Objective—To identify inciting causes, alternative targets, and risk factors associated with redirected aggression in cats.
Animals—19 cats with a history of redirected aggression and 64 cats with no such history.
Procedures—Medical records were reviewed to identify cats evaluated for problems with redirected aggression (case cats), in which the primary inciting stimulus and alternative target of aggression were clearly identifiable. Data obtained from the records and from follow-up interviews included details about the cats and incidents of redirected aggression. Owners of control cats were interviewed via telephone to obtain similar information on their cats.
Results—22 incidents of redirected aggression were reported for the 19 case cats. In 95% of those incidents, loud noises or interactions with other cats were identified as the inciting stimuli. Case cats most commonly redirected their aggression toward the owner, followed by another cat living in the same household. Compared with control cats, case cats were more likely to have a sound phobia but were less likely to be outdoor cats. In addition, case cats were more likely to be from small households (≤ 2 people) than were control cats. In most situations, case cats had adopted a defensive body posture immediately before the incident of redirected aggression, which suggested that the underlying motivation was fear.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Fear was likely the most common motivation for redirected aggression in the cats of this report. To reduce the risk of redirected aggression, veterinarians should encourage owners to socialize kittens and habituate them to novel objects and sounds.
Objective—To study the effects of a synthetic, dog-appeasing pheromone (sDAP) on the behavioral, neuroendocrine, immune, and acute-phase perioperative stress responses in dogs undergoing elective orchiectomy or ovariohysterectomy.
Design—Randomized, controlled clinical trial.
Animals—46 dogs housed in animal shelters and undergoing elective orchiectomy or ovariohysterectomy.
Procedures—Intensive care unit cages were sprayed with sDAP solution or sham treated with the carrier used in the solution 20 minutes prior to use. Dogs (n = 24 and 22 in the sDAP and sham treatment exposure groups, respectively) were placed in treated cages for 30 minutes before and after surgery. Indicators of stress (ie, alterations in behavioral, neuroendocrine, immune, and acute-phase responses) were evaluated perioperatively. Behavioral response variables, salivary cortisol concentration, WBC count, and serum concentrations of glucose, prolactin, haptoglobin, and C-reactive protein were analyzed.
Results—Behavioral response variables and serum prolactin concentration were influenced by sDAP exposure. Dogs exposed to sDAP were more likely to have alertness and visual exploration behaviors after surgery than were dogs exposed to sham treatment. Decreases in serum prolactin concentrations in response to perioperative stress were significantly smaller in dogs exposed to sDAP, compared with findings in dogs exposed to the sham treatment. Variables examined to evaluate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, immune system, and acute-phase responses were unaffected by treatment.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—sDAP appeared to affect behavioral and neuroendocrine perioperative stress responses by modification of lactotropic axis activity. Use of sDAP in a clinical setting may improve the recovery and welfare of dogs undergoing surgery. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2010;237:673-681)