Effects of clomipramine hydrochloride on dominance-related aggression in dogs

Marilyn M. White, Jacqueline C. Neilson, Benjamin Hart, Kelly D. Cliff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective - To compare effects of the serotonergic drug clomipramine hydrochloride with those of placebo for treatment of dominance-related aggression in dogs. Design - Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Animals - 28 neutered dogs > 1 year old with dominance- related aggression. Procedure - Dogs displaying ≥ 3 aggressive episodes/wk toward ≥ 1 human family member in response to identifiable behavioral triggers were included in the study. Owners were instructed not to change patterns of interaction with their dogs during the study. After 2 weeks of baseline observations, dogs were treated for 6 weeks with clomipramine (1.5 mg/kg [0.7 mg/lb] of body weight, q 12 h; n = 15) or placebo (13). Responses to triggers were assigned the following aggression scores: no response, 0; growl or lip curl, 1; snap or bite, 2. Mean scores for responses to triggers were obtained during the 2-week pretreatment period (baseline) and during the first and second weeks, third and fourth weeks, and fifth and sixth weeks of treatment. At the end of the study, owners assigned a score designed to evaluate their overall perceived change in aggressiveness; this was referred to as the global score. Results - Mean aggression scores decreased at the fifth and sixth week of treatment in both groups, compared with baseline scores. However, mean scores between groups were not different. Global scores, assigned by the owner, generally reflected changes in mean aggression scores. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Compared with placebo, clomipramine administered to dogs at the dosage recommended for treatment of separation anxiety did not reduce aggressiveness toward human family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1288-1291
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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