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Can dogs be autistic?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Sairy, Feb 22, 2017.


  1. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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  2. catz4m8z

    catz4m8z PetForums VIP

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    Interesting.:) I dont think you can really apply human diagnosis to animals but Im sure there are conditions that could be seen as being comparable.
    I felt sorry for the collie in the video though....he looked like he was free fed and was desperately trying to bury his food, if that was the case no wonder he was stressed!
     
  3. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    I'm afraid I didn't get any further than seeing autism described as a 'tragic condition'.
     
  4. tabulahrasa

    tabulahrasa PetForums VIP

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    It's not a very good article in that their understanding of autism seems very...basic.

    I have no idea whether it exists in dogs, but my son has autism and you wouldn't ever be looking at autism for a reason for behavioural issues in an adult dog, the issues would be obviously present at a very young age...everything down to interaction with litter mates as a young puppy should have flagged up as not typical.
     
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  5. shadowmare

    shadowmare The dog doesn't bite, me on the other hand...

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    I cringed, shook my head and finally, wanted to scream while reading this...article :(
    It looks like a primary school student wrote down some "research" he's done on autism... And then in the list of canine autism "symptoms" most of the points can be easily explained by lack of socialisation and simply poor breeding of anxious, unstable dogs...
     
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  6. kamikaze

    kamikaze PetForums Member

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    I suppose it's definitely possible but the way the article is written is insensitive at best. There's not a ton of research on things like this, so while it's possible and within the realm of belief I imagine it would be really difficult to test for this in dogs.
     
  7. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts guys. I just thought it was interesting in that I've never considered whether a dog could be autistic before. I must have missed the part where it was described as a "tragic condition" as I too would have not appreciated this.

    I sometimes wonder if there is something a little unusual about one of my cats as he exhibits some odd behaviours.
     
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  8. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    As dog and human brains share many similarities I suppose it's reasonable to assume that just like humans, dogs can also be autistic.

    What worries me though about the article especially with the vague list of "symptoms" given, many dogs could be labelled as "autistic" and used as an excuse by their owners to explain bad behaviour when in fact it's mostly due to lack of training.

    I wonder if, after reading the article, how many owners will now rush to the vets claiming their dog is suffering from autism?
     
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  9. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    Good point.
    Perhaps akin to where many children have been given the label of having ADHD when really their parents needed to control them better and act like parents. Not saying that ADHD doesn't exist, but its a condition that is often treated with mind altering drugs and giving something like that routinely to children who actually don't have the condition could be construed as abuse.
     
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  10. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    I was just about to make the same analogy - you beat me to it ;)
     
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  11. kamikaze

    kamikaze PetForums Member

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    I was thinking exactly this, the bit about owners using it as an excuse, but didn't want to sound insensitive. :oops: (Not that you did I just wasn't sure how to phrase it!) But honestly I can imagine people saying "oh he's autistic so he can't learn to not jump on others" and I can see owners using that as a cop out to not train their dog and get away with it.
     
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  12. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    On a slightly different note. When my elder son first went to school, I was called in by the headmistress to be told he was suffering from dyslexia, (which in the late 60's was all the fashion). The reason given was that he couldn't spell any of the words from the Ladybird books they used which had pictures on one side of the page and the words on the other. Knowing my son as well as I do I realised what had happened. At the time my husband worked for IBM and at home we had a golf ball typewriter and a dictaphone provided by the company. My son had several times declared he didn't need to learn to read or write because when he grew up he was going to be like daddy and dictate any correspondence into the dictaphone which would then be typed by his secretary! Perfect 5 year old logic!

    Shortly after we moved house and he moved to a small school where they taught reading and writing the "old fashioned" way. Within two months my "dyslectic" son had become a bookworm and a few years later he was sent on a "speedreading" course only to be told at the end of the first day, they couldn't teach him anything more because he was already reading and assimilating everything faster than the speed they taught.

    I know when Georgina was going through all her eye problems and her vision was poor, she displayed many of the symptoms described in the article, including severe anxiety and OCD behaviour. I was told by several people she was aggressive, something she's never been, and I should have her PTS. Some people were really nasty and hurtful which used to upset me!

    I have a wonderful vet who has a great deal of experience with Pei and he assured me her behaviour was entirely due to her poor vision, and just to stick it out because as soon as her eyesight was restored to normal I'd see her true personality.. He was absolutely correct because most of her "symptoms" disappeared shortly after she could see properly and I couldn't wish for a better dog.
     
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  13. kare

    kare PetForums VIP

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    I have joked previously my dog was Autistic.
    She was slow bonding or rather learning humans could help her in life...but her dog sense was spot on so really I didnt believe this
     
  14. Wee T

    Wee T What you talkin' bout, Willow?

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    That caught me too but it made me laugh. Oh, you only have to look at my son (ASD/SPD) to see how laughable that is. He's an amazing & funny little bugger & our life is MUCH more charming and fun as a direct result of his "tragic" condition. ;)

    Interesting notion so thanks for posting @Sairy.

    With the article's simplistic take on autism I suppose you could label various dog behaviours as autistic - heck, mine own mutt could tick the poor social skills and inflexible thinking boxes (tendency to shout at new things) however in reality autism is so much more complex than that.

    Take my own son; he's on the spectrum yet is incredibly sociable - craves the company of others and is the first to barrel up to any and all to make friends and yet my daughter (has been assessed) is not on the spectrum but in many social settings appears textbook Asperger's so it's really not so clear cut.

    They take so many other things into account when diagnosing ASD......with our son there was sensory and visual processing among other things rather than just a black & white stance on social skills......things they could not assess in dogs.

    It would be very very difficult - nigh on impossible - to diagnose a dog using the triad of impairment theory...how do you measure empathy? Language? Among other things...

    Nope. Dogs may have social issues but it's far far too much of a reach to go to autism over, say, socialisation, training or even breed trait...not to mention oversimplifying ASD.

    It is hard enough to diagnose ASD in humans I really can't see how it could ever be accurately diagnosed in dogs.


    (Still smiling and shaking head at "tragic". :D)
     
    #14 Wee T, Feb 23, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
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  15. tabulahrasa

    tabulahrasa PetForums VIP

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    ADHD isn't a label, it's a medical diagnosis only given by qualified professionals...and ADHD drugs given to children without ADHD would have exactly the opposite of the desired effect, they're stimulants, closest in composition to amphetamines.
     
  16. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    Agreed, AND most parents hate the fact that their child needs to be medicated.
     
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