Unfortunately, animals do experience depression. Not all animals will go through depression, and not all species show evident signs of depression, but it is a real disorder that animals are diagnosed with everyday. Most pet owners are well aware of separation anxiety that can lead to destruction of the home or self-mutilation, but there are several causes of separation anxiety that most pet owners are unaware of. Separation anxiety may be caused by the simple act of leaving a pet home alone, or even being left at the vet hospital. But, separation anxiety can also be caused by pets that have a very close bond with a child that is now going back to school after summer break (or even winter break) or a college student that is now starting school away from home, returning only occasionally. Another common cause of pet anxiety is the loss of an animal companion. These causes of anxiety lead to depression, ranging from mild to fatal.

Dogs usually express depression in several forms: destruction, self-mutilation, reclusive behavior, clingy behavior, or anorexia. Cats on the other-hand, may experience some of these same behaviors while suffering from depression, but the biggest difference is their level of anorexia. Cats will go days, even weeks without eating when suffering from depression. This anorexia leads hepatic lipidosis, commonly known as fatty liver disease, which is caused by the mobilization of their body fat to compensate for not eating. The liver is not able to handle this large amount of fat in the blood stream, and liver failure ensues quickly. This type of liver failure is often fatal if hospitalization and treatment is not started immediately. Other species including birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, rats, gerbils and mice have all been known to show signs of depression.

If you believe your pet is experiencing any sign of depression, it is imperative that you speak with us to have your pet examined immediately. We will work together to develop a treatment plan to restore your pet’s quality of life. We can be reached at 918-899-PETS(7387).