Behavioral Medicine

Solutions for chronic animal behavior problems

Did you know that dogs and cats can suffer from mental illnesses and behavioral conditions just like people? It can be very stressful for animal owners when their pet suffers from anxiety, aggression, storm phobia or other behavioral issues. Our behavioral medicine team offers comprehensive evaluations and proven treatment plans for a wide-range of behavioral and aggression problems. Let us help alleviate both you and your pet’s stress by scheduling an appointment with this service today.

Please note that this service operates out of our primary care clinic.

What we can help with:
  • Destructive behaviors
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Aggression directed toward other animals and humans
  • Fear reactions and phobias, such as storm or noise phobias
  • Obsessive compulsive disorders
  • Elimination problems and marking behavior (with urine or feces)
Our goals are to:
  • Help owners and caregivers understand the brain and the behavior of animals, and to improve human-animal communication and relationships
  • Treat and manage behavior problems and behavioral/mental health disorders
  • Develop research in animal behavior, clinical behavioral medicine and animal welfare

Frequently Asked Questions

Why a specialized veterinarian for behavioral problems?

A veterinary behaviorist will teach you how your pet’s brain works and help you understand and manage their behavior. They have specialized training in treating conditions such as impulsive, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. They can also diagnose medical conditions that may affect behavior and can prescribe psychoactive medication, which can be a helpful tool in the treatment of some behavioral disorders.

How does a behavioral medicine appointment work?

Before your pet’s appointment, you will receive a history form (link) to complete and send back to us. This is important so that we can prepare according to your pet’s specific needs. Your initial appointment will take around 2 hours. During that time, we will:

  • Take a detailed history of your pet’s behavior and medical background
  • Perform a physical examination on your pet (when possible), and discuss any diagnostic test that may be needed
  • Make one or several diagnoses
  • Present you with a treatment plan that will include any necessary medications, behavior therapy interventions, environmental enrichment and management recommendations

Your consultation includes three months of follow-up and advice, which is available by email or phone. During this time, you may contact us with any questions and we will guide you through the treatment plan. After three months, most patients need to come at least once for a recheck appointment so we can evaluate your pet’s progress and make adjustments to the treatment plan and/or medication. This recheck appointment is not included in the cost of your initial consultation.

Other Services

Pre-adoption Counseling

Many behavior problems can be prevented by choosing a pet that is a good fit for your family and your lifestyle, and by preparing the pet appropriately for its later life.

Before you bring a companion animal into your family, we can help you choose a species and breed that will be a good fit. We can also discuss realistic and unrealistic expectations that may come with pet ownership. We will also advise you on how to socialize and teach/train your companion so that you both get a good “start.” If you already have a pet, we will give you advice on how to introduce your new addition to your family, so everyone gets along!

Latest Behavioral Medicine News and Stories

Amadeus Ramirez

We came to the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital because Amadeus was displaying human-directed aggression. Our first consultation was very thorough…