Behavior Pathologies of the Geriatric Canine and Feline Patient (1513)
Companion Animal Medicine |  Geriatrics and Senior Wellness
Sunday | 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center||301BC



Carlo Siracusa DVM, PhD, MS, DACVB, DECAWBM
University of Pennsylvania

Born in Italy, Carlo Siracusa got his DVM from the University of Messina, Italy, and his PhD from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, defending a thesis on perioperative stress in dogs and the effect of pheromone therapy. He completed his residency in Animal Behavior at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, where he is currently the Director of the Animal Behavior Service. Carlo is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, and the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavior Medicine. His research interests are focused on stress evaluation in dogs; pheromone therapy; canine and feline temperament evaluation; prognostic factors and treatment outcome of behavior problems; cognitive changes in dogs with mucopolysaccharidosis.

Presentation Info

CE Credit(s): 1.00
CE Level: 2


Undesirable behaviors of geriatric dogs and cats can be abnormal behaviors caused by primary behavior pathologies (e.g. disorientation due to cognitive dysfunction) or normal behaviors secondary to medical problems (e.g. increased aggression secondary to pain or sensory impairment).
Several aging brain changes that may be associated with cognitive dysfunction have been identified: decreased frontal lobe volume, demyelination, ventricle enlargement, meningeal calcification and fibrosis, increased lipofuscin, neuroaxonal degeneration and neuron loss, periventricular vessel microhemorrhage and infarction. Cholinergic neuron loss and decreased brain muscarinic receptor density have also been reported.
Clinical signs of cognitive dysfunction are, among others, disorientation, alteration of the wake/sleep cycle, increased anxiety, changes in social interactions, housesoiling, and restlessness. Diagnosis is one of exclusion, and can be confirmed only by post-mortem histopathology. Selegiline represents the pharmacological treatment of election; benzodiazepine and trazodone may be indicated in case of wake/sleep disturbances, or restlessness. Several nutraceuticals have been investigated for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction. Environmental changes and behavior modification should also be associated to the pharmacological treatment, with the main goal of increasing predictability of events and decreasing stress.
Other behavior pathologies can also be seen in geriatric patients, e.g. fear, separation anxiety. Often they can present as relapses of behavior pathologies previously diagnosed and treated.

Learning Objectives

1. Be able to recognize signs of behavior pathologies in the geriatric patient

2. Become familiar with the most common behavior diagnoses for the geriatric patient

Convention Notes

Convention notes require you to log in. Please click here to login