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Retrospective Study On Hypersensitivity-Hyperactivity Syndrome In Dogs: Long-Term Outcome Of High Dose Fluoxetine Treatment And Proposal Of A Clinical Score

I suspect that the number of spelling and grammatical errors found in the paper below is indicative of its legitimacy. However, it’s an opportunity for me to express my opinion regarding my suspicions regarding any diagnosis that suggests a dog suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I cannot say that it is never the case, but I doubt it is almost always never the case.

Dogs, with the ‘condition’ as described below, are almost always a byproduct of ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free/No Need For No!/Skinner Meant Two Quadrants Not Four/Everyone Gets A Trophy/Don’t Wreck The Dog’s Self-Esteem/Sit Down And Talk About Our Feelings’ companion dog training. This approach is so myopic and distant from real science that it is causing the invention of new (virtually non-existent) behavior disorders and causing many that range from the simply unruly to the seriously anxious and/or aggressive. Companion dog owners unable to control their dogs have had to resort to various devices that apply pressure and cause damage due to their never-ending application to dog’s necks, shoulder, and elbows.

I am almost willing to guarantee that none of the dogs selected for the study had training that was based on real science. Almost always it will be  ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free… .’ or to a far lesser extent ‘Might Is Right,’ neither of which are part of the evolutionary biology and psychology associated with teaching and learning real-world life skills by any higher order social species.

While it would not by any means be the only thing, any legitimate trainer would consider I suspect most if not all of these companion dog owners have been lead to believe that a walk is exercise. There is no known universe where the physical and mental tasks these dogs were selected for as companion tools for humans is on par with the nature of their current day to day existence. It is highly unlikely that these dogs actually have a chemical imbalance problem. It is far more likely that they have been subjected to a minivan lifestyle when they are wired for a Ferrari lifestyle.

Consider this. We have had since the advent of hyper-protective parenting of human children an exponential growth in the number of young adults requiring medication for anxiety. Before that, we had and have exponential growth in the number of children requiring medication for issues related to attention deficit disorders. There is now literature surfacing that is beginning to suggest there is a link between what is often referred to as helicopter parenting, every child must get a trophy, self-esteem must be preserved at all costs, etc. A hypothesis that I have had for many years now.

Very few dog trainers are actually full-time. Even fewer have been full-time for three decades as I have. As a result, many are not aware that before the all positive movement very few dogs had issues with anxiety or attention deficit.  Both humans and dogs. Coincidence? Perhaps, it’s too early to say, but I personally don’t think so. I believe in both cases these issues are neither a child or teenager or young adult or dog problem. What I think concerning humans is a parenting and teaching problem. Concerning dog behavior, it has been the movement to training ideologies passed off as science vs. legitimate science. Entirely driven by amateur dog trainers that lack a background that includes critical thought and understanding of science that would allow them to distinguish between real science and pseudoscience.  I have seen in recent years these amateur dog trainers form associations that have resulted in giving an undeserved air of legitimacy endorsing approaches to companion dog training that were never intended to be applied outside of a rats maze, or the aquariums holding orcas and dolphins captive. Sadly, reason has been abandoned, and this madness has been widely embraced by neophyte dog trainers, veterinary technicians, and the universities providing education to veterinarians.

Here’s a further consideration. It is related to the idea of exercise. When society began to contain children to classrooms so that they could pursue education it became readily apparent that without the concept of incorporating a recess twice a day and playtime after lunch it was not only challenging to teach them it was tough for them to retain the information. I do not know now how long these play periods currently are. When I was a youth we had 15 minutes morning and afternoon and approximately half an hour at lunch. I suspect it’s not presently dissimilar. How were/are these lengths of times determined? Why not five minutes? Why not two hours?

