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Age-related behavioural disorders in dogs: clinical, behavioural and therapeutic approach

By M. C. Osella, L. Bergamasco, P. Badino

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Practicing veterinarians have long been aware of geriatric behavioural changes in pet dogs, often described by the owners as "normal aging" or "senility". The first diagnostic tool is a good knowledge of the potential behavioural changes associated with aging; afterwards any underlying medical conditions (neurologic, hormonal, structural, disease processes etc.) related to the behavioural changes should be identified. Old pet dogs exhibit multiple behavioural or "cognitive" problems indicative of cognitive dysfunction, which in some canine patients are sufficiently severe to disrupt the dog's function as an adequate pet. Aim of this study has been to analyse the different geriatric behavioural problems by mean of behaviour and clinical evaluation. During 1999-2001, forty-five dogs had been selected in the population of elderly dogs referred for behavioural abnormalities without primary organ failure. The following diagnosis has been established: cognitive dysfunction (7 cases), age-related dysthymia (3), age-related hyper-aggressiveness syndrome (8), involutive depression (6), age-related hyperattachment syndrome (6), age-related phobias (3), age-related generalized anxiety (12). In each case a therapeutic plan was implemented, including the environmental and the behavioural aspects, the human-animal relationship and a drug therapy when necessary. The recovery grade was excellent (70

Date 2003
Publication Title Veterinaria (Cremona)
Volume 17
Issue 2
Pages 41-47
ISBN/ISSN 0391-3151
Language Italian
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Aging
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal diseases
  5. Animal health and hygiene
  6. Animal roles
  7. Deviant behavior
  8. Dogs
  9. Geriatrics
  10. Mammals
  11. Pets and companion animals
  12. therapeutics
  13. therapy