Objective—To determine whether availability of a veterinary behavior service aids in the recruitment of clients to a referral practice who may not have chosen to visit a referral practice otherwise and to assess the priorities and satisfaction of first-time clients.
Design—Prospective survey study.
Sample—87 questionnaires completed by pet owners.
Procedures—Owners of dogs and cats visiting the Behavior Medicine Clinic, a veterinary behavior service, at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center for the first time were asked to participate in a 10-question survey at the end of their initial appointment.
Results—59 of 87 (68%) new clients had never visited the Veterinary Medical Center for any other specialty service; in addition, 56 of 87 (64%) had never taken a pet to any specialty practice prior to their appointment with the Behavior Medicine Clinic. Seventy-four of 85 (87%) clients reported that they were likely to bring their pet to another specialty service on the basis of their experience with the Behavior Medicine Clinic.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—On the basis of the survey findings, availability of veterinary behavior services may result in recruitment of first-time clients to a referral center. Clients' experience with a veterinary behavior service may increase their likelihood of visiting other specialty practices within the same hospital, potentially increasing revenue for the entire practice.
OBJECTIVE To determine escape rates for dogs confined to their owner's property by various containment methods and determine whether biting history was associated with containment method.
DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.
SAMPLE 974 owners of 1,053 dogs.
PROCEDURES Individuals patronizing pet stores in Columbus, Ohio, were recruited to complete a survey on the method they used to confine their dogs to their property and their dogs’ behavior history.
RESULTS Dogs were confined to their owner's property by a physical fence (821/1,053 [78.0%]), electronic fence (150/1,053 [14.2%]), or tether system (82/1,053 [7.8%]). Dogs confined by an electronic fence were more likely to have escaped (66/150 [44.0%]) than were dogs confined by a see-through fence (153/658 [23.3%]), privacy fence (38/163 [23.3%]), or tether (22/82 [26.8%]). Forty-eight (4.6%) dogs had reportedly bitten a person in the past, and 81 (7.7%) had reportedly bitten another dog, but containment method was not significantly associated with whether dogs had ever bitten a person or another dog. Greeting behavior (growling, snarling, or trying to bite) was significantly associated with a history of biting a person or another dog.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that escape rate, but not biting history, was associated with the method owners used to confine dogs to their properties. Greeting behavior was associated with biting history, suggesting that owners of dogs that growl, snarl, or attempt to bite when meeting an unfamiliar person or dog should seek assistance to prevent future bites.
OBJECTIVE To determine the effects of trazodone treatment on behavioral signs of stress in hospitalized dogs.
DESIGN Prospective observational study.
ANIMALS 120 client-owned dogs.
PROCEDURES Hospitalized dogs administered trazodone (n = 60) were observed for stress-related signs or behaviors ≤ 45 minutes after the drug was administered (time 1) and approximately 90 minutes later (time 2). Dogs that did not receive trazodone (n = 60) were selected to serve as controls for environmental stimuli that could affect behavior and were observed at the same times. Signs or behaviors (scored as present or absent) were assessed individually and grouped into behavioral summation categories (frenetic [lip licking, pacing, panting, spinning, trembling, wet dog shake, whining, and yawning], freeze [averting gaze, pinning back ears, and whale eye sign], or fractious [growling, lunging, showing teeth, and snapping], with lifting of a forelimb and pupil dilation included in all categories). Results were compared between groups and within groups over time. Logistic regression was performed to assess associations between reduction in stress-related signs or behaviors and trazodone administration while controlling for environmental influences.
RESULTS Lip licking, panting, and whining were reduced (defined as present at time 1 and absent at time 2) in trazodone-treated but not environmentally matched dogs. The median number of stress-related behaviors and of frenetic and freeze behaviors was significantly lower at time 2, compared with time 1, in trazodone-treated dogs. Odds of reduced panting and reduced frenetic behaviors at time 2 for trazodone-treated dogs were > 2 times those for environmentally matched dogs.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that trazodone administration reduced stress-related signs and behaviors in hospitalized dogs and may thereby improve patient welfare.
To assess the effects of a 4-week group class specifically created for dogs ≥ 8 years old (senior dogs) on the development and progression of signs consistent with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS).
86 dogs with or without signs of CDS at the time of study enrollment.
Dog owners completed a proprietary CDS survey at baseline and then 3, 6, and 12 months after completion of the baseline survey. Twenty owners with their dogs attended 4 weekly 50-minute classes that were specifically developed for senior dogs, addressed common behavior problems for these dogs, and included training and enrichment activities. Survey results were compared between class and nonclass groups and within groups at 3, 6, and 12 months.
