Causes of Canine Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Dogs that suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder often (but not always) have a history of abuse, neglect or past exposure to extremely stressful environments. For example, dogs confined for prolonged periods of time in small areas with no form of physical or mental stimulation may develop OCD. Most authorities suspect that this condition has a strong hereditary component, as well. Current medical science puts the anatomical focus of OCD in the limbic system, which is an integrated network of brain structures in all mammals that is associated with various aspects of behavior and emotion, among other things. The clinical signs of OCD tend to worsen when the dog is exposed to especially anxiety-producing situations.
Preventing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Because genetics probably play a strong role in the development of obsessive compulsive disorders, the consensus among most experts is that affected animals should not be bred. Moreover, because stressful situations exacerbate OCD, owners should be especially conscious of the impact of those situations on their pets. For example, moves, trips to the veterinarian, introduction of a new human or animal family member, loss of a family member or other anxiety-causing events should be carefully managed to minimize their impact on dogs with OCD.
“OCD” is a term that also refers to a condition called osteochondritis dissecans, which is an inflammatory bone and cartilage condition that results in the splitting off of a piece of articular cartilage with accompanying, progressive pain. It is important for owners who are told that their dog has “OCD” to be sure that they know which condition is involved – obsessive compulsive disorder (behavioral) or osteochondritis dissecans (musculoskeletal; orthopedic).