Is Your Dog’s Bad Behavior Caused by a Health Problem?
Written by Jan on December 28, 2010
Is your puppy or adult dog acting strangely, being aggressive, fearful, phobic, hyperactive or depressed? Many of these and other canine “problem” behaviors can result from thyroid dysfunction, or a vaccine or drug reaction. Even food with a high sugar content can cause behavior problems, as it can with children.
Before calling your dog trainer to “fix” your dog’s problem, read what these three veterinarians (specializing in three different fields) have to say. Retraining may still be required, but check out your dog’s health first. Maybe the behavior was caused by thyroid disease, vaccination or medication. [Note: The highlights below are mine - Jan Rasmusen.]
THYROID DISEASE AS A CAUSE OF BEHAVIOR CHANGES
“The principal reason for pet euthanasia stems not from disease, but undesirable behavior” wrote pet vaccination and thyroid expert, W. Jean Dodds, DVM.
An association has recently been established between aberrant behavior and thyroid dysfunction in the dog, and has been noticed in cats with hyperthyroidism. Typical clinical signs include unprovoked aggression towards other animals and/or people, sudden onset of seizure disorder in adulthood, disorientation, moodiness, erratic temperament, periods of hyperactivity, hypoattentiveness, depression, fearfulness and phobias, anxiety, submissiveness, passivity, compulsiveness, and irritability.
After episodes, most of the animals appeared to come out of a trance like state, and were unaware of their bizarre behavior. … Investigators in recent years have noted the sudden onset of behavioral changes in dogs around the time of puberty or as young adults. Most of the dogs have been purebreds or crossbreeds, with an apparent predilection for certain breeds. For a significant proportion of these animals, neutering does not alter the symptoms and in some cases the behaviors intensify. The seasonal effects of allergies to inhalants and ectoparasites such as fleas and ticks, followed by the onset of skin and coat disorders including pyoderma, allergic dermatitis, alopecia, and intense itching, have also been linked to changes in behavior.
Many of these dogs belong to a certain group of breeds or dog families susceptible to a variety of immune problems and allergies (e.g. Golden Retriever, Akita, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel, Shetland Sheepdog, and German Shepherd Dog). The clinical signs in these animals, before they show the sudden onset of behavioral aggression, can include minor problems such as inattentiveness, fearfulness, seasonal allergies, skin and coat disorders, and intense itching. These may be early subtle signs of thyroid dysfunction, with no other typical signs of thyroid disease being manifested.
The typical history starts out with a quiet, well-mannered and sweet-natured puppy or young adult dog. The animal was outgoing, attended training classes for obedience, working, or dog show events, and came from a reputable breeder whose kennel has had no prior history of producing animals with behavioral problems. At the onset of puberty or thereafter, however, sudden changes in personality are observed. Typical signs can be incessant whining, nervousness, schizoid behavior, fear in the presence of strangers, hyperventilating and undue sweating, disorientation, and failure to be attentive. These changes can progress to sudden unprovoked aggressiveness in unfamiliar situations with other animals, people and especially with children….
The major categories of aberrant behavior [are] aggression (40% of cases), seizures (30%), fearfulness (9%), and hyperactivity (7%); some dogs exhibited more than one of these behaviors. Within these 4 categories, thyroid dysfunction was found in 62% of the aggressive dogs, 77% of seizuring dogs, 47% of fearful dogs, and 31% of hyperactive dogs.
Our ongoing study now includes over 1500 cases of dogs presented to veterinary clinics for aberrant behavior. … findings confirm the importance of including a complete thyroid antibody profile as part of the laboratory and clinical work up of any behavioral case.
From Jan: Read Dr. Dodds entire article for more information. Listen to Dr. Dodds’ discussion of thyroid supplementation . Dr. Dodds evaluates and reads my own dogs’ thyroid tests. My vet draws the blood then sends it to. Dr. Dodds interprets test results by breed, age, sex and activity - which no one else does. She writes that this interpretation “often yields an expected normal reference range for an individual pet that differs from the test lab’s generic broad reference range.” And her nonprofit hemopet.org has great prices. The complete panel she runs is called Thyroid 5™. This is much more complete than the simple thyroid results than is found in general blood tests.
Additional articles about thyroid disease by Dr. Dodds:
VACCINATION AS A CAUSE OF BEHAVIOR CHANGES
Patricia Jordan, DVM, VND, CVA, CTCVM & Herbology, is a vaccination expert and author of Mark of the Beast. She writes:
My experience as a practicing veterinarian for over 25 years, matched by Dr. Stephen Blake (37 years) and Dr. Richard Pitcairn (40 years) - has been that of watching vaccines result in disease in animals - and behavioral changes.
