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Mental Disorders

May 11th, 2006, 07:36 PM
I am new to this site...been peeking around almost everyday and find a lot of what is siad interesting.

I am wondering though if anyone knows where I can get some information (website, textbook, anything) with a list of all mental disorders in dogs. I work in the animal industry and every vet, tech, behaviourist etc that I know is stumped with my dog. No one can pinpoint her disorder although it is clear as day to EVERYONE that has come into contact with her that there is something wrong with her mental state. I have exhausted every other area in hopes of finding something to point me in the right direction and was wondering if anyone has ever run into anything or knows where I can get some information?

Before I start to explain what is going on I want to stress that I work in animal behaviour so the things I am going to describe are not out of lack of knowledge in the behaviour side of dogs and not the typical problems we all face everyday. My dog is very special (as all of our are) but in my case she deserves the term "special" and although every day is a struggle and every month or so I have to re-teach her all her basic commands because she forgets them (she actually forgets them). I have had many opinions on this one as I am constantly 24/7 on top of her along with sudden unexplained outburts of aggression (spaniel rage has been ruled out by 3 vets). She has been diagnosed with OCD and seperation anxiety and that's it so far but not what is wrong fully. She has bit me a few times but when she did it wasn't targeted at was almost like she was out of her mind for a minute. She doesn't seizure...I am sure of it but she goes into these unexplained almost "not there" mental states and acts aggressively towards me and my other dog. When she comes out of it she realizes what has happend and her behaviour changes immediately but it still happens over and over again. It is almost like she can't stop herself, doesn't realize what she is doing and then come out of it. To explain her...she is unpredictable and there is no pattern to her behaviour. I have been keeping a log on her "unexplained behaviour" for a year and a half and no one can figure it out. I have a theory but there have never been any tests on dogs for it so my research is in the making on that one.

Anyone with ANY direction for me, any thoughts, ideas, anything at all...please post and let me know. I want to make the rest of her life as comfortable as possible despite the overwhelming struggle it can be and I won't be able to do that until I find an answer.

Thanks to everyone

May 11th, 2006, 07:46 PM
Have you ever had a catscan or ultrasound of her brain done?

May 11th, 2006, 10:47 PM
Hi Roxy991,
I am not sure if this is similar to what you are experiencing but let me explain my Lab Laci. She was 1 year old on May 9. We started visiting the litter when they were 3 wks old and brought her home at 7 weeks. For the first month, things were going as we expected. Normal puppy behavior was what the vet and the trainer called her excessive biting and mouthing (I also have been bit unprovoked). I always described it as "rage" (unexplained outbursts of aggression) and also for no reason whatsoever. There was other things that she was doing that also seemed "Not Normal" to me and I always felt as though I was complaining to the vet, trainer and anyone that would listen. They advised us to "Kick" up the discipline (which is what we did) and exercise, exercise, exercise. We have tried many ways to stop this behavior and never seemed to do much good. I started to think that maybe it was just my husband and I doing something wrong. I always had the sense that something was really wrong. The vet finally did x-rays on her to see if her not using her back left leg properly (she wouldn't jump, walking up stairs she would step up using her right back leg and just put her left leg up on the same stair) and found nothing wrong.

She suggested Laci seeing a neurologist and we made the appt. A Cat Scan and spinal tap revealed a condition that normally is seen in small dogs. The condition "Hydrocephalus" is the reason for the leg problem and the behavior problem we have had (and still do). There has been No History of it from the parents or in other litters, all they can say is that she born with it and that the breeder would not have seen it before Laci came to live with us. Unfortunately the Dr did tell us that they are not sure to what degree the cells will stop dying due to the water on the brain. We are scheduled for another Cat scan next month to see if the water has increased or stayed the same. There are more symptoms of the condition that she does not have but still could develop (seizures, potty training problems etc.)

If it were me, I would ask your vet if seeing a neurologist could rule out some type of problem there. I wish I would have taken her in sooner and stopped blaming myself for things I thought I was doing. Sorry that this was long.

May 12th, 2006, 07:20 AM
What you just described sounds like part of what I have gone through. I was told to kick up the discipline and exercise a lot too. She sprints for an hour everyday now along with intense swimming (we live on the ocean) so we head down there every day. The discipline is very intense, never ends really.