The association between age and CDS score was significant, such that older dogs had signs consistent with a higher degree of impairment. Cognitive dysfunction syndrome scores for dogs that attended the class did not significantly differ at 12 months, compared with scores at 3 months, whereas the CDS scores for dogs that did not attend the class were significantly increased at 12 months, compared with scores at 3 months.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Signs of CDS developed or worsened as dogs aged. Participation in the senior dog class mitigated the progression of signs of CDS and may improve a senior dog's quality of life.
Objective—To characterize the effects of diazepam in dogs with behavior problems and to determine whether adverse effects were of sufficient concern to owners to prompt drug discontinuation.
Sample Population—37 dogs and their owners.
Procedures—Dogs for which diazepam had been prescribed by the behavior service of a veterinary teaching hospital from July 2005 through June 2007 were identified. Owners were interviewed via telephone to obtain data on dose and frequency of administration of diazepam, effectiveness, adverse effects, and, when applicable, reasons for discontinuing the drug.
Results—Diazepam was described as very (24% [9/37]) or somewhat (43% [16/37]) effective by most owners. At the time of the interview, 18 (49%) owners reported that they were still administering diazepam to their dogs. For the remainder, reasons for discontinuation included adverse effects (58% [11/19]) and lack of efficacy (53% [10/19]). Reported adverse effects included sedation, increased appetite, ataxia, agitation, increased activity, and aggression. Owners administering diazepam to ameliorate fear of thunderstorms (24% [9/37]) were more likely to view diazepam as effective than were owners of dogs that received it for separation anxiety (54% [20/37]). Owners of dogs that received ≥ 0.8 mg of diazepam/kg (0.36 mg/lb) were more likely to report increased activity as an adverse effect than were owners of dogs that received < 0.8 mg/kg.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Adverse effects of diazepam in dogs were commonly reported and often led to drug discontinuation. Owner education and follow-up is recommended to avoid treatment failure when prescribing diazepam for anxiety-related behavior problems in dogs.
Objective—To determine the effect of preadoption counseling for owners on house-training success among dogs acquired from shelters.
Sample Population—113 dog owners.
Procedures—Participants were randomly assigned to a treatment (n = 54) or a control (59) group. Dog owners in the treatment group received counseling (5 minutes' duration) regarding house-training. Owners in the control group did not receive counseling, but all other adoption procedures were otherwise identical to those applied to the treatment group. All participants were contacted by telephone 1 month after adoption of a dog for assessment of house-training status and related issues by use of a standardized survey method; data were compared between groups.
Results—Most shelter dogs were considered successfully house-trained by their owners 1 month after adoption. Furthermore, dogs were considered house-trained by significantly more owners who received preadoption counseling than control group owners (98.1% vs 86.4%). Owners who received counseling used verbal punishment on their dogs during house-training less frequently and applied enzymatic cleaners to urine- or feces-soiled areas more frequently than owners in the control group.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results have suggested that brief preadoption counseling for owners enhances successful house-training of dogs adopted from shelters. Counseling owners at the time of pet acquisition may thus have beneficial effects in the prevention of inappropriate elimination behaviors. Veterinarians and animal care staff should be encouraged to devote time to counsel new pet owners on successful house-training, as well as other healthcare and behavioral needs.
Objective—To characterize health and behavior problems in dogs and cats 1 week and 1 month after adoption from animal shelters and identify factors associated with the likelihood that owners of adopted animals would visit a veterinarian.
Sample Population—2,766 (1 week) and 2,545 (1 month) individuals who had adopted an animal from a shelter.
Procedures—Internet and telephone survey responses were collected 1 week and 1 month after animal adoption.
Results—Overall, 1,361 of 2,624 (51.9%) dogs and cats had health problems 1 week after adoption, and 239 of 2,312 (10.3%) had a health problem 1 month after adoption. The most common health problem for dogs and cats was respiratory tract disease. A total of 1,630 of 2,689 (60.6%) respondents had taken their animal to a veterinarian within the first week after adoption and 1,865 of 2,460 (75.8%) had within the first month after adoption. Respondents were more likely to have visited a veterinarian if they had adopted a dog versus a cat or if the animal was young (≤ 1 year old), had ≥ 1 health problem, or had adjusted moderately to extremely well to its new home within the first month after adoption. Cats had fewer behavior problems than dogs. One week after adoption, the most commonly reported behavior problem was house training for dogs and chewing, digging, or scratching at objects for cats.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that improvements can be made in the percentage of new owners who visit a veterinarian after adopting an animal from a shelter.
