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The persistent and exaggerated fear of storms, or the stimuli associated with storms, is referred to as thunderstorm phobia. To treat this condition, your veterinarian should have some grasp of pathophysiology, as this phobia involves physiologic, emotional, and behavioral components.
Thunderstorm phobia occurs in both dogs and cats, but dogs are often more susceptible to this type of fear. If you would like to learn more about how this condition affects cats, please visit this page in the petMD health library.
Stimuli that elicit fear include rain, lightning thunder, strong winds, and possibly changes in barometric pressure and static electricity. This fear may then induce one of more of the following signs:
It may also affect some body systems in a variety of ways, including:
The exact cause of thunderstorm phobia is unknown, but it may include a combination of the following factors:
A veterinarian will rule out any conditions which can cause similar behavioral responses such as separation anxiety, barrier frustration, and noise phobias. Otherwise, they will conduct further tests to identify any conditions or abnormalities that may have arisen from effect of the fear to the thunderstorm.
It is important to avoid crate confinement, if you believe there is a risk of the cat injuring itself. Otherwise, there are forms of behavior modification or medication (e.g., antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs) that you can request from your veterinarian.
Please consult an expert before implementing these forms of behavior modification,as improper use of these exercises can worsen the condition.
If your cat is given medication, complete blood count (CBC) and biochemistry profiles should be monitored by your veterinarian periodically. Prognosis depends on severity, duration, and the cat's ability to avoid injuries. However, the condition may worsen if left untreated.
Anything that produces an action or reaction
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