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Anxiety … The Amygdala Hijack!

Behaviour

Anxiety. Why is my pet anxious?

Anxiety is the anticipation of future danger that may be unknown, imagined, or real and can result in physiological responses similar to those associated with fear.

Unfortunately any behaviour that is driven by anxiety will only get worse with time and repeated exposure to its triggers, unless the underlying anxiety and emotional state caused by the triggers can be addressed. Anxiety is not based on rational thought.

Imagine how you feel when you are walking along a path and almost stand on a snake. You immediately react as your Amygdala (the emotional and primitive part of your brain) activates. You have jumped a good distance back, your heart is pounding and you haven’t even caught your breath yet … then you realise, it is just a stick!

This is the moment your Cortex (the rational, conscious and thinking part of your brain) takes back over, allowing your breath to return to normal and you can go on walking.

This is an example of an Amygdala hijack, when it overrides the rational thinking part of your brain. All mammals, birds and reptiles have an Amygdala that is programmed to help survival, the activation of the amygdala leads to life preserving behaviours generally one of Freeze, Fight or Flight. To keep things fairly simple, in an anxious brain, the amygdala is often more overly active than in a non-anxious brain, and the balance of neurochemicals controlling the brain’s activity differ from those in a calm, non-anxious individual. This cannot be a pleasant way to perceive the world!

CEREBRAL CORTEX Awareness, thought and memory

HYPOTHALAMUS Metabolic processes and appetite

AMYGDALA Regulates emotions

BASAL GANGLIA Motor skills and learning

HIPPOCAMPUS Memory and recall

BRAIN STEM Pain sensation, heart rate, blood pressure, reflex and muscle tone

If you are at all concerned about the behaviour of your pet, or you have noticed any change in your pet’s behaviour, then do not hesitate to book an appointment with your vet.

Your vet will be able to assess the physical health of your pet and detect any abnormalities that may be causing pain or discomfort and contributing to your pet’s behaviour.

After ruling out physical problems and collecting a history, your vet may be able to determine if your pet’s behaviour is something that may benefit from positive reinforcement-based training or something that needs a further work up to assess your pet’s mental health.

Depending on the severity of the problem your vet may give you some advice for management of the problem, ask you to come back for a longer consultation or refer you for a behavioural consultation.

Behaviour Bites with Dr Ash

Behaviour Bites

with Dr Ash Hargreaves

Hi my name is Ash and I am a vet practicing in Warrnambool in the western district of Victoria.

I am passionate about animal behaviour and the mental health of our pets.
After graduating as a vet in 2015 I completed further studies in veterinary behaviour and now provide behaviour consultations along with general practice.

You can follow me on my Pet Behaviour  Instagram account and Fur Life Vet on Facebook via the links below and stay tuned to the website for some super articles on pet behaviour.

How to enter

Simply share a photo on your Facebook page of your dog rugged up for winter or enjoying the winter sunshine and use the hashtag relevant to your state.

What you can win

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined prize. Each prize includes a winter pet pack to the value of $100.

Click on your state to reveal the hashtag you need to use to enter!

QLD Residents

Share a photo of your dog enjoying the winter sunshine or snoozing in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetQLD

VIC Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetVIC

NSW Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetNSW

TAS Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetTAS

Terms & Conditions

Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these conditions. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these conditions. Entries must comply with these conditions to be valid.

Entry is open to Australian residents that meet the competition requirements outlined below during the Competition period 1 June 2022 – 31 August 2022. Employees and their immediate families of the Promoter and its agencies associated with this competition are ineligible to enter.

To enter, each entrant must, during the Entry Period, upload a photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile) and use the hashtag corresponding to the state they are in (e.g. #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS).

Winner of the competition will be determined by:

  1. Appropriate photo uploaded (photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile)
  2. Relevant hashtag used (state residing in: #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS)
  3. Number of likes (photo with highest number of likes at end of competition period with all other criteria completed will win)

The competition will close for entries Wednesday, 31 August 2022 at 12:00pm [AEST]. Failure to meet any of the competition requirements will deem entry invalid and will not be eligible to win.

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined.

 

Competition requirements:

Entrants must be a current client of a participating Apiam/Fur Life Vet clinic.

Entries must be received by the Promoter during the Entry Period. Entries received after 12:00pm [AEST] 31 August 2022 not be accepted.

The competition commences at 00:01 [AEST] on 01/06/2022 and closes at 12:00 [AEDT] 31/08/2022.

Queensland prize includes a pet pack to the value of $100.00.

Victorian, New South Wales, and Tasmanian prize includes two separate pet packs to the value of $100.00.

All taxes (excluding GST) which may be payable as a consequence of receiving a prize are the sole responsibility of the winner.

The Prize is not transferable and is not redeemable for cash.

The Promoter assumes no responsibility for any failure to receive an entry or for inaccurate information or for any loss, damage or injury as a result of technical or telecommunications problems, including security breaches. If such problems arise, then the Promoter may modify, cancel, terminate or suspend the competition.

If the prize becomes unavailable for reasons beyond the Promoter’s control, the Promoter may substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

The winner will be notified by email on or by 10/09/2022.

Entrants consent to the Promoter using their name, images submitted, pets name, comment, and/or voice in the event that they are a winner in any media for an unlimited period of time without remuneration for the purpose of promoting this competition (including any outcome), as well as any other communications outside of this competition, and/or promoting any products manufactured, distributed and/or supplied by the Promoter. If you are not willing for these uses or disclosures to occur you cannot participate in the competition.

Further, entrants agree that the Promoter has an unrestricted, irrevocable, transferable, divisible right and licence to use and modify their entry for the purposes of the Promoter’s business including for promotional purposes without the payment of any further fee or compensation.

If requested by the Promoter, the entrant agrees to sign any further documentation required by the Promoter to give effect to this arrangement. To the extent permitted by law, entrants unconditionally and irrevocably consent to any act or omission that would otherwise infringe any moral rights in their entry. Entries remain the property of the Promoter. Details from entries will be collected and used for the purposes of conducting this competition (which may include disclosure to third parties for the purpose of processing and conducting the competition) and for promotional purposes surrounding this competition. By entering this competition entrants consent to the use of their information as described and agree that the Promoter may use this information, or disclose it to other organisations that may use it, in any media for future promotional purposes without any further reference or payment to the entrant.

By entering this competition, entrants consent for the Promoter to use entrant’s name, email address, phone number which entrants submitted to enter for the purposes of administering and operating the competition. Entry is conditional on the Promoter acquiring the aforementioned information. All personal information collected by the Promoter will be handled by the Promoter in accordance with the Promoter’s privacy policy (PRIVACY) Entrants have the right to access their personal information, request correction of any errors and/or obtain a copy of the Promoter’s privacy policy by contacting getvetchecked@furlifevet.com.au.

The Promoter is Apiam Animal Health Pty Limited (ACN: 604 961 024) at 27-33 Piper Lane East Bendigo, 3550, Victoria, Australia.

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