NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More and more these days, veterinarians see pets suffering from the same illnesses that humans do, such as cancer and kidney disease. Now, some dogs and cats are even being diagnosed with depression.
Christina Shusterich, a dog behavior expert, told CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson that dogs can indeed suffer from depression — and there are signs.READ MORE: New York City Rolls Out $100 Incentive For Getting Vaccinated As CDC Report Warns Delta Variant As Contagious As Chicken Pox
“Their eating habits can change,” she said. “Their sleeping habits can change. But also, there’s a real sense of the dog being sort of shut down.”
A veterinarian suggested the owner of Judah, a 4-year-old dog, call a behaviorist. Shusterich uses a series of tasks to help Judah gain more enjoyment out of life.
“What makes a dog’s tail wag is not funneling treats in her mouth, but praise,” Shusterich said. “So as they’re performing these jobs, we’re going to be heavily, heavily praising them.”
While the activities may seem simple, they help Judah gain confidence to get back to her old self.
Depression can be a very real issue for cats, too.
Lori Lawnsby said the behavior exhibited by her cat, Christmas, became so troubling she called cat behaviorist Carole Wilbourn.
“He just looked very withdrawn and wasn’t making eye contact,” Lawnsby said.READ MORE: Broadway Vaccine Mandate: Audiences Must Be Vaccinated And Masked; Performers, Crew And Staff Required To Be Vaccinated
Wilbourn’s approach to helping depressed cats includes a healthy dose of patience and affection — for both the pets and the owners.
“I help the people, the guardians help the cats, and the cats help the people,” Wilbourn said.
As Christmas finds his way back from depression, his owner can breath easy, too.
“You know your animals just like you know other people you live with,” Lawnsby said. “You can see when things are going on.”
Animal experts say that it takes prolonged periods for depressed behavior to settle in before a pet can be diagnosed with the condition.
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
[display-posts category=”news” posts_per_page=”4″]MORE NEWS: Man Suffers Broken Nose In Alleged Anti-Asian Attack At Midtown Subway Station
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)