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  • Author or Editor: Katherine A. Houpt x
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Abstract

Objective—To describe trends in behavior diagnoses from 1991 to 2001; assess the relationship between diagnoses and age, sex, reproductive status, and breed; and evaluate associations between diagnoses within the same cat (comorbidity).

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—736 cats.

Procedures—Medical records were reviewed for species, breed, sex, reproductive status, consultation year, birth date, and diagnoses.

Results—The caseload decreased over the course of the study. Aggression toward people increased, and spraying decreased. Cases involving Siamese cats decreased over time. Siamese cats were evaluated more often than expected in general and specifically for aggression and ingestive behavior problems, whereas Persian cats were evaluated more often than expected for elimination outside of the litter box. Domestic shorthair cats were evaluated less often than expected in general and specifically for aggression, ingestive behavior problems, and house soiling. Male cats were overrepresented. Cats with ingestive behavior problems were evaluated at a median age of 1.5 years, compared with cats with other problems (median age, 5.5 years). Certain diagnoses were clustered, with a mean of 1.2 diagnoses/cat.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that in cats, behavior problems changed over the course of the study, age and breed distributions varied among diagnoses, and certain diagnoses were likely to occur together.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine trends in behavior diagnoses; assess the relationship between diagnoses and age, sex, reproductive status, and breed; and evaluate associations between diagnoses within the same dog (comorbidity).

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—1,644 dogs.

Procedures—Medical records of dogs evaluated for behavioral problems were reviewed for breed, sex, reproductive status, consultation year, birth date, and diagnoses.

Results—Numbers of dogs with aggression, anxiety, and unruly behavior increased over the course of the study, as did the total number of dogs evaluated for behavioral problems. In general and for aggression, Dalmatians, English Springer Spaniels, German Shepherd Dogs, and mixed-breed dogs were evaluated more often than expected, whereas Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers were evaluated less often than expected. Labrador Retrievers were also underrepresented for anxiety, whereas mixed-breed dogs were overrepresented. Males were overrepresented except for interdog aggression, anxieties, and phobias, whereas females were overrepresented for phobias. Dogs with phobias were evaluated at a median age of 6.5 years, compared with dogs with other problems (median age, 2.5 years). A mean of 1.6 diagnoses/dog was observed, with certain diagnoses clustered.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that in dogs, behavioral problems changed over the course of the study; age, sex, and breed distributions varied among diagnoses; and certain diagnoses were likely to occur together.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate treatment outcome in dogs with separation anxiety and owner compliance with and perception of effectiveness of discharge instructions.

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—52 dogs with separation anxiety.

Procedure—Sex, age at which the owner obtained the dog, age at which separation anxiety was first noticed, age at behavioral examination, and discharge instructions were obtained from medical records of each dog. Between 6 and 64 months after the behavioral examination, owners were contacted by telephone and questioned about the outcome of treatment, their compliance with discharge instructions, and their perception of the effectiveness of each instruction.

Results—Thirty-two (62%) dogs had improved, whereas 20 were the same, were worse, or had been euthanatized or given away. Mixed-breed dogs were significantly less likely to improve than purebred dogs. Compliance varied according to discharge instruction. Significantly fewer dogs with owners that were given > 5 instructions improved or were cured, compared with those with owners given fewer instructions. Twenty-seven dogs were also treated with amitriptyline or other medication; 15 (56%) improved.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Owners complied with instructions that involved little time such as omitting punishment and providing a chew toy at the time of departure. Owners were also willing to increase the dog's exercise but were not willing to uncouple the cues of departure from real departures or desensitize the dog to impending departure. Administration of psychoactive medication may be necessary to augment behavior modification techniques designed to reduce separation anxiety in dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:342–345)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy, compared with traditional- age gonadectomy, among cats adopted from a large animal shelter.

Design—Retrospective cohort study.

Animals—1,660 cats.

Procedure—Cats underwent gonadectomy and were adopted from an animal shelter before 1 year of age; follow-up was available for as long as 11 years after surgery (median follow-up time, 3.9 years). Adopters completed a questionnaire about their cats' behavior and medical history. When possible, the cats' veterinary records were reviewed. Statistical analyses were conducted to identify any associations between the occurrence of 47 medical and behavioral conditions and the cats' age at gonadectomy.

