Obsessive compulsive disorders in pets

Obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, isn’t just a human condition. It’s a condition that could also affect your pet!

That’s according to a recent announcement of the discovery of a so-called canine OCD gene. In fact, scientists have discovered a total of four genes that have been linked to this condition, which can cause serious emotional distress and behavioral problems in dogs of all breeds and ages.

Dogs who suffer from OCD exhibit a wide range of different symptoms and repetitive behaviors, including:

• tail chasing
• chewing
• sucking
• licking
• fly biting
• barking
• spinning
• chewing or sucking on a specific toy

Owners of dogs with OCD cannot distract or redirect a dog who suffers from OCD. Typically, the pet will spend hours performing a particular behavior, even despite of injury such as skin infections. Some pets with OCD have been known to self-mutilate to the point of requiring amputation.

Like humans, dogs cannot be “cured” of OCD, but it is possible to treat a pet’s OCD using medications such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs.

If you suspect your dog has OCD, it’s important to discuss the situation with your veterinarian. Some OCD-like behaviors can also result from anxiety or boredom, so it’s important to thoroughly evaluate the pet’s behavior. If your dog does appear to have OCD or another condition, such as anxiety, your vet can provide your pet with medications and other therapies that can improve the symptoms.