Hyperkinesis in Dogs

Many dogs are reported as having hyperactivity, which is not a physiological disorder, but rather a condition of the owner’s treatment or a normal behavior for the breed. 

Some of these cases, however are actually a result of a physiological disorder known as Hyperkinesis, or attention deficit disorder.  Hyperkinesis is mostly known to affect the human population, however there are several cases of it affecting the dog population.  The five most telling symptoms of hyperkinesis are tachycardia, hyperpnea, salivation, increased energy metabolism, and antidiuresis.  Tachycardia is a heart rhythm disorder in which the heart beats at a consistently rapid rate, hyperpnea is increased breath or rapid breathing and antidiuresis is a reduction or suppression of the excretion of urine.  The six dogs studied in this report, showed each of these symptoms, including lack of trainability.  Of these dogs, two were Samoyed, one was a Spaniel Labrador mix, one was a Yorkshire Terrier, one was a Boxer and one was a German Shepherd.  A diagnostic test was performed on each individually to determine if they were hyperkinetic.  In the test, the dog was taken into a separate room and its activity levels, pulse, respiration, and salivation were measured and recorded.  Then, the dog was given .2 mg/kg of body weight of d-amphetamine and it is taken to a holding room.  After 30 min, the dog is taken to a different room and the measurements of activity levels, etc. are repeated.  A dog is considered hyperkinetic if a reduction in the measurements after the d-amphetamine is seen.  If it is diagnosed with hyperkinesis, then one form of treatment is with stimulant drugs such as d-amphetamine or methylphenidate.  The veterinarians performing the tests also suggested training the dog to remain quiet, ignoring the dog when it was overly excited, not using any form of punishment and exercising the dog regularly.  For five out of six of the dogs, the d-amphetamine showed some behavioral improvement.  The Yorkshire Terrier was the only dog that was unaffected for d-amphetamine, however, it’s hyperactivity was reduced when given a dosage of methylphenidate.  The d-amphetamine was most effective in both Samoyed dogs.  In the remaining three dogs, the d-amphetamine improved the behavior for only the first few doses.  Overall it was concluded that treatment with stimulant drugs can prove very effective for some dogs and only temporarily effective in others.   It was also found that hyperkinectivity is often seen in congruence with other behavioral issues such as dominance, separation anxiety and territorial aggression.  Because of the small nature of the study, only very vague and general conclusions were reached and a lot more study in this area would need to be done to come to more specific conclusions.  

Article:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1686557/pdf/canvetj00367-0050.pdf

Reviewed by Maddie Weirick