Objective—To determine the effect of food-toy enrichment combined with cage-behavior training on desirable behaviors in shelter dogs and adoption rates.
Design—Randomized controlled clinical trial.
Procedures—Dogs placed up for adoption in a municipal shelter were randomly assigned to either an experimental group (n = 48) or control group (59). Experimental group subjects were exposed to an environmental enrichment and training protocol consisting of twice-daily cage-behavior training and daily provision of a food-filled toy. Cage-behavior training included operant conditioning via positive reinforcement of desirable behaviors, including approaching the front of the cage, sitting or lying, and remaining quiet when approached. Behavioral observations were performed by a blinded observer in a scan-sampling technique on day 0 (first day on adoption floor) and again on day 3 for experimental (n = 26) and control (32) dogs. Body posture, location in cage, and other behavioral parameters were recorded. Adoption information and behavioral observation data were compared between groups.
Results—Compared with the control group, the experimental group had a significantly greater percentage of dogs with an increase in desirable behaviors of sitting or lying down (17/26 [65%] vs 7/32 [22%]) and being quiet (9/26 [35%] vs 4/32 [13%]) and a significantly greater percentage of dogs with a decrease in the undesirable behavior of jumping (15/26 [57%] vs 3/32 [9%]). Location in cage, fearfulness, and eye contact were not significantly different between groups. Survival analysis revealed no significant difference in adoption rates between groups.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that enrichment programs improve desirable behaviors and decrease undesirable behavior in shelter dogs, which may enhance welfare.
To survey first-year veterinary students' knowledge of companion animal (dog, cat, and horse) behavior and popular-culture (ie, pop-culture) behavior myths related to animal body language, motivations, and learning prior to participation in an introductory animal behavior course; evaluate potential associations between sources of prior behavior knowledge and knowledge on the preclass survey; and determine whether postclass scores on the same survey were predictive of final examination score for the behavior class.
156 first-year veterinary students.
Students were invited to participate in an anonymous electronic survey before and after a semester-long, 2-credit introductory animal behavior course. Demographic features, self-assessed animal behavior knowledge, and sources of prior behavior knowledge were evaluated as predictors of preclass survey knowledge scores. Postclass survey knowledge scores were evaluated for association with final examination scores as a measure of validity.
Preclass knowledge scores were low (mean ± SD, 49 ± 12.7%; n = 152). Reporting peer-reviewed journal articles as a source of incoming knowledge predicted 9% higher scores, whereas reporting magazines or online pop-culture articles as a source of incoming knowledge predicted 7.6% lower scores for preclass behavior knowledge, compared with scores for students not citing those respective sources. Companion animal ownership was not associated with preclass survey knowledge scores. Postclass knowledge scores were substantially improved (mean ± SD, 84.3 ± 8%) and predictive of final examination scores.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results indicated a profound deficit of behavior knowledge among veterinary students at the start of their curriculum. Students graduating from veterinary institutions without a comprehensive behavior course may be at a disadvantage for day 1 competency in addressing animal behavior problems.
To describe characteristics of intrahousehold interdog aggression (IDA) and dog and pair factors associated with a poor outcome (permanent separation, rehoming, or euthanasia of dogs).
305 pairs of dogs (610 dogs) with IDA.
The record database of a referral veterinary behavioral clinic was searched to identify pairs of dogs that were evaluated for IDA (IDA pairs) between September 2007 and September 2016. A standardized form was used to extract data for each IDA pair, including signalment and acquisition order of both dogs, history of IDA, behavioral interventions implemented, and outcome. Descriptive data were generated. Univariable logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with a poor outcome.
Most IDA pairs included at least 1 female dog (214/305 [70%]) and dogs of the same sex (188/305 [61.6%]). Resource guarding was the most common fight trigger (222/305 [72.8%]). Possessive aggression (guarding of physical resources) was the most common comorbidity for individual dogs (216/610 [35.4%]). The aggressor was acquired after the recipient in 181 of 305 (59.3%) pairs. Aggressors were a mean of 16 months younger and 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) heavier than recipients. Factors associated with a poor outcome included pairs of the same sex, history of bites that broke the skin, and aggression on sight of the recipient.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results suggested that behavior intervention should be provided quickly for IDA pairs with a history of bites that break the skin or uninhibited attacks on sight owing to the high risk for a poor outcome. Owners should be advised to avoid same-sex pairs during preadoption counseling.