Objective—To evaluate the effectiveness of dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP) in reducing fear and anxiety in puppies and its effects on training and socialization.
Design—Randomized, controlled clinical trial.
Animals—45 puppies between 12 to 15 weeks of age at the time of inclusion.
Procedures—Puppies enrolled in puppy classes were randomly allocated to 1 of 4 groups: 2 large-breed groups (1 DAP and 1 placebo group) and 2 small-breed groups (1 DAP and 1 placebo group). The investigator, trainers, and owners were unaware of treatment allocation throughout the study. Classes lasted 8 weeks, and owners were asked to complete a questionnaire before the first lesson and at the end of each lesson thereafter. Data collected included amount of learning and degrees of fear and anxiety for each puppy. Follow-up telephone surveys of owners to obtain information on subsequent socialization of puppies were performed at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after the classes ended.
Results—Dogs in DAP and placebo groups were significantly different with respect to degrees of fear and anxiety; longer and more positive interactions between puppies, including play, were evident in dogs in the DAP groups. Data from follow-up telephone surveys indicated that puppies in the DAP groups were better socialized and adapted faster in new situations and environments, compared with puppies in the placebo groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—When compared with a placebo treatment, DAP was useful in reducing anxiety and fear in puppies during puppy classes and resulted in improved socialization.
Objective—To identify underlying medical conditions in cats with a presumptive diagnosis of psychogenic alopecia.
Animals—21 adult cats referred with a presumptive diagnosis of psychogenic alopecia.
Procedures—A detailed behavior and dermatologic questionnaire was completed by the primary caregiver, and complete behavioral and dermatologic examinations were performed. A standard diagnostic testing protocol that included cytologic examination of skin scrapings, fungal culture of hairs, evaluation of responses to parasiticides and an exclusion diet, assessment for atopy and endocrinopathies, and histologic examination of skin biopsy specimens was used to establish a definitive diagnosis in all cats. Cats that did not respond to an elimination diet were treated with methylprednisolone acetate to determine whether pruritus was a factor.
Results—Medical causes of pruritus were identified in 16 (76%) cats. Only 2 (10%) cats were found to have only psychogenic alopecia, and an additional 3 (14%) cats had a combination of psychogenic alopecia and a medical cause of pruritus. An adverse food reaction was diagnosed in 12 (57%) cats and was suspected in an additional 2. All cats with histologic evidence of inflammation in skin biopsy specimens were determined to have a medical condition, but of 6 cats without histologic abnormalities, 4 had an adverse food reaction, atopy, or a combination of the 2, and only 2 had psychogenic alopecia.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that psychogenic alopecia is overdiagnosed in cats. Thorough diagnostic testing should be done before ascribing a behavioral cause to hair loss in cats.