Sylvia Masson a, ∗, Nadège Guitaut b, Tiphaine Medam c, Claude Béata d
a Clinique de la Tivolliere, 37 rue des martyrs, 38340 VOREPPE, France
b Clinique Vétérinaire du Vallon fleuri, Centre commercial Richelieu, 81 rue Richelieu, 73490 La Ravoire, France
c Independent researcher, Jouques, France
d 353A boulevard Grignan – 830 0 0 Toulon
Foreign body (FB) ingestion in dogs can threaten the animal’s life and often result in an emergency surgery. The causes of pica (ingestion of non-nutritive substance) remain unexplored, although behavioral conditions including hyperactivity, impulsivity, obsessive-compulsive oral/ingestive disorders, anxiety or attachment related troubles have been implicated. Such behavioral causes of pica were investigated with two grids: Lit’s owner-based questionnaire, which measures inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, and Beata’s clinical 4A grid which investigates aggression, anxiety, attachment, and autocontrols of dogs. These grids were fulfilled for 42 FB ingesting dogs and 42 pair-matched control dogs.
The main results show that FB ingestion is rarely related to digestive pain (12% of cases) but is primar- ily of a behavioural nature (88% of cases). Total Scores from both grids are significantly different between FB and control group (Lit scores: Wilcoxon signed-rank test, W = 665.5; P = 0.007; 4A: Wilcoxon signed- rank test, W = 41; P < 0.001). Regular shredding of objects is mainly related to a hyperactivity-impulsivity disorder (Lit total score: Mann-Whitney test, U = 99; P = 0.02; 4A Autocontrols Scores: Mann-Whitney test, U = 35; P < 0.001), whereas its absence in FB ingestion suggests anxiety or attachment disorder. Behavioral pathology should be assessed not only for dogs ingesting non-edible objects, but also for those shredding objects. This exacerbated oral exploration is a sufficient sign for veterinarians to consider a behavioral investigation.