Behavioural Problems

Why do they matter?

It is a scary, sad and confronting statistic that behavioural problems are the number one terminal illness of dogs and cats in Australia. More pets are euthanased due to behaviour problems than all other leading causes of death combined. Behavioural disorders are extremely common with at least 1 in 5 dogs affected and some estimates suggesting up to 80%.

Behavioural disorders can degrade the bond between human and animal which is why these disorders are a major contributing factor to surrender, relinquishment and euthanasia in pets. These issues can be very detrimental to the health and quality of life in animals and are often potentially dangerous.

We believe in giving animals and their human families the best chance to correct or drastically improve these behaviour problems. From a moral, ethical, welfare, health and safety perspective, AdelaideVet are committed to helping our clients find practical and effective solutions for their animal companions.

A frustrating problem

It is often very hard to live with an animal with a behaviour problem. It can be frustrating, humiliating, even heart-breaking and very dangerous. In cases where behavioural issues exist, there is often a lack of understanding of what is going on and why it is occurring. This often leads to animals never getting the necessary help and treatment they need and even worse, receiving unethical, inappropriate and damaging treatment and training.

Behaviour affects other medical diseases

Importantly, there is significant overlap between mental health and physical health problems. Medical problems are commonly precipitated or made worse by psychological and emotional problems in our pets. Common conditions caused or made worse by anxiety disorders include skin disease, allergic disease, chronic infections, inflammatory bowel disease, urinary tract disease and respiratory disease. Anxiety also worsens pain perception and lowers the pain threshold. This is an under-recognised phenomenon and deserves more focus and attention.

Who needs a behaviour consult?

You may like to bring your beloved pet in if you are concerned about any aspect of their behavior and would like professional advice or assessment.

Common presenting problems include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fears / phobias
  • Panic attacks
  • Aggression and anti-social behavior
  • Noise sensitivities (eg. fire works / thunder storms)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Abnormal repetitive behaviours (obsessive – compulsive disorders)
  • Separation distress
  • Excessive barking
  • Destructive behaviours
  • Abnormal toileting (urinating or defecating inside)
  • Learning problems / not doing well at training
  • Cognitive dysfunction (dementia) in old animals

We can also assist you with:

  • Pre-purchase discussions – Helping prospective owners choose the right pet
  • Post-purchase consults – Helping newly adopted animals settle into their new homes and setting them up for success
  • GP consults for very fearful animals – for those needing special care and assistance with routine medical interventions

How does it work?

What to expect from your visit?

A diagnosis will be made so that an effective treatment plan can be established and agreed upon and prognosis discussed.

Pending time and urgency, we may start to implement treatment immediately. In some cases, a second consult will be required to discuss the recommended multi-angled treatment options and tailor them to your wants and needs before we start.

In many cases, it may be recommended that your pet have a blood test to investigate any underlying medical problems which may be contributing to their behavioural disturbance.

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