Dogs Can Suffer Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
It is not just people who suffer the emotional pain and anguish of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. There is a preponderance of researched and documented evidence showing the disorder affecting most mammals, and unfortunately, this includes dogs. Unfortunately, certain temperaments may quickly fall victim to this mental affliction if exposed to stress. The effects manifest in one of two ways; either a quick onslaught of abnormal behavior, or it can slowly build to a full-out display of compulsive disorders. This particular compulsive disorder is often, (but not necessarily always) a condition of group/breed based behavior. For example, collies with their long, luxurious coats may repetitively groom themselves to the point of simply destroying coat and if left unchecked, do real damage to themselves. Shelties may feel the need to chase and herd everything that moves. Large protection breeds could all of a sudden become mouthy or aggressive biters. It is apparent that the compulsive behaviors are actually the excessive performance of completely appropriate behaviors in which a normal dog would perform. For example, it is hardly unusual to see a dog to lick itself, but to perform the act with such repetition, that it becomes an uncontrollable behavior, is call for concern.
An excellent example can be made using human behavior. Who could ever fault someone for washing their hands? But if you wash them to the point of bleeding, professional help is in order. In the past, the veterinary community was split into two schools of thought; some attribute it to simply being anthropomorphic based, while others remain firmly on the fence, choosing not to take a stand. No matter the cause, there is one absolute truth, and that is the affliction is uncomfortably and absolutely genuine. The canine equivalent of excessing human hand cleansing, is called Lick Granuloma. Those poor, unfortunate dogs will mutilate themselves through over grooming. This destruction destroys the skin leaving nothing but horrible ulcerated regions. This out of control behavior in dogs by some was long considered a mystery. Now, veterinarians are putting two and two together and realizing the connection with OCD. The medical community is equipped to handle this disorder from a long overdue scientific perspective. While any breed of dog can fall prey to this affliction, it does seem the preponderance of dogs that are geared to this are larger sporting and working breeds. Although each case needs to be weighed on its own merits, what must be taken into consideration is the inclusion of any environmental issues. For example; separation anxiety, the disruption of normal daily routines or the addition of any unpleasant stressful stimulant