I suspect the reasoning isn’t too far off from the reason as to why the approach to curriculum aims at the average child as opposed to a gifted child versus a child who struggles intellectually. I wonder how many of the children currently on medication for reasons related to their ability to focus might benefit from instead of 15 minutes, perhaps half an hour, maybe 45 minutes three times a day of sustained cardiovascular stimulation? How would that impact their ability to focus in the classroom? How might that affect the amount information they retained? I suspect that in spite of having less classroom time than their peers some would at year-end perform as well if not better than those same peers. Before I would go that far out on a limb, however, I would also like to have a close look at the approach used for both parenting at home and teaching in the classroom. How often is the child expected to exert self-control in a manner in keeping with their maturity? I would also be very curious to see how many of those children are involved in a competitive sport in which a trophy is not guaranteed and in fact, it is considered acceptable for a coach to criticize the child and not at all unusual for the child’s peers on the same team to apply their own criticism without being labelled as bullies.

All dogs graduate from what passes for obedience in North America. Every dog and every owner leaves with the trophy, self-esteem intact.  When the very idea that instead of all positive or might is right one might approach companion dog training and still be almost entirely positive with the occasional application of, “I’m sorry, I still love you, but I’m not asking you, I’m telling you!”,  is framed by associations and people passing themselves off as dog trainers; as unscientific and sometimes even as cruel, is it any surprise that when we strayed so far from our evolutionary path that we are now considering medication to address alleged chemical imbalances in our dogs?


Retrospective study on hypersensitivity-hyperactivity syndrome in dogs: long-term outcome of high dose fluoxetine treatment and proposal of a clinical score


In the French veterinary psychiatry model, the canine version of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is called hypersensitivity-hyperactivity syndrome (HSHA) and it includes two stages, depending on the symptom severity. Since methylphenidate is not authorized for veterinary use in France, HSHA dogs are commonly treated with 2 to 4 mg/kg fluoxetine associated with behavioural modifications. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze the long-term outcome of this global approach. Twenty-four dogs diagnosed with HSHA were included. For each dog, 42 descriptive data were analyzed. Primary reasons for consulting were variable if the dogs had an additionnal behavioural diagnosis (i.e. 33% of the dogs): complaints were linked to the comorbid diagnosis (e.g. bite on strangers, people phobia), whereas they were linked to autocontrol deficiency for the dogs diagnosed with HSHA only (e.g. destructive, mouth, jumps on people).

HSHA affection deeply alters the dog-human bond, as severe cases often lead owners to think about euthanasia or rehoming (12% for stage 1, but 83% for stage 2).

Neither the possibility to have access to a garden nor the quantity of daily exercise were linked to HSHA stages (respectively, Fisher’s exact test, p=0.69, and Kruskal-Wallis, p=0.88).

Eighty-three percent of the dogs attended training classes before consulting, with no noticeable improvement (mean training improvement score 1.7/10). In addition, training seemed even less efficient on severe cases, i.e. stage 2 dogs (Kruskall-Wallis, p<0.03).

After two months of high dose fluoxetine (2 to 4 mg/kg), the average score of improvement given by owners was 7.2/10 compared to 0/10 at start. No long-term adverse effect was reported.

A HSHA clinical score (0 to 5 scale) was built to better categorize the dogs and to conduct the follow-up. The HSHA clinical score was correlated to fluoxetine dose (Pearson correlation, p<0.01) and duration (Pearson correlation, p<0.05). A successful weaning from treatment was possible for 54% of the dogs.

These results suggest that HSHA spectrum can range from mild clinical signs to widely pervasive and invalidating ones. Starting the treatment as early as possible seems determinant for the welfare of the dog and for the dog-owner relationship, but doesn’t allow a shorter treatment (Kruskall-Wallis, p=0.84) or more chances for a weaning (Fisher’s exact test, p=0.88). However, high dose fluoxetine associated with behavioural modifications appear to be useful and well tolerated to treat this complex syndrome.

Identify children at greatest risk for dog bite injuries and to provide injuryprevention recommendations.


A retrospective review of patients aged ≤ 18 years treated for dog bite injuries from October 2011 to October 2016 was performed. Data collected included patient demographics, parental presence, time of injury, dog breed and ownership status, injury location and characteristics, need for operative intervention, and hospitalization.


