Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
This thread | Show all | Post follow-up | Start new thread | List of forums | Search | FAQ

Re: Predatory aggression

Posted by Racer on June 30, 1999, at 21:01:31

In reply to Predatory aggression, posted by Robin Dickson, M.A., Behavior Specialist on June 30, 1999, at 18:59:02

I'm not a doctor, and can't address the issues of medications, but I can tell you where I've seen this sort of behavior before.

I've worked with horses now for almost 30 years, and this is not too uncommon there. It happens during transitions, and looks as though they're waiting for that moment to attack another horse. Almost invariably, this is caused by major anxiety which the horse cannot express or cope with. The first thing we do in that case is to check the animal's hearing and vision. You already know that this patient has hearing loss, so that's a factor there. His communication skills are poor, another major factor. Has his eyesight been checked?

What happens in horses is pretty complex. They're herd animals, so there is a great deal of internal pressure to abide by the rules of the herd, not to do anything that will cause them to stand out in any way. For a horse who may be naturally on the anxious side, he/she may hide that anxiety as well as possible, and then suddenly reach critical mass and attack. This is much more likely to happen when there is a transition of some sort, a time when the anxiety is raised beyond endurance. The cure for it in horses, overall, is training. Consistent reassurance, and socialization exercises. You need to train the horse that even the period of transition is survivable, which you do through positive reinforcement. This is a time when any sort of punishment is more likely to make matters worse.

Of course, before moving to training, we have to check the horse thoroughly for any signs of pain of any sort. In this case, though, if you'll forgive the analogy of human to horse, it sounds as though this patient may have very severe anxiety which he is masking. (The slow moving horse may be too tense to move any faster, rather than lazy.) With problems hearing, which exacerbate his existing communication problems, he may be trying to mask an intense fear that periodically overflows. You might try anti-anxiety drugs and desensitisation exercises.

That's one of those "can't hurt/might help" suggestions. Let me know if it sounds like anything to you.




Post a new follow-up

Your message only Include above post

Notify the administrators

They will then review this post with the posting guidelines in mind.

To contact them about something other than this post, please use this form instead.


Start a new thread

Google www
Search options and examples
[amazon] for

This thread | Show all | Post follow-up | Start new thread | FAQ
Psycho-Babble Medication | Framed

poster:Racer thread:8065