November 12, 2018

A summary of “A Cavalier King Charles dog with shadow chasing: Clinical recovery and normalization of the dopamine transporter binding after clomipramine treatment”

 

 

In a case study, a 30-month-old, female, cavalier king Charles spaniel had regular episodes of a condition called “shadow chasing.” First starting when she was 18 months old, and progressing over time, the female dog would fixate at shadows against a particular wall for approximately 4 hours a day. Symptoms included anxiety, salivating, barking, agitation, and chasing. In the study, they mentioned that this type of repetitive, excessive and uncontrollable behavior is comparable to obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans. The dog underwent weekly brain perfusion scans for three weeks. The results showed that the dog possessed higher than normal levels of a dopamine transporter protein. This result is in line with OCD in human beings. Thus, in the study, they called the dog's condition canine compulsive disorder. Like humans, the dog was treated with tricyclic antidepressant clomipramine. After the treatment, the dopamine transporter level decreased and the symptoms of shadowing chasing were suppressed. The interesting part of this case study is how similar OCD and CCD are on a chemical level. The same brain chemistry in both humans and dogs caused this type of disorder and the same human treatment worked for canines as well. At the end of the study, a relapse of the condition occurred when treatment was paused. This study emphasizes the role of dopamine in canine compulsive order because of the presence of an above average level of the dopamine transporter protein. The study also expressed that the way the drug affects the doperminergetic system still remains unclear. 

 

Summary by Matt Halper

 

Simon Vermeire, Kurt Audenaert, Andre Dobbeleir, Eva Vandermeulen, Tim Waelbers, Kathelijne Peremans, A Cavalier King Charles dog with shadow chasing: Clinical recovery and normalization of the dopamine transporter binding after clomipramine treatment, Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Volume 5, Issue 6, 2010, Pages 345-349, ISSN 1558-7878. 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1558787810001012