UC California at Davis recently finished studies proving the development of anger, aggression and anxiety in both animals and humans following vaccination. This should not be surprising as the mercury in vaccines (yes, it is still there) and aluminum are neurotoxins which are in combination synergetic. Aluminum opens the blood-brain barrier allowing mercury, aluminum and viruses (both intentional and unintentional contaminants) into the brain. The ensuing inflammation that develops is, well, encephalitis!
A French study showed, both in animals and humans, that the more viruses that are collected, the more apathetic the individual becomes. Vaccines are the best way to infect the body with viruses.
The aluminum from vaccines sequesters in the hippocampus of the brain, the seat of endocrine regulation and even dys regulated endocrine systems, and leads to behavioral changes.
I have seen plenty of behavioral changes following vaccination and will actually be speaking on this at a national veterinary convention next May. The sad thing is that this has been recognized for the past 150 years and there is still no consensus. I am sure this is due to the commercial protection of vaccines.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has been on record stating that the mammalian immune system [of pets] is not unlike the human immune system, and that viral vaccines (the only ones really worth the risk) are good for life once administered one time to a mature mammalian immune system.
Dr. Harris Coulter, author of Vaccination: The Rise of Criminality and Social Violence: The Assault on the American Brain, tracked the rise of vaccinations to the rise of social violence and criminality and also a drop in IQ. My book MARK OF THE BEAST, HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, updated the final chapter of Dr. Coulter’s book, “Medical Hubris and Its Unintended Consequences.” This violence, aggression, anger link to vaccines can easily be understood if even knowing about the common fevers and encephalitis that follows vaccinations, the high pitched cry and neurological disorders, the learning disabilities…..and these are obviously also occurring in animals although not admitted but very much recognized.
Those involved in training puppies and in the socialization of the dogs have linked the coincidence of behavioral changes in some dogs that follows the puppyhood series of vaccinations.
One thing I am POSITIVE about: if animal behaviorists are not thinking and understanding [the vaccination-behavior link], they are way off the mark in what they are understanding, recording, teaching and advising clients.
You should find one of the more highly attuned veterinary homeopaths to expand on this level of behavioral damage from vaccines issues.
RABIES VACCINATION AS A CAUSE OF BEHAVIOR CHANGES
Michael Dym, VDM, homeopathic veterinarian, on behavior changes after vaccination for rabies: Unfortunately vaccination can result in certain sensitive individuals a chronic disease state one that is long-lasting, indeed in some cases a life-long condition…. This state of “vaccinosis” is understood as the disturbance of the life force that results in mental, emotional and physical changes induced by the laboratory modification of a viral disease to make a vaccination.
In other words, instead of seeing acute expressions of viral disease, we are instead seeing symptoms of chronic illness which are actually documented to occur in rabid animals. Symptoms of rabies include restlessness; viciousness; avoidance of company; unusual affection; desire to travel; inability to be restrained; self biting; strange cries and howls; inability to swallow resulting in gagging while eating/drinking; staring eyes; swallowing wood, stones, inedibles; destruction of blankets, clothing; convulsive seizures; throat spasms; increased sexual desires; disturbed heart function; excited and jerky breathing.
My biggest concern with pets are the changes in behavior after being vaccinated. This is usually along the lines of aggression, suspicion, unusual fears, etc. The essential aspect is a lack of control of impulses.
Many pets may exhibit any or many of the above behaviors indefinitely such as “reverse sneezing” and increased mounting seen in neutered pets. Conventional medicine does not explain these odd symptoms, but homeopathically these pets may be exhibiting symptoms of rabies vaccinosis and occur fairly commonly in my opinion.
You certainly need to follow the law with regard to rabies vaccination. A homeopathic remedy given at the time of immunization can help reduce side effects. If your pet is suffering from the above symptoms, he/she can be evaluated by a homeopathic vet to try and cure this chronic diseased state.
From Jan: Certain medications can also cause behavior changes. Research possible adverse reactions to medications by searching on-line by product name, by reading the product’s package insert, by talking with your vet or by visiting the veterinary section of Drug.com. Also check the label on your pet’s food, particularly dry food. Corn as a first ingredient, of several of the first 5 ingredients, may be influencing behavior. Switch to a better food.