New Treatment Options for Dogs with Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors?

February 4, 2010

Katie Drummond reports on AOL News that a gene for obsessive-compulsive disorder may have been located in certain dog breeds.

My initial reactions are these: 1.) The concept that a gene “causes” a behavior is, at best, an over-simplification (see Richard Dawkins, et. al). So Ms. Drummond’s lede follows the incorrect pattern of most science writing on this subject. 2.) Surely there exists a more pleasant, more flattering photo of Katie Drummond (left). And 3.) I didn’t know that AOL was still around. Amazing.

But I am a huge fan of Dr. Nicholas Dodman and a long-time subscriber to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University’s newsletter Your Dog. If you’re serious about keeping up to date on issues of canine health and training there is simply no better monthly newsletter out there.

What this really means is now that a relationship between the existence of this gene and the obsessive-compulsive behavior in some breeds has been identified it will open up more treatment options. And the possibility that this link may lead to a similar finding in the human genome.

This is, potentially, a breakthrough achievement and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that it comes from Dr. Dodman and his colleagues at the Cummings School.


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