction is a progressive degenerative disease that can affect many of our beloved pets during their lifespan. However, various studies have shown that early intervention, using a combination of environmental, nutritional and medicinal approaches, can lead to significant improvement in quality of life.

“As part of our commitment to the well-being of pets, we are partnering with Dr Sarah Heath to sponsor this webinar and enable the entire industry to access the latest insights into early detection and proper management of the condition.

“Our aim is to help educate vets and nurses across the nation and empower them in their decision making when diagnosing elderly pets.”

Dr Sarah Heath, specialist in veterinary behavioural medicine, added: “The interplay between emotional and physical illness in dogs and cats is something that I am really passionate about, and the importance of recognising age related cognitive decline in companion animals cannot be emphasised enough.

“It is a pleasure to work alongside Vets4Pets to raise the profile of cognitive dysfunction and help the veterinary profession in safeguarding the welfare of pets.”

The online session, which takes place via Zoom on Tuesday 1 March at 8pm, will consist of a 45-minute webinar and 15-minute Q&A session and is available to the whole industry. It will also count as one hour of training towards RCVS Continuing Professional Development requirements, and a recording will be available to attendees for a year following the event.

The webinar also forms part of a wider campaign which will see pet owners polled to ascertain their current understanding of the condition, and ultimately help to raise consumer awareness of cognitive dysfunction.

To register for a free place, visit .

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