In Brief| Volume 44, ISSUE 3, Pvii-x, May 2014

Download started.



        Preface: Behavior: A Guide for Practitioners xiii

        Gary M. Landsberg and Valarie V. Tynes

        Small Animal Behavioral Triage: A Guide for Practitioners 379

        Kenneth M. Martin, Debbie Martin, and Julie K. Shaw
        Behavioral concerns are the principal cause of a weakened human-animal bond and pet relinquishment. Triaging behavioral concerns and providing early intervention may be the difference between a patient remaining in its current home or relinquishment. Prevention and intervention behavior services using a team approach may also improve pet retention through client education and appropriate assistance. Identifying and integrating qualified animal behavior professionals to assist with the hospital’s behavior team ensures appropriate support is provided to the client and patient.

        Common Sense Behavior Modification: A Guide for Practitioners 401

        Debra F. Horwitz and Amy L. Pike
        Behavior problems are often given as a reason for pet relinquishment to shelters. When presented with any behavior problem, veterinarians should perform a thorough physical examination (including neurologic and orthopedic examination) and a minimum database, including a complete blood cell count, chemistry panel, and total T4 and free T4 by equilibrium dialysis if the T4 value is low to rule out any medical contributions. Veterinarians should be a source of information regarding management, safety, and basic behavior modification for common behavior problems. Additionally, various control devices offer pet owners the ability to better manage their pets in difficult situations.

        Canine and Feline Enrichment in the Home and Kennel: A Guide for Practitioners 427

        Sarah Heath and Clare Wilson
        As general veterinary practitioners, we have a duty of care that applies not only to the physical health needs of our patients but also to their mental well-being. Advising clients about how to enrich their home and kennel environments is an important part of fulfilling that duty of care and will also enrich the relationship between the veterinary practitioner and client. This article discusses how to optimize welfare for dogs and cats in the home and kenneled environments through appropriate environmental enrichment and understanding of species-typical behavioral requirements.

        The Pet-friendly Veterinary Practice: A Guide for Practitioners 451

        Meghan E. Herron and Traci Shreyer
        Low-stress handling is important for the safety of the veterinary staff and for the welfare of the patient. The commitment to ensuring the emotional well-being of the patient should be equal to that shown toward the physical well-being of the animals under a veterinarian’s care. Before handling animals it is essential to assess the environment and the patient’s response to it. Taking the time to create a behavior handling plan makes future visits easier and bonds clients to the practice. Understanding how and when to use handling tools is key to making patient visits safer, more humane, and more efficient.

        Genetics and Behavior: A Guide for Practitioners 483

        Karen L. Overall, Katriina Tiira, Desiree Broach, and Deborah Bryant
        Phenotyping behavior is difficult, partly because behavior is almost always influenced by environment. Using objective terms/criteria to evaluate behaviors is best; the more objective the assessment, the more likely underlying genetic patterns will be identified. Behavioral pathologies, and highly desirable behavioral characteristics/traits, are likely complex, meaning that multiple genes are probably involved, and therefore simple genetic tests are less possible. Breeds can be improved using traditional quantitative genetic methods; unfortunately, this also creates the possibility of inadvertently selecting for covarying undesirable behaviors. Patterns of behaviors within families and breed lines are still the best guidelines for genetic counseling in dogs.

        Recognizing Behavioral Signs of Pain and Disease: A Guide for Practitioners 507

        Diane Frank
        Disease is always associated with changes in behavior such as disappearance of normal behaviors or appearance of new behaviors. These changes are often considered as abnormal behavior, indicating illness and/or pain. The aim of this article is to illustrate some examples of cases that might present as behavioral disorders but are in fact medical conditions. Subtle behavioral signs of disease are also discussed.

        Stress—Its Effects on Health and Behavior: A Guide for Practitioners 525

        Daniel Mills, Christos Karagiannis, and Helen Zulch
        Stressors impact on all areas of a pet's life, potentially to the detriment of their well-being. In addition, should this lead to behavior change, it is likely to cause strain in the owner-pet relationship with an increased risk of relinquishment. Understanding why events may be perceived as stressful to a given individual is essential in remedying their effect. Clinicians need to be skilled in recognizing and categorizing potential stressors as well as auditing the background stress in the animal's environment as only once this has been accomplished can specific measures be implemented to reduce the effects of the stress load.

        Abnormal Repetitive Behaviors in Dogs and Cats: A Guide for Practitioners 543

        Valarie V. Tynes and Leslie Sinn
        Abnormal repetitive behaviors (ARBs) represent a diverse group of behaviors whose underlying mechanism is poorly understood. Their neurobiology likely involves several different neurotransmitter systems. These behaviors have been referred to as compulsive disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders and stereotypies. Underlying medical conditions and pain can often cause changes in behavior that are mistaken for ARBs. A complete medical work-up is always indicated prior to reaching a presumptive diagnosis. The frequency of ARBs can be reduced but not always eliminated with the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) in conjunction with behavior modification and environmental enrichment.

        Intercat Aggression: Restoring Harmony in the Home: A Guide for Practitioners 565

        Christopher L. Pachel
        Intercat aggression is a common problem within multicat households. Diagnosis and treatment requires an understanding of the social structure of free-living cats and of how those interactions are impacted by confinement and household management practices. There are multiple causes of aggression between cats within a home, and treatment plans should be customized to account for the diagnosis and behavior pattern identified. Some cases of intercat aggression can be treated successfully without requiring full separation of the involved cats. In cases where separation is required, treatment includes steps for successful reintroduction and reintegration. Several situational and maintenance medication options can be used to improve the response to treatment.

        Feline Aggression Toward Family Members: A Guide for Practitioners 581

        Melissa Bain and Elizabeth Stelow
        Feline aggression toward people is a common and potentially dangerous problem. Proper diagnosis of the underlying cause of the aggression is key in effective treatment. A complete history, including information on the people in the home, other pets, and specific incidents, is necessary to make this diagnosis. A comprehensive treatment plan typically includes management, enhancement of the cat’s living environment, techniques for replacing the aggressive behavior with more appropriate behaviors, and, potentially, medication. The treatment plan must reflect the abilities and commitment of the owner.

        Canine Aggression Toward People: A Guide for Practitioners 599

        Karen Lynn C. Sueda and Rachel Malamed
        This article reviews the various causes of human-directed aggression in dogs and provides a step-by-step plan guiding the general practitioner through history taking, behavior observations, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, and follow-up care. Charts summarizing how to obtain behavioral information, the client’s management options, treatment recommendations, diagnosis and treatment of human-directed aggression, and the clinician’s role in preventing human-directed aggression are included. A graphic illustration of canine body language is also provided.

        Appendix: Drug Dosage Chart 629

        Caroline Perrin, Kersti Seksel, and Gary M. Landsberg
        For many medications, the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in pets have not been established and even where studies have been done, there is widespread species and individual variation. Practitioners should start with the lower end of the dose range and titrate up to maximum doses where there is insufficient therapeutic effect and no adverse effects or contraindications. Complete blood count, serum chemistry profile, and urinalysis should be performed before initiating the use of any medication, especially with off-label medications. Pharmacologic intervention for the treatment of behavior problems should be considered just one aspect of a comprehensive behavioral management and treatment protocol.
        Index 633