Pharmacologic Treatment of Fear and Term Paper

  • Length: 15 pages
  • Subject: Animals
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #2973543

Excerpt from Term Paper :

e., they became helpless). Furthermore, other behaviors of the dogs were adversely affected (e.g., the dogs appeared apathetic and had poor appetites) (Hitzemann, 2000). In his essay, "Animal Models of Psychiatric Disorders and Their Relevance to Alcoholism," Hitzemann (2000) reports that, "Both fear and anxiety are alerting signals that warn the individual against impending danger and enable the individual to take defensive measures. For animals, the distinctions between fear and anxiety are vague" (p. 149). The distinctions between fear and anxiety are clearly irrelevant for humans who encounter such stressed animals, though.

According to Hodge and Stull (2000), dog bites cause an average of 17 human deaths, 6,000 hospitalizations, and 330,000 emergency room visits every year in the Untied States and a like number of people probably do not seek treatment or report the incident, but may nevertheless experience psychological trauma, anxiety, and missed work or school. Furthermore, dog bites continue to be a potential source of rabies infection that requires postexposure prophylaxis (Chang, Cohen, Hennon, LaPorte, & McMahon, 1997, cited in Hodge & Stull, 2000, p. 17). Dog bites, of course, are just one of a wide range of behavioral disorders that can result from fear and anxiety in dogs (Duke & Swain, 2001). The Merck Veterinary Manual provides the following list of fear- and anxiety-related behavioral disorders among dogs:

Abnormal ingestive behavior. This condition is characterized by the following symptoms: consistent ingestion of abnormal amounts or types of food or nonfood material in a manner or frequency not consistent with previous behavior. The following condition is sufficient for assignment of this diagnosis: incessant consumption of food or nonfood material, or incessant avoidance of food, in a manner that interferes with normal social functioning; abnormal ingestive behavior includes (a) pica (consistent ingestion of nonfood material), (b) coprophagia (ingestion of feces that is neither accidental nor incidental), - polyphagia, aerophagia, psychogenic water drinking (consumption of water in excess of that necessary to meet daily fluid balance needs or to thermoregulate or lubricate food for ingestion), (d) anorexia, and (e) gorging. In their extreme, pica, aerophagia, and coprophagia may be signs of obsessive-compulsive disorders;

Attention-seeking behavior. This diagnosis requires that the dog must use vocal or physical behaviors to obtain passive or active attention from people when the people are doing something not directly involving the dog. The following condition is sufficient for this diagnosis: whenever a person is not directly engaged in passive or active interaction with the animal, the animal uses active or passive behaviors to direct some of the person's attentions to itself and will interrupt human activity to do so;

Cognitive dysfunction or senility. This condition has the following necessary and sufficient condition: change in interactive, elimination, or navigational behaviors attendant with aging that are explicitly not due to primary failure of any organ system; however, many dogs with extensive plaque formation experience no diminishment in their cognitive function; while there are a number of medications available for the treatment of this condition in humans, just one drug (selegiline) is currently approved for canine cognitive dysfunction in the United States. Besides pharmacologic interventions for cognitive dysfunction in canines (which will likely require lifelong treatment), other interventions have been found effective in reducing these symptoms in older dogs, including cognitive enrichment and a prescription diet;

Compulsive licking. This disorder requires the following necessary condition: licking in excess of that required for standard grooming or exploration with the following condition being sufficient for diagnosis: licking in excess of that required for grooming or exploration that represents a change in the animal's typical behavior and interferes with other activities or functions (eg, eating, drinking, playing, interacting with people) and cannot easily be interrupted. In addition, Merck notes that fearful behavior or fear that the necessary and sufficient condition for this disorder includes: any type of behavior that takes place at the same time accompanied by relevant behavioral and physiologic signs (e.g., withdrawal, passive, and avoidance behaviors associated with the sympathetic nervous system), together with the absence of any aggression. Further, fear and anxiety have overlapping indicators; some nonspecific signs include avoidance, shaking, and trembling, which can be characteristic of both disorders;

Generalized anxiety. This disorder has the following necessary conditions: (a) consistent display of autonomic hyperreactivity, (b) increased motor activity, and - increased vigilance and scanning that interferes with a normal range of social interaction; however, the authors caution that this disorder should be regarded as a diagnosis of last resort, and all of the signs should be concomitantly present under conditions in which any of these signs would have subsided in a normal or asymptomatic animal.

