• Clomipramine;
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder;
  • separation anxiety;
  • noise phobia;
  • anxiety;
  • dogs.

Objective To evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of a treatment protocol for obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety and noise phobia in dogs.

Design A study was undertaken to assess clinical responses in 24 dogs diagnosed with one or more of three behavioural disorders stated above to a treatment regimen that included clomipramine and behaviour modification.

Procedure A detailed behavioural and clinical history was obtained for each dog. Obsessive-compulsive disorder was diagnosed in nine cases: primary presenting complaints were tail-chasing, shadow-chasing, circling and chewing; one case was diagnosed with concurrent separation anxiety. Separation anxiety was diagnosed in 14 cases: presenting complaints included destruction, vocalisation and escaping in the absence of the owner; four cases also exhibited noise phobia. The study also included one dog diagnosed with noise phobia only and another with inappropriate fear responses.

Clomipramine was administered orally twice daily. The starting dose was 1 to 2 mg/kg bodyweight. The dose was increased incrementally to a maximum of 4 mg/kg if needed. A behaviour modification program was designed and the owner instructed on its implementation. Dogs continued medication for at least 1 month after clinical signs disappeared or were acceptably reduced, then withdrawal of medication was attempted by decreasing drug dosage at weekly intervals while behaviour modification continued.

Results The presenting clinical sign was largely improved or disappeared in 16 dogs, 5 demonstrated slight to moderate improvement and the behaviour was unchanged in 3. Clomipramine withdrawal was attempted in nine cases: this was successful in five.

Conclusion Clomipramine was effective and well-tolerated in controlling signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder and/or separation anxiety and/or noise phobia in 16 of 24 assessable cases, when used in combination with behaviour modification, and improvement in clinical signs was noted in 5 others.