Unwanted behaviour in dogs is a major cause of rehoming and even euthanasia. An American vet specialising in animal behaviour, stress evaluation and canine aggression has reported some interesting findings. Carlo Siracusa from the Department of Clinical Studies at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania has noted that several medical and surgical treatments that are routinely prescribed by vets can affect the behaviour of dogs.
Links Between Veterinary Treatment and Behaviour Change
- Dogs under corticosteroid treatment were reported to have several behavioural changes. These include being less active, less playful, more nervous, more fearful, more aggressive in the presence of food and when disturbed, more likely to bark.
- Apoquel, a drug used to help dogs with itchy skin conditions has been linked to increased aggression.
- A well-known and frequently used antihistamine called Diphenhydramine has been linked as the cause of unwanted excitement and nervousness in dogs.
- A drug called Phenylpropanolamine which is commonly used for the treatment of urine leaking in dogs, can cause restlessness and increased irritability.
- Medication used to control seizures may provoke anxiety and agitation.
- Surgery can be incredibly stressful and consequently cause major behavioural changes.
So if your dog is experiencing changes in their behaviour and is receiving or recently received medication or has had surgery, it is worth having a chat to your vet. Likewise, it would be a good idea during any veterinary consultations to discuss the potential side effects of treatments, including the potential for behaviour changes.
Lots of things can affect behaviour, including the gut, brain, immune system and hormones. Siracusa advises that any medications that affect body systems linked to behaviour have the potential to cause noticeable behavioural changes.
REFERENCE: Siracusa, C. (2016) Treatments affecting dog behaviour: something to be aware of. Veterinary Record 179, 460-461.
Natalie Bucklar, BSc (Hons), MSc is the owner of Pawsitive Thinking. We offer a tried and tested portfolio of products to help you with the training, care and enrichment of your much loved pets. SHOP HERE
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