Dr Sagi Denenberg
- Webinar recorded on Thu 10th December, 2015
- 1 hours 17 mins
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Dr Sagi Denenberg will discuss Linking Drug Therapies to Advanced Strategies for Noise Phobias. Sensitivity to noise is one of the most common concerns of dog owners with as many as 40 to 50% of dogs reported to be fearful of some sort of noise. More recently one United States survey of 1201 owners with 1960 dogs found that 17% of dogs were fearful of noises, with storms (86%), fireworks (74%) and vacuum cleaners 41%. On the other hand a study out of the United Kingdom of almost 4000 dogs reported 25% of dogs with noise phobias. However, this increased to 49% when owners were provided with a structured questionnaire. Fireworks fears were most common at 83%, thunderstorms at 65%, gunshots 30% and cars and trucks backfiring at 28%. Risk factors vary between studies although an increase with age is consistently reported. One study identified three distinct groups of sound fears; sudden brief noises e.g. music, conversation, traffic, intense stressors e.g. thunder, fireworks and gunshots, and continuous household noises e.g. vacuum cleaners, and television. Common signs include trembling, hiding, freezing cowering, seeking people, pacing, running, vigilance, startle, bolting, salivation, panting, vocalizing, soiling and destructive.
Diagnosis of noise phobia is based on history and clinical signs during noise episodes. In many occasions the problem exist long before owners identify it. Therefore, educating owners on how to identify subtle signs is extremely helpful in minimising the problem. Management include prevention or avoidance, environmental modification, and behavioural modification. In many cases drug therapy is also needed to reduce anxiety and intensity of the situation. Owners should try and minimise the effect of the sound by providing, when possible, a sound proof location for their dog to stay in. In addition, the use of enrichment products is valuable. Later, as the pet is calmer and is able to learn a desensitisation protocol can be implemented. This is done by using sound CDs, or recording played at low intensity while the owner is engaging the dog in positive and desired behaviours. The use of SSRI is valuable in long term or consistent problem. Benzodiazepines can be used for “as needed” basis. In low grade anxiety the use of natural supplements can be helpful.
Dr. Denenberg provides behaviour consultations at Langford Veterinary Services Ltd. He also teaches students at the University of Bristol. Dr. Denenberg published articles in the field of behavioural medicine and book chapters including in the BSAVA Behaviour Manual and The Merck Manual. He is also a consultant on the Veterinary Information Network. Dr. Denenberg is a frequent speaker in national and international venues lecturing on behaviour medicine, senior pets and cognitive decline, hospice, and palliative care.