Difference between revisions of "Obsessive compulsive disorder"
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Latest revision as of 00:35, 15 November 2019
Obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCDs) or stereotypy is a relatively common behavior disorder of dogs and is physiological and behaviorally similar to the phenomenon in humans.
Specific regions within the brain are involved in OCDs, including the orbitofrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate circuit, basal ganglia, thalamus and amygdala. In dogs, significantly lower 5-HT receptor activity are observed in the frontal and temporal cortices in compulsive dogs, as well as abnormal dopamine transporter ratios in the left and right striatum.
OCDs may be triggered in dogs by early weaning, separation anxiety, pseudopregnancy, lightening or storm fears, physical or psychological abuse, or juvenile-related traumas. OCD in dogs does not appear to be associated with lack of training, lack of household stimulation, or social confinement. Entire male dogs appear to be more predisposed.
Canine OCDs can manifest as pica, excessive tail chasing, repetitive pacing, licking, chasing 'invisible flies', freezing, staring, light/shadow chasing, acral lick dermatitis and masturbation. Stereotypic behavior in dogs are usually exaggerated forms of natural behaviors, such as feeding, locomotion or predation and are thought to represent a coping strategy for environmentally-induced stress and anxiety. These behaviors, usually due to poor or absent psychological stimulation, frequently respond to social enrichment activities and anti-stereotypy medications such as clomipramine.
Pica, an obsessive-compulsive disorder focused on non-nutritional objects, includes sterotypic behavior such as coprophagy, stone chewing, flank sucking, and sucking or chewing on foreign objects such as wool, blankets, toys, etc. This should be distinguished from normal behavior such as bone chewing, which may last for hours but the behavior is sated once the object is consumed.
Although pica may manifest in dogs with frank mineral deficiencies, this is a very rare clinical diagnosis. Most cases of pica are a manifestation of an underlying obsessive compulsive disorder.
Pica is particularly common in densely housed conditions where boredom plays a role in initiating the vice. Once psychological established, OCDs can be difficult to resolve, particularly in young dogs where the behavior becomes 'hard-wired'.
In some dogs, pica may be an aspect of an multifactorial obsessive-compulsive disorder, where psychosomatic frustration and boredom, particularly in work dogs, manifest in altered behaviors such as
In most cases, a diagnosis is established by first excluding any underlying physical disease that may trigger OCDs, such as:
- Polyphagia - abnormal appetite
- Psychogenic polydipsia - compulsive drinking
- Diabetes insipidus - compulsive drinking
- Polycythemia vera - pica
- Anemia - pica
- Acral lick dermatitis - compulsive licking
- Acral mutilation syndrome - neuropathy and self-mutilation
- Hypothyroidism - compulsive eating
- Portosystemic shunt - pica associated with hepatopathy
- lymphocytic leukemia - pica
- Seizures - stereotypy
- Rabies - stereotypy
Blood tests are recommended to detect any underlying electrolyte imbalance. Cobalamin testing should also be considered, especially in cases of iron-loss enteropathies such as ulcerative colitis.
In dogs with obsessive compulsive disorders with no obvious underlying disease process, a decision is usually made on whether the OCD interfers with quality of life to require intervention.
In cases where the disorder is relatively mild, no therapy is necessarily required.
In more severe cases, physical therapy such as regular exercise, environmental enrichment and mood-altering drugs (e.g. fluoxetine) or behavior modification drugs (e.g. diazepam, amitriptyline, clomipramine, buspirone) may be required.
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