Clues to OCD from our canine companions


Even dogs can suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Playful and often hysterical tail chasing may actually be a sign of OCD in our canine friends.

Could we learn from our four legged friends?

A new study into dog behavior could cross over and provide hope of a treatment for the millions of humans who suffer from OCD. “Tail chasing in dogs can be used as an animal model for studying the genetic background of OCD in humans,” noted researcher Katriina Tiira. Researchers have discovered that variations in canine behavior in certain breeds may be related to where they live, their diet and the way they were raised. Researchers looked at over 400 dogs in their study.

Genetics plays a role; so do vitamins

The fact that German shepherds and bull terriers are prone to chasing their tails indicates a genetic predisposition to the behavior. However, dogs fed daily vitamin supplements are less likely to chase tail. Exercise doesn’t appear to make any difference.

Perhaps something as simple as vitamins and minerals, a change in diet, could help humans. “Our study does not prove an actual causal relationship between vitamins and lessened tail chasing, but interestingly similar preliminary results have been observed in human OCD,” asserted Tiira.

For dogs, many stereotypes are breed specific suggesting genetic over environmental influence. This recent study wanted to look more specifically at the environmental factors that may have an impact.

Early separation from mom

Researchers found that early separation from their mother appeared to be a common characteristic in the dogs that chased their tails the most. The tail chasing begins at an early age, before reaching reproductive maturity.

Source: Daily Mail

Photo by John Nyboer

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