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Objective—To determine the effectiveness of a readily available selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), fluoxetine hydrochloride, on reducing problem urine spraying in cats.

Design—Randomized placebo-controlled doubleblind clinical trial.

Animals—17 neutered cats > 1 year old with objectionable urine spraying behavior.

Procedure—Owners recorded urine-spraying events for 2 weeks (baseline). Cats that vertically marked a mean of ≥ 3 times per week were treated for 8 weeks with fluoxetine or fish-flavored liquid placebo. If urine spraying was not reduced by 70% by weeks 4 through 5, the dosage was increased by 50% for weeks 7 and 8. After discontinuation of treatment at the end of 8 weeks, owners recorded daily urine marks for another 4 weeks.

Results—The mean (± SE) weekly rate of spraying episodes in treated cats was 8.6 (± 2.0) at baseline, decreased significantly by week 2 (1.7 ± 0.6), and continued to decrease by weeks 7 and 8 (0.4 ± 0.2). The mean weekly spraying rate of cats receiving placebo was 7.8 (± 1.5) at baseline, decreased only slightly during week 1 (5.5 ± 1.8), and did not decline further. When treatment was discontinued after 8 weeks, the spraying rate of cats that had received treatment varied. The main adverse reaction to the drug was a reduction in food intake, which was observed in 4 of 9 treated cats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Administration of fluoxetine hydrochloride for treatment of urine spraying in cats can be expected to considerably reduce the rate of urine marking. The frequency of spraying before treatment is predictive of the spraying rate when the drug is discontinued. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:1557–1561)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate effects of environmental management alone on marking frequency in cats with urine marking and to obtain demographic data on cats with urine marking and data on owner-perceived factors that contributed to urine marking behavior.

Design—Single-intervention study.

Animals—40 neutered male and 7 spayed female cats.

Procedure—During a 2-week baseline phase, owners maintained a daily record of the number of urine marks. This phase was followed by a 2-week environmental management phase during which owners cleaned recently deposited urine marks daily, scooped waste from the litter box daily, and changed the litter and cleaned the litter box weekly while continuing to record urine marks.

Results—Male cats and cats from multicat households were significantly overrepresented, compared with the general pet cat population in California. The most commonly mentioned causative factors for urine marking were agonistic interactions with other cats outside or inside the home. Environmental management procedures resulted in an overall reduction in urine marking frequency. Among cats that marked ≥ 6 times during the baseline phase, females were significantly more likely to respond to treatment (≥ 50% reduction in marking frequency) than were males.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that male cats and cats from multicat households are more likely to exhibit urine marking behavior than females and cats from single-cat households. Results also suggest that attention to environmental and litter box hygiene can reduce marking frequency in cats, regardless of sex or household status of the cats, and may come close to resolving the marking problem in some cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:1709–1713)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine whether clomipramine differs from fluoxetine in reducing feline urine marking; whether reduction of marking continues in cats treated > 8 weeks; whether recurrence of marking, after abrupt drug withdrawal, is less in cats treated > 8 weeks; and whether cats that are successfully treated but resume marking after drug withdrawal can be successfully treated again with the same drug regimen.

Design—Positive-controlled, double-masked clinical trial.

Animals—22 neutered cats (2 females, 20 males) ≥ 1 year old with objectionable urine marking.

Procedure—Cats that marked vertically ≥ 3 times/wk were treated with fluoxetine (1 mg/kg [0.45 mg/lb], q 24 h, PO) or clomipramine (0.5 mg/kg [0.23 mg/lb], q 24 h, PO) for 16 weeks, and efficacy was compared. Recurrence of marking was determined after abrupt withdrawal of fluoxetine at 16 or 32 weeks. Reduction in marking in cats treated with fluoxetine for 8 weeks after returning to marking following drug withdrawal was compared with the initial 8 weeks of successful treatment.

Results—Efficacy of fluoxetine and clomipramine was similar. Treatment > 8 weeks revealed increasing efficacy in reduction of marking. Return of marking after termination of fluoxetine administration occurred in most cats. Cats successfully treated initially with fluoxetine responded similarly to repeated treatment.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Clomipramine and fluoxetine were equivalent in treating urine marking. Longer treatment increased efficacy. Most cats return to marking after abrupt drug withdrawal. A second course of treatment can be expected to be as effective as the first. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226: 378–382)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To monitor the progression of age-related behavioral changes in dogs during a period of 6 to 18 months and to determine whether signs of dysfunction in any of 4 behavioral categories can be used to predict further impairment.

