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Thread: Mental illness in animals.

  1. #1 Mental illness in animals. 
    Forum Professor scoobydoo1's Avatar
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    I wasn't sure whether to start this thread in the Biology or Behaviour and Psychology subforums, but since I'm more curious about the physiological aspect for now, I guess this is the right place. Perhaps the moderators may consider moving it around depending on how the thread develops.

    ---------------------------------

    Since my studies were only focused primarily on the human aspect of the subject, I wasn't sure if other animals exhibit similar afflictions of mental disorders that we have. I would appreciate it greatly if someone were to point me in the right direction in search of articles on the subject, and if possible, investigations into the physiological causes that accompanies them in animals. Only depression and rabies comes to mind no matter how hard I try to recall ever reading any material on this.


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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    In my experience with animals, both domestic and wild, I have encountered some unusual behaviors, many of which are attributable to human intervention and some which appear to be congenital. I would expect these manifestations to be more limited in the wild if they interfere with the animal's ability to survive. They seem to appear more often in domestic species because humans may inadvertently select for and reinforce these traits. We also do not always understand the consequences of what we are subjecting our animal companions to in our expectations of 'training' them for purposes specific to our needs and desires.

    PTSD is well-documented among American servicemen and women returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but its existence in animals is less clear-cut. Some veterinarians say animals do experience it, or a version of it.

    "There is a condition in dogs which is almost precisely the same, if not precisely the same, as PTSD in humans," said Nicholas Dodman, head of the animal behavior program at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
    Dodman said he doubts Gina can recover completely.

    "It's a fact that fears once learned are never unlearned," Dodman said. "The best thing you can do is apply new learning, which is what (Gina's handlers are) doing," he said.
    Animal PTSD? Military dog comes home from Iraq traumatized | National & World News | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News


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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Containment itself can be problematical for many animals and it is speculated that the more intelligent the species, the greater the incidence of problems. No matter how 'kindly' we treat creatures in containment, the environment they are in is so far removed from a 'natural' life and whether we care to admit it or not, we are but benevelent captors.

    All 40 zoo chimps displayed some form of abnormal behavior, according to the researchers. The chimps would poke at their own eyes and other body parts, bang themselves against surfaces, pull out their hair, pace, drink urine, and do other things not associated with wild chimpanzee populations.

    All of the study chimps were "kept in what are often considered the best captive conditions," Newton-Fisher said, explaining that the primates are "socially housed, fed a varied diet according to a varied schedule, provided with environmental enrichment" and more.
    While other studies demonstrate that improving the environment for captive chimpanzees can help to reduce behavioral concerns, zoo confinement itself appears to be inherently problematic for these intelligent animals.
    Great Ape Trust scientist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, however, suggests that zoos need to pay more attention to the mental health of their chimp charges.

    "Efforts to improve captive welfare in apes have focused upon the need for social companions, adequate cage space, fresh fruits and vegetables, variety in the diet, and some type of enrichment," Savage-Rumbaugh explained.
    Zoo Chimps' Mental Health Affected by Captivity : Discovery News

    Even with horses, a species that has co-existed with ours in domesticity for many thousands of years, 'behavior problems' are exceedingly common. While some of these problems are physical in nature, a response to ill-fitting equipment or pain caused by an unskilled rider, a number of problems are psychological. While most of these animals can be retrained, a behavior once learned can never be fully eradicated and such a 'problem animal' becomes very limited as to the options available for it as one can never predict when something will 'trigger' a relapse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    In my experience with animals, both domestic and wild, I have encountered some unusual behaviors, many of which are attributable to human intervention and some which appear to be congenital. I would expect these manifestations to be more limited in the wild if they interfere with the animal's ability to survive. They seem to appear more often in domestic species because humans may inadvertently select for and reinforce these traits. We also do not always understand the consequences of what we are subjecting our animal companions to in our expectations of 'training' them for purposes specific to our needs and desires.

    Animal PTSD? Military dog comes home from Iraq traumatized | National & World News | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News
    I never knew animals can be afflicted with disorders similar to PTSD, but there was something in the article that caught my eye.

    Quote Originally Posted by DAN ELLIOTT
    But Haynes said they're careful not to let their affection interfere with good training. Treating Gina like a human - for example, comforting her when she's frightened - can leave her thinking that her handler is pleased when she's afraid.

