Pain and problem behavior in cats and dogs

Daniel S. Mills*, Isabelle Demontigny-Bédard, Margaret Gruen, Mary P. Klinck, Kevin J. McPeake, Ana Maria Barcelos, Lynn Hewison, Himara Van Haevermaet, Sagi Denenberg, Hagar Hauser, Colleen Koch, Kelly Ballantyne, Colleen Wilson, Chirantana V. Mathkari, Julia Pounder, Elena Garcia, Patrícia Darder, Jaume Fatjó, Emily Levine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
110 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We argue that there is currently an under-reporting of the ways in which pain can be associated with problem behavior, which is seriously limiting the recognition of this welfare problem. A review of the caseloads of 100 recent dog cases of several authors indicates that a conservative estimate of around a third of referred cases involve some form of painful condition, and in some instances, the figure may be nearly 80%. The relationship is often complex but always logical. Musculoskeletal but also painful gastro-intestinal and dermatological conditions are commonly recognized as significant to the animal’s problem behavior. The potential importance of clinical abnormalities such as an unusual gait or unexplained behavioral signs should not be dismissed by clinicians in general practice, even when they are common within a given breed. In general, it is argued that clinicians should err on the side of caution when there is a suspicion that a patient could be in pain by carefully evaluating the patient’s response to trial analgesia, even if a specific physical lesion has not been identified.

Original languageEnglish
Article number318
Number of pages20
JournalAnimals
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Adjunctive behavior
  • Aggression
  • Attention seeking
  • Compulsive behavior
  • House-soiling
  • Pain
  • Pica
  • Stereotypy

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