I have considered a neurologist but I want to do some research before going so I am fully 100% competent with what may arise. I have been blaming myself for a long time. She was a rescue with no history and I was told by every behaviourist that there "was nothing I could do and she would have to be put down". Well, I found something that worked and it has gotten her behaviour under control for the most part, she still has bad days though. The biting me has stopped as she walks beside me compulsively on walks...she does it like she can't stop (like when people flick lights on and off a certain amount of times). She is the reason I got into animal behaviour and the medical side as well (studying that right now). If it weren't for her, I would not be where I am or in the profession I am in...I was determined to find out what was wrong and although I was convinced for a long time it was behaviour I am not so sure anymore. I will look into some cat scans (this is gonna cost me thousands isn't it?) and continue my research. Until then if anyone else has any thoughts or ideas or similar problems please post them. Anything will be helpful in my search.


May 12th, 2006, 04:32 PM
I don't know if this helps,but not all cases of epilepsy in humans have grand mal seizures.There is another form called petit mal that causes people to just"not be there" a person close to me had that form and it was controlled with phenobarbitol.This form can also cause very extreme mood changes in people.

May 12th, 2006, 05:48 PM
I worried about the costs also, but was surprised to find that the initial visit with Cat Scan and Spinal Tap ended up to be just under $3000.00. And the Dr had Care Credit available for payments. We pay $250 a month for 1 yr interest free. Due to the severity of Laci, we will go back again in June for a follow-up Scan to see if the fluids are building or :fingerscr , they are receding. For us, the costs were well worth it as we now know what it is and how to deal with it. Don't be so hard on yourself. You took in a rescue who might not have had the chance for someone to love and look out for her as you have done. And she also gave you a new outlook and profession in your life. It seems as though you were destined to meet.

May 12th, 2006, 07:47 PM
I looked into the epilepsy thing online but based on her actions I don't think that is it. It is hard to explain why but we all know our dogs! I am going to look into pet insurance that covers neurologist fees...sure hope there is one out there!

May 12th, 2006, 08:05 PM
Pet insurance doesn't cover pre existing conditions. So if the problem as a whole has been looked at before, it's hard to say they'd cover any treatment or vet fees to find a cause in future.

May 12th, 2006, 08:09 PM
The problem has never been "looked" at before (no records showing anything). This is why I am researching before I start save money on wasteless tests that won't get me anywhere.

May 13th, 2006, 09:21 AM
The problem has never been "looked" at before (no records showing anything). This is why I am researching before I start save money on wasteless tests that won't get me anywhere.
No one can pinpoint her disorder although it is clear as day to EVERYONE that has come into contact with her that there is something wrong with her mental state. I have exhausted every other area in hopes of finding something to point me in the right direction and was wondering if anyone has ever run into anything or knows where I can get some information?

You claim she has been tested and checked out for rage syndrome and now claim she has not been seen by a vet for her agression, which is it??? If she has been seen by 3 vets than yes there is documentation claiming she has aggression of some type, Your answers from post to another conflict each other.
theories books websites are not the way to diagnosis problems.

Tests have to be done by vet by means of a process of elimination, there is no one test that will give a definitive answer, so if you want to know want to know what is truly wrong you have to spend money on what you call wasteless test, those tests helps narrow down where the problem lies, then more tests are done to narrow things down further till the vet finds an answer or not, but that is how diagnoses are made, there is no simple straight forward way to do otherwise. Sometime drug trials are done when aswers are iffy. In the end if you are lucky you may have a diagnosed treatable problem after consulting with doctors and behaviourists/ animal psychologists(with a college or university degree) and occasionally there is no answer for the problem and then you have to make a decision on whether you can confine/control the dog in a manner to prevent injury to your family or pets and others and still allow quality of life without lifelong isolation and boredom or whether to euthanize, I have been down this route twice and there is no easy cheap way to go about it and it is a lengthy costly process. Even though I did not get the outcomes I would have liked, I never once considered the testing wasteful, they were a necessary part of trying to find answers and solutions and allowed me to make my decision in the end knowing I did all I possibly could with the animals future welfare in mind.

