Canine compulsive disorder (CCD) is an anxiety-related disorder defined as the display of repetitive behaviour in an unusual context. This maladaptive behaviour is treated with drug therapy, such as SSRIs and TCAs, behaviour modification, or both in combination. Research revealed that pharmacological therapy appears to dominate treatment of CCD which, given the concerns associated with long-term drug use, raises serious questions about using such treatments as the primary approach. It is reasoned that given the lack of potential side effects, preferred primary treatment would consist of non-pharmacological therapy, with the introduction of drug therapy if necessary. This review aimed to explore these three treatment options and discuss the reasoning for the relative lack of non-pharmacological CCD research. Literature was systematically searched following PRISMA guidelines, using EBSCOhost. A total of 16 papers, published between 2000 and 2021, matched the search criteria. Research focused predominantly on drug treatment alone, or in combination with behaviour modification, with fluoxetine and clomipramine most frequently prescribed. Reported side effects varied considerably, but included lethargy and decreased appetite. Owner compliance to implementation of behaviour modification programmes correlated insignificantly with improvement in clinical symptoms. Comparison of the efficacy of different treatment types was difficult due to the diversity in research design and the subsequent lack of standardized procedures. Further research following a standardized, double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled design is required, exploring the sole use of behaviour modification and linking diagnosis to treatment.
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