Friday, August 30, 2013

OCD. Why Are Our Pets Getting The Same Diseases We Do?

I wrote about Titus a few weeks ago.

He had been eating rocks and sure enough one got stuck in his gut..the sequela to his dilemma? He had to go under the knife.

I recieved quite a few comments about how prevalent pica is in Dobies.

Pica is the consumption of non food items. It is found in pets and people (primarily children). ASPCA article on Pica.

Whenever I am met with a client and their pet with some odd ball problem I always give credit to the pet. Always. I never dismiss it. If they think that they should be eating rocks I want to know why? Why would they think they need to?

My job is to keep that pet healthy. Mind, body, and soul.

What I find so interesting is that so many of the human diseases, mental AND physical seem to be crossing over into our pets.

Do I believe that Titus is trying to tell us something, ABSOLUTELY!. He is a very energetic, bossy, alpha puppy. He is living with an older retired couple facing many health problems. He is too much for them and he is displaying his anxiety and frustration in many ways. One of them is by eating rocks.

I read an article in Trends magazine August 2013 about how "OCD is similar in dogs and humans." How fitting that the  rock eater is also OCD.

In Doberman pinschers it is called canine compulsive disorder (CCD). The report comes form the Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry where a joint study was done between Tufts Vet school and the McLean Imaging Center in Belmont, Mass. 16 Dobermans were scanned and they found that in comparing the MRI scans between the Dobes with CCD witht he control group the CCD group had findings consistent with what is seen in humans with OCD.

"Canines that misbehave are often labeled as 'bad dogs,' but it is important to detect and show the biological basis for certain behaviors," says Niwako Ogata, BVSc PhD who led the research team. "Evidence-based science is a much better approach to understanding a dog's behavior."

Well said, and I couldn't agree more!

As for Titus. He went to a new home last week. His new dad is a young, active, avid Dobie guy, who specializes in training and is well qualified to help Titus figure out what's bugging him to the point of thinking that he needs to eat rocks.

The blog on Titus.

 If your pet is doing something, OR anything, that is not normal, not healthy, or causing you to not be happy with them (think cats and urinating out of the litter box which is one of the primary reasons they are dumped at shelters), then get help! Ask lots of questions. Look at the world through your pets eyes. Are they getting a good diet?
Are they getting enough exercise?
Are you talking to your vet about the issue(s)?
Is your household stressful?
Is it stressful to your pet?
There is a reason.

Dig, dig like a determined, caring, compassionate advocate for your pets health and well-being. And if there isn't a quick easy answer, keep digging.

I'm out here, and there are armies of people that can help you. Reach out and don't expect quick and easy. It's all about the challenges that life presents you, and the way you face them.

If you have questions you can ask me at On twitter @pawbly, and on google +Krista Magnifico.


  1. i'm not a vet, nor am i an expert on dogs, but i spend a lot of time reading and contributing on we have a few current and former breeders who have given input on OCD behaviors.

    according to them, sometimes, OCD can't be eliminated or even reduced in dobes. there's even a nickname for the most common OCD behavior, suckling - those who have lines with suckling dogs have nicknamed it "sucky baby." owners of these dogs have tried to stop them and it ends up escalating to flank sucking, which is a whole other can of worms, particularly if they're showing those dogs.

    i truly hope Titus' problem is something that can be eliminated, since it's so dangerous.

    1. Hello Laura,

      Many Thanks for reading and for taking the time to add another aspect to this interesting topic. I think it is so incredible that we see mental conditions tied to genetics, and that some of these disorders are also seen in other species.This is certainly a field ripe with educational possibility and maybe, dare we say, even resolve? Please keep us updated with any other conditions/behaviors/chatter, etc. that you hear or discover, and please keep adding comments. Perhaps through a community discussion we can help both our dogs and each other?

    2. if i come across anything particularly interesting i'd be happy to share it with you. :)

  2. When you say "those who have lines with suckling dogs" that implies that the condition is hereditary in these dogs, or appears to be, and that these breeders are intentionally breeding dogs with what they believe is untreatable hereditary OCD. These are not people I would want input from on anything.

    1. Hello Sarah,

      Thank you for reading! There are many conditions that we are not certain whether they are hereditary, environmental, or idiopathic. I do, however believe, that the good breeders out there try very hard to insure that they are not passing on any undesirable or unhealthy traits. Unfortunately, I do think that the majority of behavioral conditions are a complicated conglomeration of breeding, environment, and training, In Titus's case I do not think that he suffers from anything short of boredom and lack of his parents to address his needs do to their own physical limitations. Titus is now in a household that can much more adequately address these.
      I appreciate your comment and your dedication to helping pets!