    Scheherazade
    ; you've worked with horses firsthand, have you ever encountered anything similar?
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    A good friend of mine had owned a parakeet for over 12 years and the bird was very well cared for. The couple had owned several exotic birds for years and built a special 'bird room addition' on to their home with controlled lighting, humidity and exercise space. Each bird had it's own large cage and plenty of time at liberty in this large room while the little parakeet enjoyed even greater liberties, riding around on her owner's shoulder and sitting with her while she read or watched television.

    Life was perfect until the little bird began to self-mutilate herself. The owner spent a queen's ransome trying to resolve the problem, including flying the bird to a Vet 2000 miles away twice, where the problem cleared up both times and began again when the bird returned home.

    To this day, I am of the opinion that the problem was a psychological response to the difficulties between my friend and her husband which ended in tragic circumstances, the gentleman lost in a fatal single vehicle accident nearly three years ago.

    My friend was diagnosed with a rare allergic condition soon after that was aggravated by dander and feathers and was forced to find new homes for all of the birds. The little parakeet went south and her mysterious self mutilation ended as abruptly as it had started.
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    I never knew animals can be afflicted with disorders similar to PTSD, but there was something in the article that caught my eye.

    Quote Originally Posted by DAN ELLIOTT
    But Haynes said they're careful not to let their affection interfere with good training. Treating Gina like a human - for example, comforting her when she's frightened - can leave her thinking that her handler is pleased when she's afraid.

    Scheherazade
    ; you've worked with horses firsthand, have you ever encountered anything similar?[/QUOTE]

    Absolutely!

    The majority of horse problems are people problems and the horse becomes anxious about precisely the same things which make the human nervous. If the rider becomes tense and apprehensive when an ATV approaches, as example, the horse will sense the tightening of their body and legs and correctly interpret this as a fear response and soon you will have a horse that is nervous and wanting to escape at the sound of such vehicle in response to reinforcement by the rider.

    If the rider places the horse in a safe position to the approaching vehicle, standing still and calm facing the 'monster' as it approaches and passes, the rider reinforces awareness rather than apprehension and before long they can safely pass with a safety zone maintained between them. The problem one encounters is that persons operating vehicles of this nature are often unaware of other users on the trail because of visual and hearing restrictions imposed by safety helmets. Helmets are also used by horseback riders but they are of a different configuration and do not interfere with hearing and sight.

    Likewise, if your horse refuses to jump over an obstacle or shies at an object on the trail, if you pet the horse and murmur verbal reassurances, you have just encouraged the horse to repeat the behavior. A non-response is always preferable to this while one reviews the reasons why your horse is giving you this avoidance. Address the reasons behind the horse's concern and the problem will resolve easily. Horses are not willfully malicious and most really prefer to follow a reliable herd leader.
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    Animals live in a world much the same as humans do. Although we may not want to admit it, we give the same diagnosis to animals as we do humans; we even use them to test our scientific experiments. The animals learn from humans as we learn from them. I have seen animals try to commit suicide; do they know they can escape suffering through death? This is an Interesting observation.
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    Animal PTSD.

    I would have thought the observations of rescue shelter staff for neglected and abused animals would be useful here. When you see dogs or horses cowering or shivering in fear when they hear certain noises or when approached by someone carrying a newspaper or a stick or even, sometimes, any man or any woman, we might not have called it PTSD in the past, but that's what it is. And we have a pretty good idea of who and what was responsible for their condition.

    A lot of these animals can't be rehomed because their aggressive or fearful responses make them unmanageable.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    This item appears to be of interest to this thread...

    Animal Study Suggests Link Between Binge Eating and Other Addictive Behaviors
    By Join Together Staff
    April 25, 2012

    A study of rats suggests a link between binge eating and the development of other addictive behaviors.
    The researchers, from Penn State College of Medicine, note substance abuse is common in people who engage in binge eating, PsychCentral reports. “Substance abuse and binge eating are both characterized by a loss of control over consumption,” said lead researcher Patricia Sue Grigson, PhD. “Given the common characteristics of these two types of disorders, it is not surprising that the co-occurrence of eating disorders and substance abuse disorders is high. It is unknown, however, whether loss of control in one disorder predisposes an individual to loss of control in another.”
    Dr. Grigson divided the rats into four diet groups: normal chow, continuous access to optional dietary fat, one hour of access to optional dietary fat daily, and one hour of access to dietary fat three days a week. The researchers then assessed the rats’ cocaine seeking and using behavior.
    Rats that only had access to fat three days a week developed binge-eating behavior. This group tended to use more cocaine, tried to get the drug when it was not available and worked harder to get the drug, compared with the other rats.
    The rats that had continuous access to fat ate more fat than any other group, but were three times less likely to show addictive behaviors than the rats that only could eat fat three days a week.
    “While the underlying mechanisms are not known, one point is clear from behavioral data: A history of bingeing on fat changed the brain, physiology, or both in a manner that made these rats more likely to seek and take a drug when tested more than a month later,” Dr. Grigson said in a news release.
    Her study, published in Behavioral Neuroscience, suggests that conditions that promote excessive behavior toward one substance can increase the odds of excessive behavior toward another, the article notes.
    Animal Study Suggests Link Between Binge Eating and Other Addictive Behaviors | The Partnership at Drugfree.org
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    And then, of course, there's all the aberrant behaviours of animals mistreated - or "merely" incorrectly housed and managed - in zoos.

