Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Dogs

– – Not only Good Time Charlie gets the blues; canines do, too!–Well, at least they seem to be capable of obsessive-compulsive disorder…

…the January issue of Molecular Psychiatry reports that scientists have located a gene for obsessive-compulsive disorder among certain canine breeds, especially Dobermans and bull terriers.  Up to 70% of some litters have OCD tendencies, compared to only 2% in the human population.  In canines this might be behaviorally manifested by such things as chasing their own tail or sucking on their own body parts.

Dogs with such behaviors are more likely to express a CDH2 gene.  Located on chromosome 7, that gene mediates communication between neurons in the brain.  The gene is located in the hippocampus in both humans and dogs.

So why should you care?–Well, the canine-human link could lead to preventive medicine and better treatment for obsessive disorders in both species.  The CDH2 gene may also be implicated in autism spectrum disorder as well.  The National Institute of Mental Health is conducting its own study, looking for the CDH2 gene in blood samples of human OCD patients; this would be the first confirmed psychiatric gene in humans, possibly with others to follow.

Neuropsychiatry promises to be a real growth field in the future, or so this fox thinks, and I’m crazy like one…


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2 Comments on “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Dogs”

  1. carycomic Says:

    In other words, werewolves (who embody the worst of both worlds) might finally get their obsessive compulsion to wantonly kill under control? Excellent!

    • vulpesffb Says:

      Either that, or if treatment didn’t emerge, they could at least claim that wanton killing was in their genetic nature!


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