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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 Debi Blonjeaux, Community Member, asks

Q: Can a dog have schizophrenia. Something not quite right with my dog. Need answers

My dog for the passed 2 days has been standing on his hind legs snapping at imaginary bugs.  There is nothing there.  I've looked.  Not only in one room but in all the rooms in the house.  My female just looks at him.  She will be right beside him and he starts with this behavior.  My dog does have a problem with anxiety.  He screams like a banchie all the time.  Hoping that there is someone out there that knows something.  Please this is for real. 

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Answers (3)
Christina Bruni, Health Guide
5/29/10 11:47am

Hello Debi,


The first responder gave you the best advice.


I feel this is rightly a question for the veterinarian who is schooled in treating animals.  Your dog might also have some kind of involuntarily movement disorder which would then be quite different from schizophrenia.


Dogs have been diagnosed with depression by the way however I would hesitate to call this behavior schizophrenia.


If it continues please consult a veterinarian.


Best regards,


Donna-1, Community Member
5/27/10 9:48pm

Well, it IS an interesting question.  I, too, have wondered whether other animals can have schizophrenia besides humans.  But it would have to be defined in a different manner since we cannot know whether a dog is having hallucinations when he snaps at the air or whether it is a dog disease of the brain.  Everyone has heard the phrase "mad dog" and there are certainly vicious animals, but are they really psychotic or do they perhaps have rabies?  Just as many human ailments can appear to be mental illness rather than a disease process, and vice versa, I guess the same might be done with a dog.  But as far as racing thoughts, blunt affect, and other positive symptoms, you must agree it would be difficult if not impossible to verify these in a dog or other pet.  However, animals can certainly have personalities of their own...and eccentricities.

carbonatedjello, Community Member
5/31/10 5:00pm

My yellow lab used to do the same thing in the summer. At the time we wondered if he was going crazy too. He wasn't, he just had allergies and was extremely itchy. I think he felt like bugs were bitting him and therefore he snapped at things that weren't there. Is your dog bitting at himself or scratching himself a lot? If that's the case I bet it's the same thing especially considering that allergy season has just started. If it is allergies your vet could prescribe some medication for it. Allergy meds helped our dog a lot.

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By Debi Blonjeaux, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/26/11, First Published: 05/26/10