Role of vet in managing behavior cases (8?)
- first contact with O/annual exams
- behavior is a MEDICAL discipline!
- Client EDUCATION, prevention and compliance. Counsel BEFORE there is a problem
- Be a resource: bonds client to practice, esp if O declines referral
- promote low-stress, fear-free environments at home and at vet hospital.
- promote human-animal bond
- decrease pet relinquishment
- improve pet's QOL
When to refer to a behavior specialist
- Outside the scope of your expertise or comfort level
- If O is considering euthanasia
- If O requests referral
- If P is not responding to current behavior modification/therapy
- recurrent distress associated with actual or perceived absence of attachment figure - distress ONLY when alone. Usu hyper-attached to one or more family members. Anxious when recognize departure cues, exuberant greetings on return.
- tx: environmental changes, behavior modification (independence, uncouple departure cues, graduated departures), pharmaceuticals. Avoid controllable triggers.
- Dogs are PANICKING. Medicate early to prevent dysregulation of stress response and escalation of anxiety.
- Fluoxetine (SSRI), Clomipramine (TCA), Pheromones, Benzodiazepines (alprazolam, clonazepam, lorazepam), Trazodone (SARI), Clonidine (alpha-2 agonist)
Phobias, esp storm phobias
- markedly exaggerated irrational responses to a noxious stimulus, whether or not the stimulus has caused harm to the animal.
- Thunderstorm phobias are PROBABLY noise phobias. Often co-morbidity with separation anxiety.
- Storm phobias: anticipate, modify environment, CC and DS, Thundershirt, pharm (event drug = short-acting, Trial dose, maintenance medication = daily). Sileo for noise aversion.
- desensitize: make a recording and play it really low all the time, every few days you turn the volume up a tiny bit.
Environmental managment of behavior probs
- ID and remove triggers (block view of outdoor cats)
- Set the pet up to succeed (SAFE area)
- Environmental enrichment (food-dispensing toys)
- change behavioral function of area (put bowls or beds where animal eliminates)
- make area/object inaccessible (chewed objects out of reach)
- make area/object undesirable (motion-activated sprays)
- reinforcement: makes behavior MORE likely to recur
- Punishment: makes behavior LESS likely to recur
- Positive: stimulus APPLIED (not necessarily good)
- Negative: stimulus REMOVED (not necessarily bad)
- part of behavioral modification
- repeatedly expose a pet to a stimulus that typically causes fear, anxiety or aggression, but at a level that does NOT cause the response
- then GRADUALLY increase intensity while staying below threshold for response
- often used in conjunction with counter-conditioning
- changing an animal's response to a stimulus (not un-learning, just making a NEW response)
- KEY to behavioral modification
- conditioning = learning
- usu a combination of classical conditioning (pair aversive stimulus with something pleasant), response substitution (reinforce a behavior that is incompatible with the undesirable), desensitization (step-by-step process of weakening of unwanted response - gradual increase of intensity)
Habituation/flooding vs desensitization
- Desensitization = gradual increase of stimulus without a response
- flooding = High constant level of stimulus until no more response. Not recommended - welfare issues
why behavior is an integral part of vet med
- fearful animals cause injuries, which are expensive!
- the hospital is scary!
ID fear and anxiety in cat
- high urinary cortisol, BP, temp, HR, RR, blood glc
- crouching, lowered head, ears out/lowered or flattened, arched back, paws drawn in towards body, tail swishing.
- Dilated pupils, vocalizing
- about to bite: sudden pupil dilation, piloerection, fast jerky tail mvmt, swatting, vocalization, direct stare with open mouth vocalization
ID fear and anxiety in dog
- aggression to eliminate a threat. usu fear-based, but once it's practiced it will continue.
- yawning, lip licking, brief body freeze, 'whale eye', head turn, shaking, tense jaw, low tail carriage, piloerection
help reduce pet fear and anxiety and prevent injuries
- pheromones (Feliway vs Adaptil)
- travel anxiety: nausea? Acclimate to crate. Put crate in seatbelt, ThunderCap.
- Pharmaceuticals: trial dose for paradox! Event drugs vs maintenance meds.
explain importance of minimizing fear and anxiety in vet hospital
- stressed cats = cats that don't return. O will seek out low-stress experience.
- reduce fear/anxiety for pet and client.
- Better bond with O and P, see P more = better care.
- fewer injuries
- enhanced efficiency, productivity, job satisfaction for veterinary team.
Low-stress handling and fear-free vet visits
- Feliway: synthetic analog of feline facial hormone, emotional stabilization, reassures cat in stressful situation
- Adaptil: synthetic analog of canine appeasing hormone emitted by bitch at whelping.
- dogs: Lots of treats! Meds BEFORE when appropriate. Right into room, calming caps, keep with O if helpful.
- Cats: acclimate cat to carrier, feliway, meds BEFORE, separate waiting area/schedule separately, allow O and cat to wait in room, towel restraint. LESS IS MORE, hands-off. DON'T let them get upset, give them time to regain equilibrium. Top-loading carrier.
significance of elimination problems
- most common feline behavior problem, high reason for euth.
- House soiling and urine marking.
- 9% of cats within 3mo of adoption. 50% of cats with LUTD.
- HX IS MOST CRITICAL DX TOOL
diagnosis and treatment for elimination
- HX is most critical tool
- dx categories: medical, house soiling (horizontal surfaces), marking behavior (vertical or horizontal, rarely fecal)
- R/O medical probs
- House soiling: investigate anxiety issues, litter box, remove the cause, re-establish litter box use, prevent access to soiled areas
- Spraying: usu vertical surfaces. Intact males. ID and remove triggers, neuter, deter outside cats from visiting, block window, separate household cats, indoor/outdoor access, "piddle pants"
- tx: decrease cat pop, litter box hygiene, L-shaped boxes or spray panel, meds (SSRI or TCA), + feliway
5 pillars of a Healthy Feline Environment
- 1. Provide a safe, secluded place to hide
- 2. Provide multiple and separate key environmental resources
- 3. provide opportunity for play and predatory behavior
- 4. provide consistent and predictable human-cat social interaction
- 5. Provide an environment that respects the importance of a cat's sense of smell.
Feline idiopathic cystitis
- can be obstructive or non
- acute and self-limiting or chronic and persistent.
- COmplex interactions between body systems: urologic, neurologic, endocrine
- Increased bladder wall permeability: abnormal GAG layer, uroepithelial health, submucosal edema, dilated vessels and hemorrhage, increased mast cell infiltration
- chronic activation of the stress response system (neuroendocrine)
- increased epithelial permeability - urine reaches afferent neurons, leading to local inflammation.
stereotypes, compounds involved and examples in horses
- a repeated relatively invariant sequence of movements that has no obvious purpose
- dopamine and norepi involved.
- Opiates may also be involved (naloxone helps)
- Occur when can't control environment. Indicates poor welfare.
- oral: cribbing, wood chewing
- locomotor: stall walking, weaving, pawing, kicking
- predisposed by lack of contact with other horses, non-straw bedding, more concentrates/less roughage, three meals a day