28th, August 2023 | James Smith, Editor-in-Chief
Chief, the loyal Belgian Malinois, shared an unbreakable bond with his owner Marcus, a firefighter. They were not just partners, they were like family. Tragically, during a mission, Marcus lost his life, leaving Chief heartbroken. This loss had a profound effect on Chief, causing a change in his personality. He lost interest in everything and experienced Canine Bereavement-Induced Depression (CBID).
Marcus's wife recognized Chief's pain and sought professional assistance. Meanwhile, Chief found solace in the garden, where he would often rest. Gradually, a remarkable transformation occurred – Chief started to regain his former self. He became more active, seeking attention, finding joy in everyday activities, just as he had before and even brought immense happiness to Marcus’s wife.
But what was it about the garden that made Chief's deep sadness fade away?
Figure: (right) dog brain (left) human brain.
The dog brain and the human brain both exhibit similarities and differences, particularly regarding brain regions involved in sensory processing, emotions, memory, and cognition. Notably, the dog's olfactory bulb is larger than that of humans, while the human prefrontal cortex is more developed.
Depression and CBID in both species have a biological basis involving various brain regions and neurotransmitter systems. In humans, abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala have been associated with depression. The prefrontal cortex regulates mood, decision-making, and emotional processing, while the hippocampus is involved in memory formation and regulation of stress responses.
The amygdala plays a crucial role in emotional processing and the expression of fear and anxiety. Similarly, in dogs, alterations in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus have been implicated in depressive-like behaviors. Dysregulation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are also implicated in both human and canine depression.
Figure: Bar graph indicating percentage of owners of 52 dogs with separation anxiety that complied with specific discharge instructions for < 1 month (open bar) or ≥ 1 month (solid bar).
Statistics on the prevalence of depression and CBID in dogs are limited, but studies suggest a significant incidence, with rates ranging from 1% to 17% in different populations. Further research is needed to explore the specific mechanisms underlying depression and CBID in dogs, as well as to develop effective treatment strategies for these conditions.
Figure: Brain MRI Scan of a search and rescue dog.
Pogostemon Cablin, also known as Patchouli, has been found to have potential in improving brain health. This is due to the presence of certain chemical compounds in the plant that offer specific benefits for the brain.
One important compound in Pogostemon Cablin is patchouli alcohol. It has been shown to protect brain cells by acting as an antioxidant and reducing inflammation. This helps prevent damage caused by oxidative stress and promotes better cognitive function and memory.
Another compound is α-guaiene, which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It helps reduce inflammation in the brain, which is linked to various brain health problems like cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.
Additionally, β-caryophyllene, another compound found in Pogostemon Cablin, has neuroprotective effects and can help reduce anxiety. It works by activating specific receptors in the brain that help reduce inflammation and protect brain cells from damage.
These chemical compounds in Pogostemon Cablin contribute to its potential in improving brain health by protecting brain cells, reducing inflammation, and alleviating symptoms of anxiety. Further research is needed to fully understand their mechanisms and determine the most effective ways to use them for brain health purposes.
Meet Luna, a 3-year-old Golden Retriever who has recently experienced a heartbreaking loss. Luna gave birth to seven adorable puppies, but tragically, not all of them survived. This devastating event has deeply affected Luna, leaving her feeling sad and withdrawn. Determined to help her furry companion recover, Luna's owner took her to the veterinarian, where she was diagnosed with reactive depressive behavior. The vet then advised the owner to try Patchouli.
Luna's owner started incorporating Patchouli oil into Luna's daily routine. On the fourth day of using Patchouli, Luna's mood began to change. She showed signs of increased energy and engagement. Luna started to respond more eagerly to playtime, wagging her tail and chasing after her favorite toys. Her owner noticed a glimmer of joy returning to Luna's eyes, a sight that had been absent since her heartbreaking loss.
By the ninth day of using Patchouli, Luna's transformation was becoming more noticeable. She seemed happier and was more outgoing.. Luna eagerly sought out interactions with her owner and other dogs during their walks in the park. Her owner also observed that Luna's appetite, which had diminished during her period of sadness, had returned to normal. Luna's tail wagged more excitedly, giving off a feeling of happiness that hadn't been there in weeks.
Luna's owner noticed a big change in Luna's mental health after she had been using Patchouli for 14 days. Luna's confidence had exceeded all expectations and she was glowing with happiness. When Luna went to a local dog training center, she surprised everyone with how well she paid attention and how eager she was to learn. She picked up new commands easily and was excited to do sprinting exercises. Luna's remarkable progress not only thrilled her owner but also caught the attention of trainers who praised her exceptional development.
“I was also saddened by the loss of my Luna's puppies, and it broke my heart to see her loneliness because she is my first fur baby, so I couldn't contain my happiness when she recovered her sadness over the loss of her puppies with the help of Pogostemon Cablin. All thanks to this vet who suggested to try this.”
-Duncan K., Dog Owner