Fear, anxiety and conflict in companion animals

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Until recently, there has been a tendency to consider the behaviour of animals as being separate from, and even immaterial to, their physical health. However, there is now strong evidence that the emotional state of both human and veterinary patients not only influences their behaviour, but also has a profound influence on the onset of, and recovery from, disease. This chapter explains Negative emotional states; Behavioural signs; The stress response; Emotional state, stress and disease; Negative emotional states in dogs in the veterinary practice and in long term care; Negative emotional states in cats in the veterinary practice and in long term care; and Other tools for reducing negative emotional states in dogs and cats.

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4.1 Dogs will become more confident in showing aggression as a strategy to avoid a perceived aversive consequence. (Courtesy of John Bradshaw)
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4.3 The hypothalamopituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. (Reproduced from the )
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4.4 Environmental stressors have been identified as important flare factors in bouts of idiopathic cystitis in cats. This may present as grooming of the caudal abdominal region.
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4.5 It is important to have a good understanding of the normal ethology of the dog. For example, relationships between dogs tend to be fluid and not a fixed ‘hierarchy’ as previously thought. (Courtesy of Sara Jackson)
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4.6 Running ‘puppy socialization parties’ gives dogs a positive experience of the practice from an early age. (Courtesy of Emily Blackwell)
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4.7 Cats living in close proximity with others that they do not consider as part of the same social group can become chronically stressed, particularly where individuals cannot easily avoid each other. (Courtesy of Anne Seawright)
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4.8 Environmental enrichment for a shelter cat. This ‘Hide, Perch & Go’ box (devised by the British Columbia SPCA) serves as a method of stress reduction by offering a hiding place and perch. The box transforms into a carrier when the cat is adopted. (Courtesy of Sheila Segurson. Reproduced from the )
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4.9 Simple puzzle feeders, such as a plastic bottle with holes slightly larger than biscuits, keep cats entertained for longer than eating from a bowl. (Courtesy of Anne Seawright)
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