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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rufus goes to the vet.

Two articles in particular were helpful to me in developing an initial plan.

Feline Behavior Problems: Aggression (Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine)
Introduction to Feline Aggression (Petplace)

There are other sources you can find online. Most outline the most commonly identified forms and manifestations of feline aggression. Most furthermore say that the first thing you do when aggression starts to become a problem is take the aggressor to the vet for a full checkup and bloodwork to rule out a medical issue as the cause of the aggression.

So Rufus went to the vet.

He was given a full tactile physical - normal. His blood was drawn and analyzed - normal. His eyes were checked for any telltale signs of blood pressure anomalies, portosystemic shunt, or brain tumor - normal, normal, normal. The vet judged that the aggression was behavioral and not medical.

She discussed options with me. She was to the point - she said that she has never seen behavior modification alone succeed. She also has not seen medication only succeed. Rather, the best results come with a combination of medication and behavioral modification.

Enter fluoxetine, better known as kitty Prozac. Fluoxetine basically increases serotonin in the brain which facilitates better carriage of brain messages and has been known to decrease aggression in tandem with behavioral modification. Rufus' blood had to be tested for certain chemicals to ensure that fluoxetine would be safe for him.

In the meantime, my regular vet referred me to the Cornell Animal Behavior Clinic under their College of Veterinary Medicine. I filled out an extensive questionnaire - it wound up being a 14 page Word document. I scheduled a phone appointment with Dr. Julia Albright for last Thursday and sent the questionnaire to her in advance of the appointment.

I'll cover that conversation in detail in my next post.

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