    What is Zoochosis?

    A number of symptoms can suggest that an animal is suffering from a psychological problem. As a general rule, multiple abnormal behaviors in any animal are used as indicators to suggest that the animal is experiencing difficulties, and these behaviors vary, depending on the species. Rocking, swaying, self mutilation, excessive licking, bar biting, pacing, circling, chewing, and neck twisting
    scoobydoo1 and scheherazade like this.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    When an animal gets sick we humans relate the illness to our own ailments. If we know the animal has a brain, it is quite normal to think it can develop mental illnesses.
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    it is quite normal to think it can develop mental illnesses.
    Why wouldn't it?
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    I read a book-fiction several years ago about modern day Illuminati. In which a guy trained mina birds to say "here kitty kitty", then released them in central park.
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    Earlier in this thread, Stargate mentioned suicide in relation to animals. Personally, I have not observed this behavior in the species that I work with but I came across an interesting item, the following being an excerpt from it.

    The idea that animals could actually be very good models for human suicide started to take root in the 20th century, said Edmund Ramsden, one of the study's authors.
    If animals can be deliberately self-destructive, they could also then help us to better understand the same behaviors in humans, argue the study's authors, Ramsden, of the University of Exeter in the U.K. and Duncan Wilson of the University of Manchester.
    "You begin to challenge the definition of suicide. The body and mind are so damaged by stress and so it leads to self destruction. It's not necessarily even a choice," he said.
    There are many stories of animal suicide dating back centuries. In 1845, for example, the Illustrated London News reported a "Singular Case of Suicide" involving a "fine, handsome and valuable black dog, of the Newfoundland species." The dog had for days been acting less lively than usual, but then was seen "to throw himself in the water and endeavor to sink by preserving perfect stillness of the legs and feet."
    The dog was rescued and tied up. But as soon as he was released he entered the water again and tried to sink himself. This occurred several times until at last the dog appeared to tire and "by dint of keeping his head determinedly under water for a few minutes, succeeded at last in obtaining his object, for when taken out this time he was indeed dead."
    I don't know if the OP was thinking of insects when posting this thread, but they too have been observed to behave in suicidal fashion...

    Pea aphids, for instance, when threatened by a lady bug can explode themselves, scattering and protecting their brethren and sometimes even killing the lady bug. They are literally tiny suicide bombers, Joiner told Discovery News.
    Animal suicide sheds light on human behavior - Technology & science - Science - DiscoveryNews.com | NBC News
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    it is quite normal to think it can develop mental illnesses.
    Why wouldn't it?
    Some people do not like to hear when one says they can hear the animals speak, although we humans interpret everything with our definition. I went to a zoo and a great gorilla looked at me and told me it wanted to leave. I was so shocked and frightened because it kept looking at me and would not stop,it felt as if I heard his voice. I have never gone back to a zoo since.
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    psych study from long ago
    rats led to expect ---press the blue button get food, press the red button get shocked, press the white button get water
    then randomize the buttons so the poor rat has no control red button = food blue = water, white = food, then randomize again

    the rats who thought they could control their food water, etc when placed in a pool would tread water for 12 hours or more
    the rats who had suffered the randomization and thought that it didn't matter what they did, they had no control, when placed in a pool would give up and just drown in under one hour.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    I wasn't sure whether to start this thread in the Biology or Behaviour and Psychology subforums, but since I'm more curious about the physiological aspect for now, I guess this is the right place. Perhaps the moderators may consider moving it around depending on how the thread develops.

    ---------------------------------

    Since my studies were only focused primarily on the human aspect of the subject, I wasn't sure if other animals exhibit similar afflictions of mental disorders that we have. I would appreciate it greatly if someone were to point me in the right direction in search of articles on the subject, and if possible, investigations into the physiological causes that accompanies them in animals. Only depression and rabies comes to mind no matter how hard I try to recall ever reading any material on this.
    There are cases of animals with Down-syndrom. But that is genetics. So specifically mental disorders? There are alot of human mental disorders.

    One specific animal subject that comes to my mind,... are animals that have lived in to small cages for many years. Those have shown to show clear signs of distress,... like the (in)famous rocking left to right, or walking the same area in their cage. Animals taken away from these environments have shown on various occasions to improve and better them selves.

    The problem with animals, in the case of mental stress, is that we can not ask them about their conditions. So we can only conclude their mental stress based on our own observations.

    It is an interresting question, and a difficult one. But so long as we consider ourselves still the only self aware creatures walking this planet (an opinion I disagree on), and still have a hard time measuring intellectual capacity of ourselves and animals,... this will be a tuff one.

    One interresting thing comes to mind. I recently saw the documentary Blackfish which tells the story about Tilikum, the Seaworld Killerwhale which has been alleged to have killed several humans. Though you already mentioned 'depression'.. and this may be the cause of his actions,... it is an interresting documentary in light of your question:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2545118/

    Because why do some of these Killerwhales do kill, and some not?

    Perhaps we simply all name it 'depression'... because we have no means to communicate with them and figure out how this individual animal brain works,...

    May it not be possible that a specific animal can have many kinds of mentil disorders, which we humans simply name 'depression'?

    Is the diagnoses wrong?... Or do we simply lack the ability to measure their disorders?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post

    May it not be possible that a specific animal can have many kinds of mentil disorders, which we humans simply name 'depression'?

    Is the diagnoses wrong?... Or do we simply lack the ability to measure their disorders?
    I believe the term 'depression' when applied to animals is a very general term used to describe an observed decrease in appetite, activity and interactions. These symptoms can indicate a passing physical disease (e.g. most species get their own variant of influenza which is not the same as or transferable to humans) while in the absence of any observable symptoms of disease, one next looks to other causes. Animals form strong relationships of association within their own kind as well as some enduring inter-species relationships.

    When these relationships are terminated or changed, many animals become quite distressed and display previously uncharacteristic behaviors. In dogs and horses I have observed some noticeably 'co-dependent' relationships and I have always looked for animals that display both confidence and curiosity in me for these I have found to be animals that are easier to teach and that accept change more readily.

    There are few things less enjoyable than riding a horse that neighs in anxiety for the whole 45 minutes away from the sight of the rest of the herd.

    While it can be very challenging to identify the source of an animal's distress, on those occasions where one does succeed in resolving an issue, the reward is well worth the effort. Unfortunately, many animals become dangerous to themselves or others and cannot be safely rehabilitated, leaving only one possible recourse. The saddest part is that in many of these situations, humans are the cause of the problems that lead to this sad outcome.
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    Anecdotally I get the impression cats' brains vary a lot at birth. A single litter produces a wide range of personalities and levels of intelligence.Meanwhile dogs seem pretty consistent to their breed, but are quite socially impressionable.

    I'm guessing that in case of cats, having diverse offspring is a good reproductive strategy, even if it means a few will be ineffectual spazzes or drooling retards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    And then, of course, there's all the aberrant behaviours of animals mistreated - or "merely" incorrectly housed and managed - in zoos.

    What is Zoochosis?

    A number of symptoms can suggest that an animal is suffering from a psychological problem. As a general rule, multiple abnormal behaviors in any animal are used as indicators to suggest that the animal is experiencing difficulties, and these behaviors vary, depending on the species. Rocking, swaying, self mutilation, excessive licking, bar biting, pacing, circling, chewing, and neck twisting
    Interesting.

    I remember reading something similar observed in humans. Some form of temporary psychosis, perhaps ganser syndrome?
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    I don't know if the OP was thinking of insects when posting this thread, but they too have been observed to behave in suicidal fashion...

    Pea aphids, for instance, when threatened by a lady bug can explode themselves, scattering and protecting their brethren and sometimes even killing the lady bug. They are literally tiny suicide bombers, Joiner told Discovery News.
    Animal suicide sheds light on human behavior - Technology & science - Science - DiscoveryNews.com | NBC News
    Actually, I did in-fact wondered if insects exhibited behaviour akin to that of mental disorders, but have yet to expand my search to include them due to difficulties faced when attempting to locate materials on animals alone.
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    not as it doesn't direct influence cell like tumor or some viruses...
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    Wasn't this supposed to be about mental illness in animals?

    Animals have a less sophisticated brain than a human. Also instinctual there are lower odds for mental diseases. Combine with that the fact that animals won't care for their offspring like humans, and would most likely abandon an animal who can't keep up with the herd.

    We won't see mental illness in animals, because they react to our behavior when observed. It is almost impossible to determine by this if an animal has a mental disease. Apart from the life threatening ones, were they are left by the herd.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Animals have a less sophisticated brain than a human.
    I had actually suspected that the difference in brain structure may have played a factor in us having observed lesser variety of mental disorders in animals. Any thoughts on that? Are there differences in fundamental brain chemistry between us and other animals that may have been an additional factor?
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    but than again it is maybe definition of the mental illness... fear (I don't see as mental illness..) and I don't believe in depression
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    There could be an argument that the mental processes in animals are relative and could be compared to the brain function of humans on a different level. I am not sure we can say we are superior in thinking because the animals don't follow the same pattern as humans. Brain is brain and both is susceptible to disease and disorder. Some scientist say we are part human and part animal, I am not sure we have enough information to specifically differentiate that. Are animals used to test medication for human mental disease?
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    Animals have a less sophisticated brain than a human
    Is this really true, or is it just different?
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    My horses are quite intelligent creatures and they are observably more content and articulate same by soft blowings and vocalizations when I am able to spend more time with them, even just tending the daily yard chores. I had one mare in particular who was very interesting.

    I used to give riding instruction and would be teaching a few students various basic techniques from the ground and at such times I did not need to be on a horse so my mare would be standing tied to the hitching rail a short distance away while I directed proceedings in the training arena.

    She did not like to be left out and she would make a fuss of squeaking, whickering and wriggling until I would go and get her and just have her standing beside me while I directed the group. She would stand like a rock, quietly licking her lips (another indication of relaxation in a horse) for the whole lesson, even several lessons.
    She was the closest I have ever come to owning a one-person horse.

    From what I have been reading, it is the more intelligent animals that have been observed showing symptoms similar to mental illness in humans, especially when they are deprived of social interaction with their species and external stimulation. Life in the wild is continuous stimulation as for many species, it is eat or be eaten. The struggle for survival seems to be almost a catalyst for health in some respects.

    It begs the question if much of the mental distress we observe today is because many humans are likewise in containment not of their choosing and deprived of many of the opportunities, including the challenges, that were faced by our forebears. Certainly there are plenty of opportunities and challenges today but there are less physical venues for many and we retain the need for physical as well as mental stimulation for optimum health, at least at this stage in our evolution.

    Sorry...got off on a bit of a tangent there...
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    Hmm,

    If a dog had schizophrenia would it be likely to believe it was a dog, or perhaps a cat?


    Cannot discover how many prescriptions for Prozac are issued each year



    Fluoxetine Treats a Range of Behavioral Issues in Animals
    Last edited by wonderingstar; October 16th, 2013 at 12:42 PM.
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    Hmm,<br><br>If a dog had schizophrenia would it be likely believe it was a dog, or perhaps a cat?
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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderingstar View Post
    Hmm,

    If a dog had schizophrenia would it be likely believe it was a dog, or perhaps a cat?
    There are other possibilities...

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    I think there is a sort of egotistic stance in humans wanting to be the dominant species, or even the only intelligent species in the universe. I am almost sure if we started studying the animals we would find so much to compare with humans in terms of intelligence. If we ask ourselves what is the animals thinking, it would lead to what we humans are thinking about the world we live in.
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    Yes indeed.
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    Yes indeed, there are so many possiblities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Animals have a less sophisticated brain than a human.
    I had actually suspected that the difference in brain structure may have played a factor in us having observed lesser variety of mental disorders in animals. Any thoughts on that? Are there differences in fundamental brain chemistry between us and other animals that may have been an additional factor?
    My thoughts are that animals in the wild will not survive if their brain or body functions put them at a disadvantage for their species.

    I would suggest that 'mental illness' in animals does exist and that it is largely the result of human intervention. Human codependency is quite observable and many, many humans transfer to animals the emotional relationships that one would expect them to have with other humans. Most humans are also incredibly inconsistent in their conduct and expectations which leads to confusion on the part of the animals involved.

    Within any of the species I have observed, the greatest expectation is consistency in behavior. Horses test and reaffirm their hierarchy several times a day, whereas canines may only need to sort it out once until something changes the dynamics of the group such as the addition or removal of one of it's members. All change requires a realignment of order.

    The difference in brain chemistry as I can perceive it is that humans live largely in their minds while animals are more attuned to their immediate world. Animals are aware of how inconsistent we are yet most humans do not perceive themselves in this manner. People do not understand how they come across from the animal's point of view.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    I think there is a sort of egotistic stance in humans wanting to be the dominant species, or even the only intelligent species in the universe. I am almost sure if we started studying the animals we would find so much to compare with humans in terms of intelligence. If we ask ourselves what is the animals thinking, it would lead to what we humans are thinking about the world we live in.
    animals don't think more than eating hunting hiding... just like our human anchestors did.. im sorry and mating
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    I think there is a sort of egotistic stance in humans wanting to be the dominant species, or even the only intelligent species in the universe. I am almost sure if we started studying the animals we would find so much to compare with humans in terms of intelligence. If we ask ourselves what is the animals thinking, it would lead to what we humans are thinking about the world we live in.
    animals don't think more than eating hunting hiding... just like our human anchestors did.. im sorry and mating
    Sorry to disagree, blackscorp.

    Animals continually surprise me by just how much they do comprehend and then manner in which they are able to communicate.

    I recall when the bung on one of the water tanks rusted through and all of the water drained out of the tank. I had just filled it the day before so I neglected to check it for 24 hours, thinking it had plenty of water for an interval. I was inside the house and I heard a rhythmic thumping sound which I looked out the window to investigate. My mare was standing beside the tank and bumping it with her foot, which is not that remarkable as pawing is one sign of impatience in the horse. What was interesting is that she was staring right at the house while she was doing this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    I think there is a sort of egotistic stance in humans wanting to be the dominant species, or even the only intelligent species in the universe. I am almost sure if we started studying the animals we would find so much to compare with humans in terms of intelligence. If we ask ourselves what is the animals thinking, it would lead to what we humans are thinking about the world we live in.
    animals don't think more than eating hunting hiding... just like our human anchestors did.. im sorry and mating
    Sorry to disagree, blackscorp.

    Animals continually surprise me by just how much they do comprehend and then manner in which they are able to communicate.

    I recall when the bung on one of the water tanks rusted through and all of the water drained out of the tank. I had just filled it the day before so I neglected to check it for 24 hours, thinking it had plenty of water for an interval. I was inside the house and I heard a rhythmic thumping sound which I looked out the window to investigate. My mare was standing beside the tank and bumping it with her foot, which is not that remarkable as pawing is one sign of impatience in the horse. What was interesting is that she was staring right at the house while she was doing this.
    whater animals do how smart they are... they all do it for food (or in this case water...) its like playing with a cat... cat plays for hunting mouses... each game cat plays its to improve hunting skills...
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    I think there is a sort of egotistic stance in humans wanting to be the dominant species, or even the only intelligent species in the universe. I am almost sure if we started studying the animals we would find so much to compare with humans in terms of intelligence. If we ask ourselves what is the animals thinking, it would lead to what we humans are thinking about the world we live in.
    animals don't think more than eating hunting hiding... just like our human anchestors did.. im sorry and mating
    Sorry to disagree, blackscorp.

    Animals continually surprise me by just how much they do comprehend and then manner in which they are able to communicate.

    I recall when the bung on one of the water tanks rusted through and all of the water drained out of the tank. I had just filled it the day before so I neglected to check it for 24 hours, thinking it had plenty of water for an interval. I was inside the house and I heard a rhythmic thumping sound which I looked out the window to investigate. My mare was standing beside the tank and bumping it with her foot, which is not that remarkable as pawing is one sign of impatience in the horse. What was interesting is that she was staring right at the house while she was doing this.
    whater animals do how smart they are... they all do it for food (or in this case water...) its like playing with a cat... cat plays for hunting mouses... each game cat plays its to improve hunting skills...
    I agree with you in that animals have a purpose for the things they do.

    Now what makes you think that humans are that much different save that our evolved form (thumbs, walking upright etc.) has enabled us to manipulate our environment in ways that most animals cannot?

    My personal theory is that humans are merely a vector for bacteria and viruses to evolve and expand. I'm only half kidding. How else would bacteria possibly get off this planet and perhas have opportunity to colonize another?

    Perhaps mental illness is the delusion that our species has in regard to our status in the universe.

    From that perspective, no animal suffers from mental illness of that nature, so far as we might be able to determine. We are woefully limited in our present means of accurately determining what animals may think and experience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    I think there is a sort of egotistic stance in humans wanting to be the dominant species, or even the only intelligent species in the universe. I am almost sure if we started studying the animals we would find so much to compare with humans in terms of intelligence. If we ask ourselves what is the animals thinking, it would lead to what we humans are thinking about the world we live in.
    animals don't think more than eating hunting hiding... just like our human anchestors did.. im sorry and mating
    Sorry to disagree, blackscorp.