Hyperactivity. This disorder has the following necessary condition: motor activity in excess of that warranted by the animal's age and stimulation level that occurs in a consistent, often stereotypical, manner and does not respond to correction, redirection, or restraint; like their hyperactive human counterparts who are treated with the stimulant Ritalin, dogs that are suffering from this disorder tend to respond to treatment with amphetamine or methylphenidate with a paradoxical decrease in motor activity. According to Merck, the majority of dogs that owners consider to be hyperactive (a diagnosis that does not depend on the dog's exercise level compared with its needs) are actually overactive (a diagnosis that does depend on the dog's exercise level compared with its needs. Clinical hyperactivity in dogs remains a specific diagnosis for which specific behavioral signs have not been clearly identified and is regarded as a rare condition.

Inappropriate play behavior. This disorder has the following necessary and sufficient condition: play behaviors such as play bows, yips, or shoulder blocks;

Neophobia. This disorder has the following necessary and sufficient condition: consistent, sustained, sudden, profound nongraded response to unfamiliar objects and circumstances manifest as intense active avoidance, escape, or anxiety behaviors associated with the activities of the sympathetic nervous system; in this condition, canine behaviors include immobility or extremely high activity, together with decreased sensitivity to pain or social stimuli; and, repeated exposure results in an invariant pattern of response;

Noise phobia. Perhaps one of the most common fear- and anxiety-related disorders among canines, this is characterized by the following necessary and sufficient condition: sudden and profound, nongraded, extreme response to noise manifest as intense active avoidance, escape, or anxiety behaviors associated with the activities of the sympathetic nervous system;

Obsessive-compulsive disorders. This disorder has the following necessary condition: repetitive, stereotypic motor, locomotory, grooming, ingestive, or hallucinogenic behaviors that occur out-of-context to their normal occurrence, or in a frequency or duration in excess of that required to accomplish the ostensible goal;

Overactivity. This canine disorder has the following necessary condition: motor activity that is in excess of that exhibited when the animal experiences a regular exercise and interaction schedule; however, the diagnosis of overactivity depends on the context and must take into account the age, breed, and social and physical environment of the dog, as well as the owner's perception;

Pseudocyesis (false pregnancy). This disorder has the following necessary condition required for this diagnosis: maternal behavior exhibited in the absence of pregnancy;

Roaming. This disorder is characterized by the following necessary and sufficient condition: locomotory activity involving extended absences and greater distances than those needed for the animal to relieve itself;

Separation anxiety. This disorder has the following necessary condition required for assignment of this diagnosis: physical or behavioral signs of distress exhibited by the animal only in the absence of or lack of access to the owner (Other Canine Behavioral Problems, 2006).

On a final note, the authors emphasize that the exact extent to which animals with separation anxiety tend to experience other types of fear- or anxiety-related behaviors remains unknown. According to Merck (2006), "There is now a well-established comorbid association between separation anxiety and noise and thunderstorm phobias, so any dog exhibiting signs of one condition should be screened for the others. Both sets of conditions should be treated, although treatment schedules and drugs of choice will differ (e.g., noise/thunderstorm phobias require that benzodiazepines, preferably alprazolam, be given as needed, and separation anxiety should be treated with tricyclic antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors daily" (Other Canine Behavioral Problems, 2006). p. 9). The studies to date have also found that the attentiveness of the owners is not a factor in this condition, but there is a population of dogs that experience separation anxiety that are also hyperattached and must remain in sight or touch of their family at all times; this extreme variant requires intensive treatment, including extensive behavior modification to teach the dog (and possibly the client) to be less dependent (Other Canine Behavioral Problems, 2006).

Pharmacologic Treatment of Fear and Anxiety in Canines.

Depending on the species of canid involved (for example, zoological veterinarians are required to treat a wide range of species), pharmacologic treatment of fear and anxiety can be accomplished using…

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