Behavioural disorders

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The practice of behavioural dermatology encompasses the management of any dermatological condition for which there is also a significant behavioural component. Although the skin and central nervous system (CNS) are differentiated during fetal development, they share a substantial number of hormones, neuropeptides and receptors. Physiological changes that can be observed clinically (such as pruritus, vascular flushing and sweating) are related to the underlying actions of psychoneuroendocrinoimmunological mediators (such as enkephalins, endorphins, substance P amd vasoactive intestinal peptides) on the CNS, integument and immune system. When considering the interrelationships between behavioural and dermatological disorders, it is important to note that specific antigenic stimuli, as well as environmental and social stressors, may contribute to a patient reaching their pruritic threshold. For example, a dog with atopic dermatitis may flare solely from the stress of separation whilst their owners are away on holiday. Concurrent behaviours that may be elicited in response to stress include changes in appetite, grooming behaviours, elimination patterns, social interaction and activity. This chapter focuses on Primary behavioural dermatoses.

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31.2 Acral lick granuloma on the carpus on a dog.
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31.3 Ventrum of a cat with feline psychogenic alopecia.
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31.4 Alopecia on the dorsum of a cat due to overgrooming. This appearance may be associated with feline psychogenic alopecia or, more commonly, with hypersensitivity reactions.
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31.5 Feline hyperaesthesia syndrome. This cat licked its foreleg intensely when the dorsum was touched during examination.
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31.6 Preputial self-mutilation in a dog.

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