Design—Age-stratified cohort study.

Animals—63 spayed female and 47 castrated male dogs 11 to 14 years of age.

Procedure—Data were collected from randomly selected dog owners who were interviewed by telephone twice at a 12- to 18-month interval; data were included if the dog had lived ≥ 6 months between interviews. The interview focused on signs of impairment in the following behavioral categories: orientation in the home and yard, social interactions with human family members, house training, and the sleep-wake cycle. Dogs were determined to have impairment in 0 behavioral categories (on the basis of ≤ 1 sign for each category), impairment in 1 category (≥ 2 signs of dysfunction in that category), or impairment in ≥ 2 categories.

Results—Between interviews, 22% (16/73) of dogs that did not have impairment in a category at the time of the first interview developed impairment in that category by the time of the second interview. Forty-eight percent (13/27) of dogs that had impairment in 1 category at the time of the first interview developed impairment in ≥ 2categories by the time of the second interview and were significantly more likely to develop impairment in ≥ 2 categories, compared with dogs that initially had impairment in 0 categories. Dogs with 1 sign of dysfunction in orientation were significantly more likely to develop impairment in that category, compared with dogs that had 0 signs of dysfunction in orientation.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Age-related behavioral changes in dogs are progressive. Clinicians should consider trying to predict which dogs are most likely to become progressively impaired during the subsequent 6 to 18 months. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1792–1795)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To compare effects of the serotonergic drug clomipramine hydrochloride with those of placebo for treatment of dominance-related aggression in dogs.


Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial.


28 neutered dogs > 1 year old with dominance-related aggression.


Dogs displaying ≥ 3 aggressive episodes/wk toward ≥ 1 human family member in response to identifiable behavioral triggers were included in the study. Owners were instructed not to change patterns of interaction with their dogs during the study. After 2 weeks of baseline observations, dogs were treated for 6 weeks with clomipramine (1.5 mg/kg [0.7 mg/lb] of body weight, q 12 h; n = 15) or placebo (13). Responses to triggers were assigned the following aggression scores: no response, 0; growl or lip curl, 1; snap or bite, 2. Mean scores for responses to triggers were obtained during the 2-week pretreatment period (baseline) and during the first and second weeks, third and fourth weeks, and fifth and sixth weeks of treatment. At the end of the study, owners assigned a score designed to evaluate their overall perceived change in aggressiveness; this was referred to as the global score.


Mean aggression scores decreased at the fifth and sixth week of treatment in both groups, compared with baseline scores. However, mean scores between groups were not different. Global scores, assigned by the owner, generally reflected changes in mean aggression scores.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Compared with placebo, clomipramine administered to dogs at the dosage recommended for treatment of separation anxiety did not reduce aggressiveness toward human family members. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999; 215:1288–1291)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine the prevalence of age-related behavioral changes, namely impairment, in a randomly chosen population of dogs.

Design—Age-stratified cohort study.

Animals—97 spayed female and 83 castrated male dogs that were 11 to 16 years old.

Procedure—Data on possible impairment in 4 behavioral categories (ie, orientation in the home and yard, social interaction, house training, and sleep-wake cycle) linked to cognitive dysfunction were obtained from dog owners, using a structured telephone interview. Hospital records of dogs had been screened to exclude dogs with dysfunction in organ systems that may cause behavioral changes. Dogs with behavioral impairment were those with ≥ 2 signs of dysfunction within a category. Dogs with impairment in 1 category were considered mildly impaired and those with impairment in ≥ 2 categories were considered severely impaired.

Results—Age by sex interactions for dogs with impairment in any category were not significant, and, therefore, data on castrated males and spayed females were pooled for analyses across ages. The prevalence of age-related progressive impairment was significant in all categories. The percentage of 11- to 12-year-old dogs with impairment in ≥ 1 category was 28% (22/80), of which 10% (8/80) had impairment in ≥ 2 behavioral categories. Of 15- to 16- year-old dogs, 68% (23/34) had impairment in ≥ 1 category, of which 35% (12/34) had impairments in ≥ 2 categories. There were no significant effects of body weight on the prevalence of signs of dysfunction in the behavioral categories.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Data collected provide estimates of the prevalence of various degrees of age-related behavioral changes associated with cognitive dysfunction in dogs. Age-related behavioral changes may be useful indicators for medical intervention for dogs with signs of cognitive impairment. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:1787–1791)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association