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Veterinary behavior

branch of veterinary medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of behavior problems in non-human animals


Why study it?

#1 reason animals are relinquished to shelther/euthanized
Educate pet owners (myths/bad training techniques)
Prevent injuries (to self/owner/animal/other animals)
Diagnostic tool (know normal/abnormal)


Animal welfare

includes physical and psychological welfare animals


Information sources for veterinary behavior

Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Journal of Ethology, Animal Behaviour, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, JAVMA, AVJR, VIN



veterinarians only- ACVB, receive title of "diplomate"
DVM, MS, PhD- Animal Behavior Society, title of "Applied animal behaviorist"



American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, recognized by the AVMA in 1993, 62 diplomats, meet annually (july11-14th 2015) in boston


Behavior Residency

vet schools that offer: UC- Davis, Tufts, Purdue, U of Montreal, NC State, UMinn, UPenn, LTC Daniel E Holland Military Working Dog Veterinary Hospital Program- LAFB, Tx
behaviorist on staff (no residency): UGA, UF, UT, Texas A&M, Michigan State, St. Matthews, Western U-CA
process: 1 yr general internship/practice, 3 year conforming residency (FT), non-conforming residency- board certified member takes longer but is PT



American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior; includes vets, vet students and non-vets with advanced degrees


AVSAB goals

promote the discipline of applied animal behavior within veterinary medicine
to facilitate the exchange of information among interested individuals
to serve as an informational resource for veterinarians and the general public
to promote and protect animal welfare and the human-animal bond



Student chapter of the AVSAB; $10/year, $30/4 years- full priviledges, listserv, free registration at AVSAB annual meeting


Award for student excellence in applied animal behavior research

Winner- $1500/present paper; Runner up- $500/poster
for AVSAB/ACVB annual meeting
Recent winning topics- Beef cattle responses to noise
Non-aversive trailer-loading training for horses
Feline toy preference


What a veterinary behaviorist does

diagnose and treat behavior problems
teach veterinary students/technicians
give CE courses to veterinarians
consulting on legal cases (animal abuse)
consult with zoos
consult with companies (animal food/pharm/production animal industry)
consult with writers
write books/articles
consult with other veterinary services (shelter/neuro)



types veterinary behaviorist does
product efficacy
treatments of behavior problems
documenting normal behaviors
understanding various behaviors


Chief behavior complaints

dogs- aggression, separation anxiety, noise/storm phobia, inappropriate elimination, compulsive disorders, cognitive dysfunction
cats- inappropriate elimination, aggression, compulsive disorders
horses- stereotypies/compulsive disorders, aggression, phobias, separation anxiety


Behavioral medications

3 approved drugs (dogs)- clomicalm (SA), anipryl(CD), reconcile (SA/no longer being manufactured); none approved in cats


Off-label drug use (examples and what you need to have when using them)

fluoxetine, valium, alprazolam, paroxetine (anxiety)
Need "informed consent" in writing


What informed consent entails

explain that the drug is "extra label" or off label
explain why the drug was chosen
explain the potential for side effects
explain the human abuse potential