There are certain medical issues which contribute to behavior problems as well as others that are actually instrumental in causing them in dogs. Medical issues should be ruled out when certain factors are involved. These include obvious problems with a dog’s physical condition (overweight, underweight, excessive shedding, alterations in thirst or appetite, etc.). Behavior problems that occur unusually early in life, especially if the dog is the runt of the litter or problems occurring seemingly out of the blue with no obvious environmental causes could point to a medical problem as well.
Somewhere between normal (euthyroid) and hypothyroid, are dogs whose thyroid levels are lower than necessary for optimal function but whose levels are still technically within normal range. In this situation, only one or two obvious signs of hypothyroidism may be present and only subtlety. This can contribute to anxiety and aggression.
Congenital or Acquired Neurological Problems
There are few is any signs in mild cases. However, more severe cases of Hydrocephalus are associated with a variety of neurological signs, sometimes including aggression. The definite test for Hydrocephalus is a Computed Tomography (CT) scan or a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
Bacterial or Viral Encephalitis
- Idiopathic (unknown)
- Immune-medicated disorders
- Postvaccinal complications
- Viral Infections (canine distemper, rabies, parvovirus)
- Bacterial Infections (anaerobic and aerobic)
- Fungal Infections (aspergillosis, histoplasmosis, blastomycosis)
- Parasitic Infections (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrilchisis)
- Foreign Bodies
Diagnosis is made by observation of clinical signs and through evaluation of the Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain and spinal cord.
Brain tumors are diagnosed from clinical signs and by specific neurological testing, with or without ancillary diagnostic aids such as CT scans or MRIs.
- A mood change just before the seizure
- Sudden violent aggression for trivial or no reason
- Signs of autonomic discharge (salivation, dilated pupils, and evacuation of anal sacs)
- Aggressive posturing, more or less continuous during an attach lasting several minutes, hours or even days
Following an attack, affected dogs often appear depressed and lethargic, unresponsive to commands and may stare at a wall or simply sleep. Diagnosis is made by observation of clinical signs, Electroencephalogram (EEG) or MRI.