Diagnosing and treating compulsive disorder (Proceedings)


Diagnosing and treating compulsive disorder (Proceedings)

Apr 01, 2008

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD-DSM IV)

Obsession: "...persistent idea, thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress".

Compulsion: "...repetitive behaviors (e.g. hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g. praying, counting, repeating words silently) the goal of which is to prevent or reduce anxiety or distress, not to provide pleasure or gratification".

Does animal obsess? We do not know. Thus, we use the term compulsive disorder for animals.

Similarity in Characteristics

  • Repetitive behaviors observed in human OCD and CD in animals
  • Hand-washing vs. excessive licking

Categories of CDs

  • Oral
  • Locomotory
  • Hallucination
  • Aggression
  • Vocalization

Compulsive Disorder in Cats

  • Locomotion
  • Freezing
  • Dashing off
  • Sudden agitation and skin ripple (feline hyperesthesia)
  • Ducking
  • Circling


  • Wool sucking
  • Chewing legs or feet
  • Chewing or licking objects
  • Pica
  • Over grooming (feline psychogenic alopecia)


  • Self directed aggression (attacking its tail or leg)


  • Persistent miaowing
  • Howling


  • Avoiding imaginary objects
  • Staring at "shadows"
  • Startling

Compulsive Disorder in Dogs

  • Oral
  • Excessive self licking
  • Alopecia
  • Acral lick dermatitis (acral lick granuloma)
  • Flank sucking (Doberman Pinschers)
  • Self mutilating (Large breeds)
  • Air licking
  • Licking objects


  • Tail chasing (German Shepherd Dogs)
  • Spinning (Bull Terriers)
  • Shadow and light chasing
  • Pacing
  • Checking hind ends (Miniature Schnauzers)


  • Staring
  • Chasing imaginary prey
  • Fly chasing (snapping)


  • Aggressive to humans or objects
  • Vocalization
  • Prolonged monotonous barking

Cause- prolonged, repeated frustration and stress

  • Environmental causes
  • Over stimulation
  • Stressful stimulation
  • Under stimulation
  • Physical lesions or irritations (allergy, surgery)

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