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Clinical feasibility of cognitive testing in dogs ( Canis lupus familiaris)

By M. C. T. Heckler, M. V. Tranquilim, D. J. Svicero, L. Barbosa, R. M. Amorim

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Several cognitive tests have been developed to evaluate specific aspects of human and animal learning and memory. These tests have been used for early detection of cognitive deficits and to monitor the treatment of dogs with cognitive impairment. Thus, this article evaluated the feasibility of cognitive tests for use in canine neurology clinical routines and the suitability of the different tests to accomplish this aim. Fifteen healthy adult dogs were used for the cognitive tests of reward approach learning, object approach learning, object discrimination learning, reversal learning, delayed non-matched to position, and delayed non-matched to sample to assess different aspects of memory. No difference was observed between tests of delayed non-matched to position (3.132.23 days) and delayed non-matched to sample (3.202.40 days) ( P=0.944). However, dogs had greater difficulty in reversal learning (8.472.61 days) than in object discrimination learning (4.601.64 days) ( P≤0.001). Based on the tests performed, the delayed non-matched to position test may be performed in clinical routine if the owner and the veterinarian have time available, because this test is sensitive to evaluate dogs with cognitive impairments, but requires approximately 10 days of training. Thus, elderly dogs are excellent experimental models to study pathological aging based on their similarities with some human brain diseases, such as Alzheimer disease.

Publication Title Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
Volume 9
Issue 1
Pages 6-12
ISBN/ISSN 1558-7878
DOI 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.09.002
Language English
Author Address School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, UNESP, Botucatu, P.O. Box 560, Rubiao Junior, Sao Paulo 18618-970,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Age
  2. Aging
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal health and hygiene
  5. Animal models
  6. Animals
  7. Brain
  8. Canidae
  9. Canine
  10. Carnivores
  11. Detection
  12. Diseases
  13. Dogs
  14. Feasibility
  15. Humans
  16. Mammals
  17. Men
  18. models
  19. Older adults
  20. pathology
  21. peer-reviewed
  22. Primates
  23. systems
  24. Techniques
  25. therapy
  26. training
  27. vertebrates
  28. Veterinarians
  29. Wolves
  1. peer-reviewed