Results—Among male cats that underwent early-age gonadectomy (< 5.5 months of age), the occurrence of abscesses, aggression toward veterinarians, sexual behaviors, and urine spraying was decreased, whereas hiding was increased, compared with cats that underwent gonadectomy at an older age. Among male and female cats that underwent early-age gonadectomy, asthma, gingivitis, and hyperactivity were decreased, whereas shyness was increased.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Gonadectomy before 5.5 months of age was not associated with increased rates of death or relinquishment or occurrence of any serious medical or behavioral condition and may provide certain important long-term benefits, especially for male cats. Animal shelters can safely gonadectomize cats at a young age, and veterinarians should consider recommending routine gonadectomy for client-owned cats before the traditional age of 6 to 8 months. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:372–379)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy, compared with traditional- age gonadectomy, among dogs adopted from a large animal shelter.

Design—Retrospective cohort study.

Animals—1,842 dogs.

Procedure—Dogs underwent gonadectomy and were adopted from an animal shelter before 1 year of age; follow-up was available for as long as 11 years after surgery. Adopters completed a questionnaire about their dogs' behavior and medical history. When possible, the dogs' veterinary records were reviewed. Associations between the occurrence of 56 medical and behavioral conditions and dogs' age at gonadectomy were evaluated.

Results—Among female dogs, early-age gonadectomy was associated with increased rate of cystitis and decreasing age at gonadectomy was associated with increased rate of urinary incontinence. Among male and female dogs with early-age gonadectomy, hip dysplasia, noise phobias, and sexual behaviors were increased, whereas obesity, separation anxiety, escaping behaviors, inappropriate elimination when frightened, and relinquishment for any reason were decreased.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Because earlyage gonadectomy appears to offer more benefits than risks for male dogs, animal shelters can safely gonadectomize male dogs at a young age and veterinary practitioners should consider recommending routine gonadectomy for client-owned male dogs before the traditional age of 6 to 8 months. For female dogs, however, increased urinary incontinence suggests that delaying gonadectomy until at least 3 months of age may be beneficial. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004; 224:380–387)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine prevalence of ownerdirected aggression and identify associated environmental and genetic factors in English Springer Spaniels.

Design—Prevalence survey.

Animals—1,053 adult English Springer Spaniels.

Procedure—A mail survey was sent to 2,400 randomly selected owners of adult American Kennel Club-registered English Springer Spaniels. Dogs with a history of aggression to family members and familiar humans were compared with dogs without such a history.

Results—1,053 questionnaires (56.1% of the 1,877 delivered) were completed. A history of owner-directed growling or more intense aggression was reported in 510 (48.4%) dogs. Two hundred seventy-seven (26.3%) dogs had bitten a human in the past; 65.2% of bites were directed at familiar (owner or nonowner) adults and children. Variables associated with owner-directed aggression included sex of dog (male), neuter status (neutered, regardless of sex), show or bench lines, age > 4 years, aggression to unfamiliar adults and children, acquisition from a hobby breeder, less responsiveness to obedience cues, and a specific kennel and 1 popular sire from that kennel in a 4- generation pedigree.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Owner-directed aggression in adult English Springer Spaniels was associated with a number of environmental, sex-related, and inherited factors. To reduce the risk of aggression, prospective owners might seek a female, hunting-type English Springer Spaniel from an experienced breeder. However, because risk factors are broad and varied, there are limitations to the extent to which behavior can be predicted and further study is needed of the inheritance of aggression in this breed. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227:1594–1603)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To compare the incidence of behavior problems following tendonectomy or onychectomy in cats, as well as attitudes of owners following these procedures.

Design—Nonrandomized clinical trial.

Animals—18 cats that underwent tendonectomy and 39 cats that underwent onychectomy.

Procedure—Owners of cats that underwent tendonectomy or onychectomy between February 1993 and May 1998 were contacted by telephone and asked several questions regarding reasons for surgery as well as complications and behavioral changes in cats following surgery.

Results—The most common reason for considering tendonectomy or onychectomy was to avoid damage caused by the cat scratching household materials. Avoidance of injury to humans or animals was chosen more often by owners whose cats underwent onychectomy than those that underwent tendonectomy. Tendonectomy was more likely to have been recommended by veterinarians than onychectomy. Significantly more cats that underwent tendonectomy (67%) than onychectomy (44%) returned to normal activity within 3 days after surgery. Significant differences were not detected regarding behavior problems after surgery.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although tendonectomy and onychectomy involved some medical complications and behavior changes following surgery, owners had positive attitudes regarding both surgeries after the immediate postoperative period. Tendonectomy may be a humane alternative to onychectomy, although owners need to be advised that nail trimming is still necessary in cats after surgery. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:43–47)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association