Many of us think of our pet as just another member of our family, so why shouldn’t we treat them like we treat our own children? It makes sense that if mental illness runs in families, our pets could become mentally ill as well. Indeed, this is what veterinary psychiatry has discovered. Mental illness in pets is on the rise!
“Dr Carter, a leading animal psychiatrist, said animals were being put on anti-depressant medication in increasing numbers as vets and owners became more aware of the signs of mental illness. “We use a lot of drugs like Prozac and other anti-depressants and Valium,” Dr Carter said.”
You may wonder how to identify mental illness in non-verbal creatures. Well, just as six month old mentally ill infants cannot describe their symptoms, we don’t need to hear from our pets to know that they too have a serious mental illness. It’s all about the behavior!
Has Rover hit his rock bottom? Is he defecating on the sidewalk?
Drinking out of toilets?
Licking his testicles on the living room sofa?
Don’t worry. Help is here. Psychiatry can treat pets with mental illness as effectively as they treat humans, and with the same drugs, no less!
“Year-old Luna is one of Dr Carter’s success stories. At just four months old, the labrador cross began displaying signs of severe mental illness. Owner Lydia Spicer said: “I was appalled and in tears when my four-month-old puppy turned vicious before my eyes. “I’d take her for a walk and if someone came past, she’d start going nuts and lunge and growl at them.”
Can you imagine how hard it must be to see one’s beloved little puppy lunging and growling at another animal during a walk? This is obviously a sign of a very disturbed little pup. Dogs are not the least bit territorial, so this is clearly a sign of irrational, sick dog behavior requiring psychiatric intervention.
“Not only dogs can develop mental disorders. Dr Carter said she had treated cats, horses and even birds. Birds being kept as pets quite often display signs of mental illness. The most common sign for birds with mental illness is plucking out their feathers. There are lots of reasons a bird might pull its feathers out, but anxiety can be a cause for it.”
We all know there’s nothing about keeping a living creature locked in a cage all day long while we’re away at work or running errands that should provoke such behavior. We love these creatures as much as we love our children. That’s why we cage them and keep them stored in our homes for our pleasure and enjoyment. Therefore, if Tweety starts pulling out her own feathers, she probably has a mental illness. This can be corrected with Prozac-laced birdseed. In extreme cases, anti-psychotic birdseed may be necessary. Your animal psychiatrist can provide you with all your treatment options.
Helpful hints *Sometimes, a smaller cage with no toys is a better option. If Tweety is self-harming, it may be useful to reduce her environmental stimulation. Additionally, this can give Tweety some motivation to stop acting out and to earn her toys back by engaging in the desired behaviors.*
Just as is the case with our own offspring, “We need to be more aware of the needs of animals and realize their needs are not always being met by our busy lifestyles.” Don’t stop to consider sending your beloved labrador to live on a farm just because he chews on his own paws until they bleed while you have him caged for 18 hours each day. That would be unreasonable. We can alleviate our pets’ needs by drugging them with the very same chemicals we use on our mentally ill children.
Psychiatry saves the day once again!