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Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2014 May;44(3):543-64. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2014.01.011.

Abnormal repetitive behaviors in dogs and cats: a guide for practitioners.

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Premier Veterinary Behavior Consulting, PO Box 1413, Sweetwater, TX 79556, USA. Electronic address:
Northern Virginia Community College, Veterinary Technology Program, 21200 Campus Drive, Sterling, VA, 20164, USA; Behavior Solutions, PO Box 116, Hamilton, VA 20159, USA.


Abnormal repetitive behaviors (ARBs) represent a diverse group of behaviors whose underlying mechanism is poorly understood. Their neurobiology likely involves several different neurotransmitter systems. These behaviors have been referred to as compulsive disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders and stereotypies. Underlying medical conditions and pain can often cause changes in behavior that are mistaken for ARBs. A complete medical work-up is always indicated prior to reaching a presumptive diagnosis. The frequency of ARBs can be reduced but not always eliminated with the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) in conjunction with behavior modification and environmental enrichment.


Compulsive disorders; Conflict; Frustration; OCD; Obsessions; Repetitive behaviors; Self-injurious; Stereotypies

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