WHAT IS AUTISM?
In humans, the term autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of issues characterized by challenges with social skills such as speech, verbal communication and repetitive behaviors. scientists know there are many different forms of autism in humans most influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, not everyone's' experience will be the same and each presents a set of challenges and strengths. You can expect the same to apply with dogs.
CAN DOGS "GET" AUTISM?
As autism research advances, vets and dog owners all around the world are becoming more aware with how Autism affects people and their pets’ relationships. The question of whether dogs can truly have autism is being raised by many with increasing frequency. Old fashion scientists continue to assert that dogs cannot have autism, however, current research shows that there are dogs who exhibit similar behaviors as humans who have been diagnosed with autism. The most obvious sign; repetitive behavior and could be a major indication that your dog may be autistic.
Veterinarians and scientists were talking about the occurrence of autism-like symptoms in dogs as early as 1966. American College of Veterinary Behaviorists reported in 2015 repetitive tail chasing behavior in Bull Terriers and the possible link to autism. The study was performed in order to find the specific gene responsible for debilitating behaviors in the breed such as compulsively chasing their tails to the point at which they chew their own tails. The study observed specific DNA in addition to traits analysis of 132 Bull Terriers; 55 tail chasing and 77 non tail-chasing. The researchers concluded that tail chasing is occurring mostly in males, associated with trance like behavior and associated with aggression episodes. In addition to the repetitive tail-chasing behavior certain dogs exhibited a tendency for phobias. This led this study to conclude that tail chasing could represent a canine form of autism.
After the findings were drawn researchers began tracking neurological markers in dogs that were remarkably similar with autism in humans. This study also led to the use of certain serotonin reuptake inhibitors in order to help and reduce compulsive behaviors in both humans and pets. It has also led to the development of a new OCD drug that can be used for both human beings and dogs.
Some researchers believe that autism could have resulted by a lack of mirror neurons in the dogs brain. Since this condition is considered congenital dogs cannot suddenly "get" Autism, it is something they carry from birth. Recent studies found that puppies may be born with autism if their parents have been exposed to unnecessary vaccinations and or a variety of chemicals.
HOW DOES AUTISM EFFECT DOGS?
Majority of dogs who are suffering from autism will exhibit repetitive behaviors for instance tail chasing may be one of the more dominant symptoms. Some dogs become aggressive during an episode, some become withdrawn. Some dogs exhibit such mild symptoms you don't even notice them.
SIMILARITIES IN AUTISM IN DOGS V. AUTISM IN HUMAN BEINGS
There are many similarities in which autism in dogs is similar to that found in humans including but not limited to:
DIFFERENCES IN AUTISM IN DOGS V. AUTISM IN HUMAN BEINGS
There seems to be very little differences in a behavioral standpoint. The major difference is that human Autism is widely accepted with a set of symptoms called the autism spectrum which allows a medical professional make a proper diagnosis. No such spectrum exists to help a vet diagnose autism in dogs and it is still a debate whether canines can truly have autism.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR DOG MAY HAVE AUTISM?
You should take your dog to your veterinarian for diagnosis if you suspect your dog may have autism or any other condition. Your vet will examine your dog and most likely run a number of tests. Besides running tests tell your vet if your dog is experiencing any of the following symptoms:
Diagnosis is the hardest aspect of Autism in dogs due to a very limited amount of research and awareness. Until substantial research is performed, diagnosing dogs with this condition is not an easy process. Our understanding of typical and atypical behavior in dogs is extremely limited. It is also important to mention that many of the symptoms of autism can resemble other physical and emotional conditions. For a definitive Autism diagnosis, your dog must exhibit some of the major signs like repetitive behavior and social interaction difficulties with people or dogs.
MY DOG HAS AUTISM. HOW CAN I TREAT THIS CONDITION?
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