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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Compulsive Behaviors

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Condition Overview

There are some unusual behaviors in dogs that may be partial seizures. These include fly biting and tail chasing/spinning.

Symptoms

In the fly biting situation the dog may be sitting quietly and suddenly starts to bite at imaginary flies. These dogs can usually be distracted and never lose consciousness. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the one breed in which this behavior is seen.

In the tail biting/spinning sequence, the dog is intent on trying to catch her tail and spins rapidly. These dogs may become so intent that it is difficult to break their concentration.

Causes

Bull Terriers and German Shepherds may have an inherited component to the tail biting/spinning behavior.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by observation.

Treatment

For dogs with these disorders, veterinary behaviorists work with a variety of behavior-modulating drugs, along with behavior modification. These are off-label uses of these drugs, so you will need to work closely with your veterinarian and do not give your dog any of these medications without veterinary guidance. Clomipramine and fluoxetine are two drugs that are sometimes prescribed. Clomipramine is approved for use in dogs.

Prevention

Information needed.

Support

Please contact your veterinarian if you think your pet may have this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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