    Animals continually surprise me by just how much they do comprehend and then manner in which they are able to communicate.

    I recall when the bung on one of the water tanks rusted through and all of the water drained out of the tank. I had just filled it the day before so I neglected to check it for 24 hours, thinking it had plenty of water for an interval. I was inside the house and I heard a rhythmic thumping sound which I looked out the window to investigate. My mare was standing beside the tank and bumping it with her foot, which is not that remarkable as pawing is one sign of impatience in the horse. What was interesting is that she was staring right at the house while she was doing this.
    whater animals do how smart they are... they all do it for food (or in this case water...) its like playing with a cat... cat plays for hunting mouses... each game cat plays its to improve hunting skills...
    I agree with you in that animals have a purpose for the things they do.

    Now what makes you think that humans are that much different save that our evolved form (thumbs, walking upright etc.) has enabled us to manipulate our environment in ways that most animals cannot?

    My personal theory is that humans are merely a vector for bacteria and viruses to evolve and expand. I'm only half kidding. How else would bacteria possibly get off this planet and perhas have opportunity to colonize another?

    Perhaps mental illness is the delusion that our species has in regard to our status in the universe.

    From that perspective, no animal suffers from mental illness of that nature, so far as we might be able to determine. We are woefully limited in our present means of accurately determining what animals may think and experience.
    well we don't differ that much for sure not if you look at us till 2500 years ago... and especialy last 50 years we see remarkable mental disses into humans... for African tribes suicide is probably unknown... the last 50 years humans got to much food to easy life on some cases that it becomes hard... so we started to use and do other things than to think only about food... and mating... now we wont more nice car nice house nice animals nice holidays nice tv nice clothes shoes whatever... so we are one step further... but again it all about definition of mental illness..
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    I think there is a sort of egotistic stance in humans wanting to be the dominant species, or even the only intelligent species in the universe. I am almost sure if we started studying the animals we would find so much to compare with humans in terms of intelligence. If we ask ourselves what is the animals thinking, it would lead to what we humans are thinking about the world we live in.

    animals don't think more than eating hunting hiding... just like our human anchestors did.. im sorry and mating
    I have had animals that mourned the death of their loved ones. I am sure an animal did not tell you that, or did they? I burnt a cat of mine that was run over by a car, the father saw me do that, he went to the spot every day where I burnt his child and cried for almost a month.
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    I saw it on tv a bear dieded form kind of failing rocks and the child or the mother tried to rescue it for couple hours than gived up and walked away... yes its kind of instinct to help survie them as specie... but do they for real think about it... I don't think so...
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I saw it on tv a bear dieded form kind of failing rocks and the child or the mother tried to rescue it for couple hours than gived up and walked away... yes its kind of instinct to help survie them as specie... but do they for real think about it... I don't think so...
    If it did not think about loosing its own kind it would not have tried to save it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I saw it on tv a bear dieded form kind of failing rocks and the child or the mother tried to rescue it for couple hours than gived up and walked away... yes its kind of instinct to help survie them as specie... but do they for real think about it... I don't think so...
    If it did not think about loosing its own kind it would not have tried to save it.
    well that's true but in very very simplistic way...
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I saw it on tv a bear dieded form kind of failing rocks and the child or the mother tried to rescue it for couple hours than gived up and walked away... yes its kind of instinct to help survie them as specie... but do they for real think about it... I don't think so...
    If it did not think about loosing its own kind it would not have tried to save it.
    well that's true but in very very simplistic way...
    Simplicity is very difficult for some you know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I saw it on tv a bear dieded form kind of failing rocks and the child or the mother tried to rescue it for couple hours than gived up and walked away... yes its kind of instinct to help survie them as specie... but do they for real think about it... I don't think so...
    If it did not think about loosing its own kind it would not have tried to save it.
    well that's true but in very very simplistic way...
    Simplicity is very difficult for some you know.
    what are you trying to saywith this...
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I saw it on tv a bear dieded form kind of failing rocks and the child or the mother tried to rescue it for couple hours than gived up and walked away... yes its kind of instinct to help survie them as specie... but do they for real think about it... I don't think so...
    If it did not think about loosing its own kind it would not have tried to save it.
    well that's true but in very very simplistic way...
    Simplicity is very difficult for some you know.
    what are you trying to saywith this...
    I cannot answer for Stargate, but at the end of the journey, in spite of our ego and our 'accomplishments' when you look back at what really mattered in your life, you may well find that it was the simplest of things that made it all worth while.

    A smile..
    a hug...
    a full stomach...
    a safe place to rest...
    and someone to share your discoveries with.

