Life Lines

Dogs, like people, are susceptible to a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) known as canine compulsive disorder (CCD). In fact, the news story at the end of this blog describes CCD and also discusses a form of OCD in Siamese and Persian cats that is related to stress.

A prior study suggested that dogs are good models for OCD in humans since their physiology is similar and they share the same environment as humans. Dr. Hannes Lohi (University of Helsinki) and colleagues found that dogs who received vitamin and mineral supplements were less likely to exhibit CCD (measured as excessive tail chasing) compared to those that did not. In addition, dogs that were separated from their mothers earlier in life were more likely to exhibit CCD. Lastly, neutered females were less likely to chase their tails excessively suggesting the involvement of ovarian sex hormones.

In a new study published in Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, Dr. Ogata and colleagues compared the brain structure of Doberman pinschers, which are known for having a high prevalence of CCD, with that of humans with OCD. They found that dogs with CCD have similar structural abnormalities in their brains as humans with OCD. These findings provide further evidence that dogs are good models in which to study OCD.

Looks like humans have more in common with their best friends than previously thought!

Ogataa N, Gillisb TE, Liub X, Cunninghama SM, Lowenb SB, Adamsb BL, Sutherland-Smitha J, Mintzopoulosb D, Janesb AC, Dodmana NH, Kaufmanb MJ. Brain structural abnormalities in Doberman pinschers with canine compulsive disorder. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 45: 1-6, 2013.

Overall and Dunham. Clinical features and outcome in dogs and cats with obsessive-compulsive disorder: 126 cases (1989–2000) JAVMA. 221(10): 1445-1452, 2002.

Tiira K, Hakosalo O, Kareinen L, Thomas A, Hielm-Björkman A; Escriou C, Arnold P; Lohi H. Environmental effects on compulsive tail chasing in dogs. PLoS ONE. 7(7): e41684, 2012.