Frequency of nonspecific clinical signs in dogs with separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, and noise phobia, alone or in combination

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001 Aug 15;219(4):467-73. doi: 10.2460/javma.2001.219.467.

Abstract

Objective: To determine the frequency of nonspecific clinical signs in dogs with separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, noise phobia, or any combination of these conditions and determine whether these conditions are associated in dogs.

Design: Case series.

Animals: 141 dogs.

Procedure: Diagnoses were established using specific criteria. Owners of dogs completed a questionnaire on how frequently their dogs exhibited destructive behavior, urination, defecation, vocalization, and salivation when the owners were absent and the types and frequency of reactions to thunderstorms, fireworks, and other noises.

Results: Associations of the 3 conditions and of various nonspecific clinical signs within and between diagnoses were nonrandom. The probability that a dog would have separation anxiety given that it had noise phobia was high (0.88) and approximately the same as the probability it would have separation anxiety given that it had thunderstorm phobia (0.86). However, the probability that a dog would have noise phobia given that it had separation anxiety (0.63) was higher than the probability that it would have thunderstorm phobia given that it had separation anxiety (0.52). The probability that a dog would have noise phobia given that it had thunderstorm phobia (0.90) was not equivalent to the converse (0.76).

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results suggested that dogs with any of these conditions should be screened for the others. Interactions among these conditions are important in the assessment and treatment of dogs with > 1 of these conditions. Responses to noise were different from those to thunderstorms, possibly because of the unpredictability and uncertainty of thunderstorms.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety, Separation / epidemiology*
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Data Collection
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / psychology
  • Dogs
  • Noise
  • Phobic Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires