Efficacy of clomipramine HCL in the treatment of feather picking disorder, with or without soft tissue mutilation, in cockatoo (Cacatua) species kept as companions
Seibert, Lynne Murray
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The objective of the study was to assess the efficacy of clomipramine for the treatment of feather picking disorder in otherwise healthy cockatoos (Cacatua species) using a double blind, placebo-controlled design. After screening for medical conditions, twenty cockatoos were randomly assigned to either clomipramine treatment or placebo groups. Subjects were given clomipramine or placebo by their caregivers at 3 mg/kg [1.4 mg/lb], PO, q 12 h for the 6-week trial period. In order to assess responses to treatment objectively, subjects were videotaped in a laboratory before starting medication to establish baseline preening behaviors. Videotaping was repeated at 3 and 6 weeks during the trial. Duration of preening, duration of stereotypic behaviors involving preening, feather removal, and oral manipulation of feathers were quantified. Caregivers gave progress assessments throughout the trial. Based on caregiver assessments, treatment with clomipramine significantly improved the feather picking problem when compared to placebo at 3 weeks (p = 0.028) and at 6 weeks (p = 0.021). However, there was no significant effect on duration of preening and abnormal preening behaviors recorded in the laboratory. Chronicity of the feather picking problem had no significant effect on improvement in the subjects that received clomipramine. Likewise, there was no difference in response to clomipramine between birds that mutilated soft tissue and birds that limited trauma to their feathers.