The structural abnormalities in the brains of dogs suffering from canine compulsive disorder (CCD) are similar to the abnormalities found in humans suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) according to new research.
A collaboration between veterinarians at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and researchers at the McLean Imaging Center at McLean Hospital, in Belmont, Massachusetts have published their findings in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.
The study involved 16 Doberman Pinschers, 8 with CCD and 8 without. Dogs with CCD engage in repetitious and destructive behaviors such as flank- and blanket-sucking, tail chasing, and chewing, whereas people with OCD tend to have repetitious behaviors that interfere with their daily life.
Here’s a video of a German Shepherd with CCD engaging in a circling behavior:
“While the study sample was small and further research is needed, the results further validate that dogs with CCD can provide insight and understanding into anxiety disorders that affect people. Dogs exhibit the same behavioral characteristics, respond to the same medication, have a genetic basis to the disorder, and we now know have the same structural brain abnormalities as people with OCD,” said Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, DACVB, professor of clinical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
It should be noted that the research also provides insight into dog behavior and management. In some cases, a dog labelled as ‘bad’ or ‘destructive’ may actually have a biological basis for their problems.
Source: TuftsNow media release