A medical team should develop a thorough protocol to make a diagnosis in a behavioral patient. Obtain a medical and behavior
history, identify dermatologic lesions on physical examination and develop a clinical diagnostic plan. This will aid in differentiating
among the allergy, endocrine and behavioral patient. With these results, you can then develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
Editor's Note: A chart outlining the differences among allergy, endocrine and behavioral patients is available at
Dr. Moffat is a board-certified behaviorist at VCA Mesa Animal Hospital in Mesa, Ariz. Dr. Rosenfeld is the founder and president
of VTEC. He is a general practitioner and runs a mobile ultrasound practice in Cape Cod, Mass.
1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 4th ed. Washington D.C.: 2000; 423, 621.
2. Suyemoto KL. The functions of self-mutilation. Clin Psychol Rev 1998; 18(5): 531-554.
3. Luescher UA, McKeown DB, Halip J. Stereotypic or obsessive-compulsive disorders in dogs and cats. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 1991; 21(2): 401-413.
4. Crowell-Davis SL. Stereotypic behavior and compulsive disorder. Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet 2007; 29(10): 625-628.
5. Landsberg GL, Hunthausen W, Ackerman L. Stereotypic and compulsive disorders. In: Handbook of behavior problems of the dog and cat. Toronto: Saunders, 2003; 195-225.
6. Rapoport JL, Ryland DH, Kriete M. Drug treatment of canine acral lick. An animal model of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1992; 49(7): 517-521.
7. Hartgraves SL, Randall PK. Dopamine agonist-induced stereotypic grooming and self-mutilation following striatal dopamine depletion.
Psychopharmaology 1986; 90(3): 358-363.
8. Kennes D, Odberg FO, Bouquet Y, et al. Changes in naloxone and haloperidol effects during the development of captivity-induced
jumping stereotypy in bank voles. Eur J Pharmacol 1988; 153(1): 19-24.
9. Iglauer F, Rasim R. Treatment of psychogenic feather picking in birds with a dopamine antagonist. J Small Anim Pract 1993; 34: 564-566.
10. Dodman NH, Shuster L, White SD, et al. Use of narcotic antagonists to modify stereotypic self-licking, self-chewing and scratching
behavior. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1988; 193(7): 815-819.
11. Virga V. Behavioral dermatology. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2003; 33(2): 231-251.
12. Klinck MP, Shofer FS, Reisner IR. Association of pruritus with anxiety or aggression in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2008; 233(7): 1105-1111.
13. Moon-Fanelli AA, Dodman NH, O'Sullivan RL. Veterinary models of compulsive self-grooming: Parallels with trichotillomania.
In: Stein D, Christenson GA, Hollander E, eds. Trichotillomania: New developments. Washington D.C.: American Psychiatric Press, 1999; 63-92.
14. Waisglass SE, Landsberg GM, Yager JA, et al. Underlying medical conditions in cats with presumptive psychogenic alopecia.
J Am Vet Med Assoc 2006; 228(11): 1705-1709.