Description and development of compulsive tail chasing in terriers and response to clomipramine treatment

Alice A. Moon-Fanelli From the Department of Clinical Sciences, School or Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grarton, MA 01536.

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Nicholas H. Dodman From the Department of Clinical Sciences, School or Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grarton, MA 01536.

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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)

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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