Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Expressed With Forms of Excessive Grooming in a Cat
Service of Clinical Ethologic of the Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, University of Buenos Aires School of Veterinary Sciences, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Obsessive compulsive disorder shows repetitive, persistent actions which are out of context. They interfere with normal behaviour and social interactions and develop harmful consequences that may be negative for the individual. Some causes mentioned are biological and behavioural factors, with central biochemical alterations. When the patients stops carrying out the repetitive action the substitution activity is the psychopathological mechanism involved, while on the other hand when it is absent a stereotype is established. Associated anxiety signs may also be present.
Twelve year old, female, half-breed, feline, weighing 7 kg and neuter. She lives in a flat with a couple and their son. She eats commercial balanced cat food. Adequate immune prophylaxis. Presents alopecia and granulomatic (lesion injury) in ventral zone of abdomen caused by permanent licking through some months. Previously treated with antibiotics, corticoids and Isabelian collar without success. This behavior presents itself daily at anytime and place and with or without owners present. The sequence is not complete being an intensive external stimuli necessary to stop it. Cat is not very sociable. She shows irritative aggression, inadequate bladder control and inadequate urine, and absence of ludic and exploratory behavior. Physical examination showed no particulars. An obsessive compulsive disorder was diagnosed and a behavioural and pharmacological therapy was installed. Cognitive-behaviourist therapy: extinguish licking behaviour, environmental stimulation, social games, no punishment and taste aversion at licking zone. Psychopharmacology therapy: clomipramina total 5 mg every day. Patient responded favourably to therapy with slight improvement of symptoms after 15 day of starting medication. After 2 months of treatment patient shows remarkable remission of injury that was complete after 4 months. A better connexion with environment and disappearance of compulsive disorder was achieved. Medication was withdraw after gradual reduction, after 6 months of the behavior diagnostic, without the patient showing new symptoms up to date (18 months later).
According to different authors and theoretical references this case may be classified as a permanent anxiety stereotype (Pageat, 2000) or an obsessive compulsive disorder with generalized anxiety (Overall, 1997). At the same time the main components of this behavioural pathology are present in both focus.
Having been able to identify the type of sequence and associated anxiety state, allowed for the correct selection of medication and behavioural therapy achieving complete recovery of patient.