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March 24, 2009 -- A team of veterinarians has found a surprising link between compulsive tail-chasing in dogs and high cholesterol, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice.
The finding adds to a growing body of evidence -- mostly from studies on humans -- that high cholesterol may be a marker for behavioral problems such as panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder, which could be expressed by frequent tail-chasing falls in dogs.
Bouts of tail-chasing can also occur after a dog experiences physical trauma, surgery or illness, noted Hasan Batmaz, a member of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Turkey's University of Uludag, who conducted the study along with a team of colleagues.
Certain breeds, such as bull terriers and German shepherds, seem to chase their tails more often than others.
For the study, the researchers took blood samples from 15 otherwise healthy dogs that were compulsive tail-chasers. To serve as controls, 15 dogs that rarely chase their tails were included in the study as well.
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