(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from the University of Ghent have found changes in the brains of anxious dogs that are characteristic of people with anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders in people are diverse, but they are usually characterized by high levels of fear, emotional sensitivity, and negative expectations.
In dogs, anxiety manifests as anxiety, fear, and mild agitation. In the study, researchers compared the brains of healthy dogs and anxious dogs using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
The researchers found that there are indeed significant differences between anxious and calm dogs.
At the same time, the more the anxious dog’s brain differed from the norm, the stronger were the manifestations of anxiety.
For example, many dogs had more active areas of the brain associated with fear processing.
This indicates that the animal brain has a lot of experience in dealing with fear. Owners of dogs with these changes noted an increased fear of animals in front of strangers and dogs.
The researchers also found that anxious dogs had less efficient connections between two areas of the brain important for learning and information processing.
This may explain why owners of anxious dogs reported lower learning ability in their pets.
The sample size was neither large nor diverse enough to generalize the study findings to all dogs.
However, the results show strong evidence for measurable differences in the brains of anxious and healthy dogs. This will help develop more effective treatments in the future.
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