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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objectives—To determine potential risk factors and behaviors associated with separation anxiety and develop a practical index to help in the diagnosis of separation anxiety in dogs.

Design—Case-control study.

Animals—200 dogs with separation anxiety and 200 control dogs with other behavior problems.

Procedures—Medical records were reviewed for signalment, history of behavior problems, home environment, management, potentially associated behaviors, and concurrent problems.

Results—Dogs from a home with a single adult human were approximately 2.5 times as likely to have separation anxiety as dogs from multiple owner homes, and sexually intact dogs were a third as likely to have separation anxiety as neutered dogs. Several factors associated with hyperattachment to the owner were significantly associated with separation anxiety. Spoiling activities, sex of the dog, and the presence of other pets in the home were not associated with separation anxiety.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results do not support the theory that early separation from the dam leads to future development of separation anxiety. Hyperattachment to the owner was significantly associated with separation anxiety; extreme following of the owner, departure cue anxiety, and excessive greeting may help clinicians distinguish between canine separation anxiety and other separation-related problems. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219: 460–466)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To identify factors associated with onset and continued elicitation of tail chasing in Bull Terriers and other terriers and to determine response to treatment with clomipramine hydrochloride, a serotonin-reuptake inhibitor.

Design

Prospective study.

Animals

18 tail-chasing terriers (15 Bull Terriers, 1 Miniature Bull Terrier, 1 American Staffordshire Terrier, 1 Jack Russell Terrier).

Procedure

5 dogs were evaluated for tail chasing by a veterinarian at the behavior clinic of the veterinary teaching hospital and 13 dogs were evaluated by the owner's local veterinarian, who confirmed the diagnosis and treated the dog. It was recommended that all dogs in the study be given clomipramine orally at a dosage of 1 to 2 mg/kg (0.5 to 0.9 mg/lb) of body weight, every 12 hours.

Results

Of the 18 dogs, 15 were treated with clomipramine within the recommended dosage range, and 3 dogs required treatment at a slightly higher dosage range to control tail chasing. After 1 to 12 weeks of treatment, 9 of 12 (75%) dogs were reported to have a 75% or greater improvement (reduction) in tail chasing.

Clinical Implications

Findings of this study may aid in recognition and treatment of compulsive tail chasing. In conjunction with appropriate management changes, clomipramine administration appears to be an effective treatment for this otherwise refractory condition. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998;212:1252–1257)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate blanket and flank sucking and any association with pica in Doberman Pinschers.

Design—Survey and case-control study.

Animals—153 Doberman Pinschers (77 dogs with blanket or flank sucking and 76 unaffected dogs).

Procedures—Owners of Doberman Pinschers with blanket sucking, flank sucking, or both were surveyed regarding the age of onset, triggers, frequency, duration, interruptability, and associated medical and behavioral consequences. A putative association of blanket sucking and flank sucking with pica was examined by comparison of affected dogs with unaffected dogs.

Results—Apart from the difference in the object of oral activity between blanket and flank suckers, age of onset was the only variable that differed between dogs with the 2 conditions. Dogs with blanket or flank sucking had a higher prevalence of pica than the unaffected population.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Blanket and flank sucking are apparently related conditions that can occur with sufficient intensity to cause medical sequelae. These nonnutritive suckling behaviors share similarities with other canine compulsive disorders and are associated with pica. Veterinarians should advise owners that flank and blanket sucking are abnormal, potentially harmful behaviors in dogs. Treatment should be considered for severely affected dogs or when flank or blanket sucking is associated with medical problems.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Objective

To survey veterinarians in small animal practice concerning their attitudes about delivery of behavior services, frequency of common behavior problems, manner in which services were provided, confidence in their clinical ability to treat these behavior problems, frequency of use of pharmacologic intervention, and number of dogs and cats euthanatized specifically because of behavior problems.

Design

Cross-sectional mail survey.

Sample Population

Random sample of veterinarians in small animal practice in the United States.

Procedure

A self-administered mail survey was sent to a random sample of 2,000 veterinarians. Results were tabulated and statistically analyzed.

Results

It was estimated that approximately 224,000 dogs and cats were euthanatized annually in small animal veterinary practices in the United States because of behavior problems. Although veterinarians seemed unwilling to euthanatize animals for behavior problems solely on the basis of a client’s request, many veterinarians did not routinely inquire about animal behavior and often were not confident in their clinical skills to treat behavior problems. Female veterinarians tended to be more proactive in addressing behavior problems and to have more positive attitudes than male veterinarians about the importance of animal behavior.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Efforts are needed to increase the number of veterinarians who systematically incorporate inquiries about animal behavior into routine clinical practice and to build the confidence of veterinarians for diagnosing and treating animal behavior problems. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;215:1606–1611)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association