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Psycho-Behavioural Changes in Dogs Treated with Corticosteroids: A Clinical Behaviour Perspective

By Lorella Notari, Roxane Kirton, Daniel S. Mills

Category Journal Articles

Arousal and distress are often important factors in problematic behaviours, and endogenous corticosteroids are important mediators in the associated stress responses. Exogenous corticosteroid treatments have been reported to change behaviour in human patients and laboratory animals, with similar changes also noted in pet dogs. These behaviours not only potentially adversely impact the welfare of the dogs, but also the quality of life of their owners. Indeed, corticosteroids can bias sensitivity towards aversion in dogs. A decrease in behaviours associated with positive affective states, such as play and exploratory behaviours, together with an increase in aggression and barking have also been described in dogs. According to the available literature, human patients with pre-existing psychiatric disorders are more at risk of developing behavioural side effects due to corticosteroid treatments. It is reasonable to consider that the same may happen in dogs with pre-existing behavioural problems. In this paper, the possible behavioural side effects of exogenous corticosteroids are summarised to help inform and support veterinarians prescribing these drugs.

Publication Title Animals
Volume 12
Issue 5
Pages 592
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani12050592
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Affect
  2. Aggression
  3. Agitation
  4. Anxiety
  5. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  6. Corticosteroids
  7. Dogs
  8. Emotions
  9. open access
  10. Stress
  1. open access