One-hundred and two patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age was 5.84 years, and 43.1% were preschool-aged (2–5 years). Parental presence was reported in 43.6% of cases, and most attacks occurred in the evening (46.8%). Injuries often involved the head–neck region (92.1%), and 72.5% were of major severity. Pet dogs were responsible for 42% of injuries, and pit bull was the most-identified breed (36.2%). Most injuries occurred while the child was at home (57.8%) and was petting or playing with the dog (28.4%). Intervention in the operating room was required in 34.3% of patients. Major injury was more likely to require operative intervention (p = 0.015) but was not associated with patient age, sex, pet status, or the need for hospitalization.


Preschool-aged children are most commonly injured by dog bites, and dog bites can result in major injury to the head and neck region. Prevention efforts should focus on public education (children and adults), vigilant adult supervision, and a zero-tolerance policy.Labrador retrievers are reportedly predisposed to many disorders but accurate prevalence information relating to the general population are lacking. This study aimed to describe demography, mortality and commonly recorded diseases in Labrador retrievers under UK veterinary care.


The VetCompass™ programme collects electronic patient record data on dogs attending UK primary-care veterinary practices. Demographic analysis covered all33,320 Labrador retrievers in the VetCompass™ database under veterinary care during 2013 while disorder and mortality data were extracted from a random sample of 2074 (6.2%) of these dogs.


Of the Labrador retrievers with information available, 15,427 (46.4%) were female and 15,252 (53.6%) were male. Females were more likely to be neutered than males (59.7% versus 54.8%, P < 0.001). The overall mean adult bodyweight was 33.0 kg (SD 6.1). Adult males were heavier (35.2 kg, SD 5.9 kg) than adult females (30.4 kg, SD 5.2 kg) (P < 0.001). The median longevity of Labrador retrievers overall was 12.0 years (IQR 9.9–13.8, range 0.0–16.0). The most common recorded colours were black (44.6%), yellow (27.8%) and liver/chocolate (reported from hereon as chocolate) (23.8%). The median longevity of non-chocolate coloured dogs (n = 139, 12.1 years, IQR 10.2–13.9, range 0.0–16.0) was longer than for chocolate coloured animals (n = 34, 10.7 years, IQR 9.0–12.4, range 3.8–15.5) (P = 0.028).

Of a random sample of 2074 (6.2%) Labrador retrievers under care in 2013 that had full disorder data extracted, 1277 (61.6%) had at least one disorder recorded. The total number of dogs who died at any date during the study was 176. The most prevalent disorders recorded were otitis externa (n = 215, prevalence 10.4%, 95% CI: 9.1–11.8), overweight/obesity (183, 8.8%, 95% CI: 7.6–10.1) and degenerative joint disease (115, 5.5%, 95% CI: 4.6–6.6). Overweight/obesity was not statistically significantly associated with neutering in females (8.3% of entire versus 12.5% of neutered, P = 0.065) but was associated with neutering in males (4.1% of entire versus 11.4% of neutered, P < 0.001). The prevalence of otitis externa in black dogs was 12.8%, in yellow dogs it was 17.0% but, in chocolate dogs, it rose to 23.4% (P < 0.001). Similarly, the prevalence of pyo-traumatic dermatitis in black dogs was 1.1%, in yellow dogs it was 1.6% but in chocolate dogs it rose to 4.0% (P = 0.011).


The current study assists prioritisation of health issues within Labrador retrievers. The most common disorders were overweight/obesity, otitis externa and degenerative joint disease. Males were significantly heavier females. These results can alert prospective owners to potential health issues and inform breed-specific wellness checks.


Masson, Sylvia, and Emmanuel Gaultier. “Retrospective Study on Hypersensitivity-Hyperactivity Syndrome in Dogs: Long-Term Outcome of High Dose Fluoxetine Treatment and Proposal of a Clinical Score.” DOG BEHAVIOR 4, no. 2 (October 19, 2018): 15–35.

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