• Kyodo

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One in five pet dogs 8 years old or above — 50 in human terms — are suspected of having symptoms of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans, a survey by a veterinary researcher shows.

The 2015-2016 survey by Mami Irimajiri of the faculty of veterinary science at Tokyo-based Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, also found that only 17 percent of the suspect dogs had had their symptoms checked.

If found early, symptoms can be alleviated by changes in food or lifestyle, Irimajiri said.

The study involved 961 dogs at veterinary hospitals and dog runs nationwide and queried owners about such factors as the pets’ sleeping rhythms, excretory behavior and reactions to humans. Of the 547 dogs 8 or older, 116 (21 percent) were diagnosed with potential dementia.

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