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Genes involved in dog OCD identified

Dogs with OCD chew their feet, chase their tails or suck on blankets with extreme, often detrimental attention. A genome analysis suggests that four genes involved in the communication between brain cells may play a role in triggering the behavior.

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Humans aren’t the only ones to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Dogs can suffer from the disorder as well, with particular breeds compulsively chewing their feet, chasing their tails or sucking blankets.

Now scientists say they have identified several of the genes that trigger the behavior in Doberman pinschers, bullterriers, sheepdogs and German shepherds. Four genes, CDH2, CTNNA2, ATXN1 and PGCP, involved in the communication between brain cells appear to play a role in dog OCD, researchers report February 16 in Genome Biology. The results could be used to better understand the disorder in people.

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