May 13th, 2006, 07:04 PM
I had same thoughts as OntarioGreys when I read your post that there is no documentation supporting vet tests done on your dog. Tests may not have been specific in that disorder was not recognized, but tests were done. You can certainly apply for pet insurance and fill out the forms as you wish, but when all is said and done and you make a claim, the vet will have to indicate prior testing and reason for current tests. And if problem is not specifically diagnosed most plans won't pay. My dog is currently on a diet - only has to lose 5 lbs. - but it is 20% of his body weight. He gained the 5 lbs. over 3 months without a change in diet - and he has a good diet. The Nordic breed dogs are prone to hypothyroid disease - Poms in particular - my dog is an Eskie, so a chance. We are working on exercise and reducing his food. If the vet did the thyroid tests now and his thyroid test came back clear, his pet insurance would not pay for the expensive testing - only if he was actually diagnosed. Just an example. Re neuro testing and surgery - we had premium plans on our Dachshunds when pet insurance was not such a competitive industry. Paying $6,000 in premiums, over $6,000 for tests and surgery and being reimbursed $1,200 was not worth it. Our current plan is a very different one. Hope your dog gets better.

May 14th, 2006, 06:50 PM
Ok...clarification time obviously. I can see how some of you would be a bit confused. The tests and 3 vets that have looked at her were done in class clinic. So there is nothing on her actual clinics records but she has been quite the case for our observations and testing. Make sense? That part is irrelevant anyways because it is beside the fact that my original post stated. And I haven't even looked into insurance yet so that is another topic for another day but thanks so much for the example situations on it!!!

My original question is...I am just wondering if anyone has any thoughts or ideas, or has been through something similar before.

She had a really bad week this week. Worse than I have seen in a year. I had to put stitches in her ear from another sudden outburst that caused a fight between my other dog and her. She did this more than once a day all week (attacing the picnic table, the crate, any other inanimate objects in her reach). 2 hours hard running each day to follow and still no change. She is on high quality food, is not bored (always has a full kong) and right now as I watch her she is licking the same spot on the wall and has been for a while.

It is always easier for us to give advice to other people about their pets but when it comes to ours it suddenly becomes something that seems too hard. In tears I lifted her into the air last night off of my sisters dog. She had walked by my dog and gotten attacked. My mom then turned to me and said...maybe it is time to let her go.

you wrote:
"occasionally there is no answer for the problem and then you have to make a decision on whether you can confine/control the dog in a manner to prevent injury to your family or pets and others and still allow quality of life without lifelong isolation and boredom or whether to euthanize"

My life right now is dedicated to the better well being of animals at all costs. If it costs me $10,000 on tests I will do it for her...I couldn't live with myself asking "what if" for the rest of my life. The "wastless tests" I talk about are the tests that are irrelevant and don't need to be done. What I meant is that I want to get a direction before requesting tests so that I don't end up doing ones that will get me nowhere. Can I confine and control her? For the most part yes. Most people say to me..."I don't know how you do it" but to me it is something that I have become accustomed to. Will I be able to when a child comes around or someone comes to the house or when I least expect it? NO. She has no pattern to her outbursts and I will have to make the choice of always being on top of her. Is it fair to her? I don't know yet because I don't have the answers I am looking for. I feel that it is my duty to find out though which is why I am here. I thought maybe someone might know something that the vets I learn from everyday don't.

Maybe not, but you never know and I want to know that I have gone to every length for her. She deserves it.

May 15th, 2006, 07:13 AM
No one here or even a vet can tell you what is wrong whether it is hormonal, disease, tumor or bad wiring without doing testing , and being you work in the animal industry in animal behaviour, you should already know that you must rule out medical problems when your faced with irrational behaviour, to top this off you have one pet that is continually attacking another in your home what about your other dog, what is it doing to him or her being attacked on a daily basis, and it has been allowed to continue for a year and a half, without going to a vet about, how many stitches have you put into the dogs since you brought this one into the home, when it is an ongoing problem that you are aware there is a problem and you do nothing about it then that can be considered neglect and abuse, and I know of instances where a vet has called the police in on owner who was constantly bringing in one pet that was being mauled by the other and all pets were taken from the owner and they were charged. When you have an animal that you know is dangerous you have a responsibility to ensure it can not bring harm to a person or another companion animal and one of these days you are likely going to make some little mistake like not checking a gate is fully closed or open the front door at the wrong moment, and that dog is going to do some serious damage to another persons pet, a child or adult maybe even kill. And then what will happen to that dog ???