The Link between Behaviour and a Medical Issue

By Jackie Duckworth

When the admins tell you to consider medical issues, there may very well be medical issues! Though sometimes, you have to be persistent to get the vet to listen to you about the possible link with behaviour.

From left to right:

Lucy the Springer: Severe noise phobia and fear of leaving the house, even to toilet in the garden. This developed in middle age, which, despite the initial scepticism of our vet, turned out to be pain related. We believe recurrent UTIs were the initial problem, and then also arthritis. Treating the pain at least got her happy enough to potter around in the garden. Now that she is deaf in her old age, she will go for short walks again. She also had Xanax (Alprazolam) for particularly traumatic noise incidents.

Twix the Sprollie: Generalised anxiety and reactivity caused by zero socialisation. Aged about six, this deteriorated into such severe OCD that the vet advised PTS. We tried a neurologist, but the environment was so stressful for Twix, that he couldn’t be examined. Our vet agreed that trying a vet behaviourist as a last resort would be a good idea, who diagnosed mild focal seizures. Anti-epilepsy meds completely solved the OCD issue. Twix lived happily for five more years.

Falco the Sprocker: Constantly ravenous counter surfer with severe separation anxiety. He also struggled to be downstairs at night (necessary after an elbow injury), even after months of patient training as advised by DTAS. We made an appointment to see a more senior vet about his intermittent stomach upsets, as other vets had just treated the obvious symptom. He has now been diagnosed with pancreatitis and bowel problems, which make it difficult for him to digest food, and probably gives him stomach aches. No wonder he is always hungry and gets hyperactive around training treats! On a special diet, his stomach problems are much better, and he is also sleeping better at night. He is still a ravenous counter surfer, but he is putting on weight, so maybe that will calm down too. Even if it doesn’t, at least we know why.

One day I will manage to adopt a sane and healthy dog!