Hyperactivity in a Weimaraner dog
Keywords:behavior problems, dog, hyperactivity, hyperkinesis, overactivity, pica
A 9-month-old intact male Weimaraner dog was referred because of pica, as an aggravating factor for a food intolerance problem. The detailed history and the behavioral examination revealed not only pica but also impulse-control problems, increased excitability, destructiveness, attention deficits and inability to relax. Hyperkinesis was discarded considering normal vital signs and the non-clear paradoxical effect during the central nervous system (CNS) stimulant test. The presumptive diagnosis was hyperactivity. Treatment initially included avoiding conflict situations and never reinforcing nor punishing the dog if these occurred, as well as reinforcing calm states, increasing both play and exercise and starting with obedience training sessions. The dog really improved at home but not outside, which led the owners to drastically shorten walks. This situation, in turn, made the dogs’ behavior worse, as he showed redirected aggression toward the owners when they tried to move him away from any new social and non-social stimuli during the walk. The improvement of the dog was finally achieved through management measures and behavioral therapy combined with fluoxetine (1.5 mg/kg, PO, q 24h), castration and the control of medical problems. The negative role of confinement of hyperactive dogs as a consequence of their excessive behavior, other contributing factors to canine hyperactivity, as well as the effect of medical conditions on behavioral problems are discussed.