Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Stereotype behavior

Synonym(s): Stereotypies, obsessive compulsive disorders

Contributor(s): Karen Overall

Introduction

  • Stereotypies are a behavioral description (sign) not a diagnosis. They may arise as a result of a number of different conditions.
  • Research evidence also suggests that their physiology changes as they develop and that established stereotypies may be regulated in their performance in a different way to early stereotypies.
  • It may be that any behavior which is performed repeatedly can become stereotyped.
Print off the owner factsheet Behavioural problems: canine compulsive disorder to give to your client.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Anxiety.
  • Frustration/conflict.
  • Lack of environmental stimulation.
  • Boredom.
  • Attention-seeking behavior.
  • Physical clinical lesion.
  • Neurological disorder.
  • Confinement.

Predisposing factors

General
  • External reinforcement from owner.
  • Anxiety.
  • Lack of physical exercise and general stimulation.
  • Physical, clinical lesions.
    Medical conditions, eg tail trauma → tail chasing, causes medically associated stereotypy

Specific

Pathophysiology

  • Etiology is complex and at a neurochemical level involves endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.
  • Performance of stereotypy → endogenous opiate release → addiction to behavior → refinement and emancipation of stereotypy, ie behavior becomes simplified and more rigid in form while possibly becoming separated from its original etiology.
  • Original etiological factors include: anxiety, frustration, boredom, attention-seeking behaviors, physical lesions, neurological disorders, eg limbic epilepsy Epilepsy: idiopathic.
  • Aberrant endorphin metabolism may account for individual variation in predisposition.

Timecourse

  • Variable.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Landsberg G M (2001) Clomipramin - beyond separation anxiety. JAAHA 37 (4), 313-318 PubMed.
  • Hartigan P J (2000) Compulsive tail chasing in the dog - a mini review. Irish Vet J 53 (5), 261-264 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • There are numerous papers in the veterinary literature.
  • Landsberg G, Hunthausen W & Ackerman L (1997)Handbook of behavior problems of the dog and cat.50, 61, 170-172, 180-183, 187.
  • Overall K L (1997)Clinical behavioral medicine for small animals.209-250.
  • Askew H (1996)Treatment of behavior problems in dogs and cats.243, 251-252, 337.
  • Luescher U A, McKeown D B & Halip J (1991)Stereotypic or obsessive-compulsive disorders in dogs and cats.Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract.212, 401-414.
  • Lawrence A B & Rushen J (1991) Eds.Stereotypic Animal Behavior - Fundamentals and Applications to Welfare.Wallingford, Oxon: CAB International.
  • Cooper S J & Dourish C T (1990) Eds.Neurobiology of Stereotyped Behavior.Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Organisation(s)

  • Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, PO BOX 46, Worcester WR8 9YS, UK. Tel & Fax: +44 (0) 1386 751151; Email: apbc@petbcent.demon.co.uk; Website: http://webzone1.co.uk/www/apbc.
  • International Society for Applied Ethology.


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