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Selegiline to Combat Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome primarily affects older dogs with behavioral alterations such as altered interactions with owners, sleep cycle disturbances, house-soiling and disorientation. One telling clinical feature are amyloid plaques that accumulate on neurons of the brain much like Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Selegiline is an irreversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase, which is responsible for catabolizing norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Increasing dopamine levels is thought to slow progression of cognitive dysfunction. This will not cure the animal from the disease but can significantly improve quality of life for both the pet and owner.

In a study by Campbell et al., they evaluated 641 dogs with clinical signs consistent with canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome and treated with two different strengths of selegiline daily for 60 days. After completion of 60 days therapy, it was noted that 77.2% of dogs showed an overall improvement and 77.8% showed improvement in interaction with family and disorientation (Campbell, 2001). It was also reported that the majority responded to treatment by day 30. 

Adverse events most frequently seen include diarrhea, anorexia and salivation. Be cautious when combing other products that can increase serotonin levels Compounding selegiline is a great option since limited commercially available options and allows specific weight based dosing. Pharmacy Solutions specializes in customized veterinary compounding for your animals.

Dosing in Dogs: 0.5-1 mg/kg by mouth once daily, preferably in the morning

Campbell, S., Trettien, A., & Koan, B. (2001). A noncomparative open-label study evaluating the effect of selegiline hydrochloride in a clinical setting. Vet Ther. 2:24-39.


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