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  • Author or Editor: Victoria L. Voith x
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Summary

Among 26 dogs ≥ 10 years old, the most frequent owner complaints relating to behavioral problems were destructive behavior in the house (n = 10), inappropriate urination or defecation in the house (n = 10), and excessive vocalization (n = 7). The most frequent behavioral diagnoses were separation anxiety (n = 13) and breakdown of housetraining (n = 6). Most of the behavioral problems in the 26 dogs began after the dogs reached the age of 10 years, and most of the dogs had been owned for many years without having behavioral problems. Few behavioral problems in old dogs had a medical basis. Most cases of inappropriate urination or defecation in the house were not related to urinary or fecal incontinence, but were exacerbated by problems such as degenerative joint disease and renal disease. Behavioral therapy is appropriate for behavioral problems in old dogs, and, taking into account an old dog's health and physical limitations, techniques used are the same as for younger dogs.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Summary

Among 27 cases of cat aggression manifested toward people, 14 cases were diagnosed as redirected or probable redirected aggression, because the cat was already highly aroused by other stimuli before attacking a person. A detailed behavioral history enabled identification of arousing stimuli. The most common arousing stimulus was the presence of another cat. Other arousing stimuli included high-pitched noises, visitors in the house, a dog, an unusual odor, and being outdoors unexpectedly. Medical problems or other behavioral abnormalities were not detected in any of the cats that could explain their aggressive behavior. Management consisted of avoidance or elimination of arousing stimuli wherever possible and extensive client education. On follow-up there was no recurrence of redirected attacks in 4 cats, variable decreases in the severity and frequency of attacks in 5 cats, and no change in 1 cat. Three cats were euthanatized, including one that had shown some improvement. Follow-up information was not available for the 2 remaining cases. Redirected aggression in cats is not well documented and may be misdiagnosed as idiopathic aggression or other behavioral abnormality. Although redirected attacks may be sudden, severe, and frightening, with careful management, a favorable outcome is possible.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether a program of human interaction or alterations in diet composition would alter activity of the hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal (HPA) axis in dogs housed in an animal shelter.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—40 dogs.

Procedure—Dogs were (n = 20) or were not (20) enrolled in a program of regular supplemental human interaction (20 min/d, 5 d/wk, for 8 weeks) involving stroking, massaging, and behavioral training. In addition, half the dogs in each group were fed a typical maintenance-type diet, and the other half were fed a premium diet. Plasma cortisol and ACTH concentrations were measured during weeks 0, 2, 4, and 8 and before and after exposure to a battery of novel situations during weeks 0 and 8.

Results—Plasma cortisol concentration was significantly decreased by week 2, but plasma ACTH concentration was not significantly decreased until week 8 and then only in dogs fed the premium diet. Following exposure to novel situations, plasma cortisol and ACTH concentrations were significantly increased. However, during week 8, dogs enrolled in the program of human interaction had significantly lower increases in cortisol concentration than did dogs not enrolled in the program.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that both a program of human interaction and alterations in diet composition have moderating effects on activity of the HPA axis in dogs housed in an animal shelter and that activity of the HPA axis may be increased for a longer period during shelter housing than measurement of plasma cortisol concentration alone would suggest. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:65–71)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association