A look at the positive and negative indicators for anxiety and aggression treatment outcome.
Prognostic factors are an assumption, not a foretelling. While information can be gleaned from statistical groups, each patient functions in an individualized milieu of physiologic, genetic, and environmental factors. Each case must be evaluated individually because no two situations are identical. Broad generalizations should not be used to determine the value of an animal's life. Many cases have successful outcomes even though the case started with a long list of poor prognostic factors. Similarly, some cases appear to have an excellent prognosis on paper but end in a poor outcome. Admittedly, these prediction failures are frequently influenced most by the owner's lack of dedication to working with the animal.
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Factors that generally support a more positive prognosis are:
Relatively poor prognostic factors for anxiety disorders include:
Less favorable prognostic factors for aggression cases include:
A conundrum with aggression cases is that the only way to be 100% certain that an animal will bite is when the animal actually does bite. For this reason, we cannot test the success of the behavior program with biting as the measure. Similarly, it is unfair to the animal, the owner, and a potential victim to set up situations that purposely trigger barking, lunging, growling, hissing, swatting, or snapping to test the animal. That means the program's success must be measured in more subtle and, often, less definitive ways.