    My horse taught me much of that...
    Note that she is 'smiling', lol...

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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I saw it on tv a bear dieded form kind of failing rocks and the child or the mother tried to rescue it for couple hours than gived up and walked away... yes its kind of instinct to help survie them as specie... but do they for real think about it... I don't think so...
    If it did not think about loosing its own kind it would not have tried to save it.
    well that's true but in very very simplistic way...
    Simplicity is very difficult for some you know.
    what are you trying to saywith this...
    I cannot answer for Stargate, but at the end of the journey, in spite of our ego and our 'accomplishments' when you look back at what really mattered in your life, you may well find that it was the simplest of things that made it all worth while.

    A smile..
    a hug...
    a full stomach...
    a safe place to rest...
    and someone to share your discoveries with.

    My horse taught me much of that...
    Note that she is 'smiling', lol...

    I think those discoverys are the hardest part of it... how do I know it laughs and not showing her teeth to bite me? ?
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    Scheherazade

    A smile..
    a hug...
    a full stomach...
    a safe place to rest...
    and someone to share your discoveries with.

    My horse taught me much of that...
    Note that she is 'smiling', lol...
    I love what you said, and I love your horse. its very simply.
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I think those discoverys are the hardest part of it... how do I know it laughs and not showing her teeth to bite me?
    The answer to your question is that one takes time to observe the subject, be it an animal or another person, to become familiar with their body language and facial expressions. It is interesting that the facial expression of primary emotions are the same across various cultures and even a similarity in many mammals.

    When any of my horses are concerned, it gets a furrow around it's eyes, just like a worried person, and if it is annoyed, it's lower lip and jaw gets tense, once again very similar to many persons.
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    Blackscorp

    I think those discoverys are the hardest part of it... how do I know it laughs and not showing her teeth to bite me? ?
    Why would biting you be your first thought? Do you aim to bite someone when you laugh? Maybe you do not think the horse can laugh, I think its laughing because you think it wants to bite you. Lol, just playing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I think those discoverys are the hardest part of it... how do I know it laughs and not showing her teeth to bite me?
    The answer to your question is that one takes time to observe the subject, be it an animal or another person, to become familiar with their body language and facial expressions. It is interesting that the facial expression of primary emotions are the same across various cultures and even a similarity in many mammals.

    When any of my horses are concerned, it gets a furrow around it's eyes, just like a worried person, and if it is annoyed, it's lower lip and jaw gets tense, once again very similar to many persons.
    I don't think animals laugh... I think its what we want to see... they can show expression of being comforted but laughing is to far away...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Blackscorp

    I think those discoverys are the hardest part of it... how do I know it laughs and not showing her teeth to bite me? ?
    Why would biting you be your first thought? Do you aim to bite someone when you laugh? Maybe you do not think the horse can laugh, I think its laughing because you think it wants to bite you. Lol, just playing.
    it was kind of jokical question.. I don't think it want to bite me... I know it was just I dotn even how you call it (play with lips make sound ) very normal to horses
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    Not the best way to cure mental illness in either species methinks

    BBC News - Where hyenas are used to treat mental illness
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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderingstar View Post
    Not the best way to cure mental illness in either species methinks

    BBC News - Where hyenas are used to treat mental illness
    those people have it so bad ... that is cure if got eaten by hyena... automaticly they cure the big problem of mental illness... yes it sounds cruel... and it is...
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I don't think animals laugh... I think its what we want to see... they can show expression of being comforted but laughing is to far away...
    You may find this to be interesting if that is the opinion you currently hold. There's an additional link from the owner of the feature in response to viewers giving feedback that the actual audio recording not being loud enough to hear the actual gorilla laughter.



    Here's another one in a more natural setting.

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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Blackscorp

    I think those discoverys are the hardest part of it... how do I know it laughs and not showing her teeth to bite me? ?
    Why would biting you be your first thought? Do you aim to bite someone when you laugh? Maybe you do not think the horse can laugh, I think its laughing because you think it wants to bite you. Lol, just playing.
    it was kind of jokical question.. I don't think it want to bite me... I know it was just I dotn even how you call it (play with lips make sound ) very normal to horses Funny Horse Faces - YouTube
    Actually, it was by the facial expression, position of the ears and body language that you can tell that the horse was not interested in biting anyone. An angry horse has a vile expression on it's face with the ears pinned tight to the neck which makes it's eyes narrow and slitted and 'evil' looking. You definitely know it when you see it, no need to ask.

    Your video demonstrates the flehmen response in horses. Other animals besides horses give this response which can be initiated by any strong or unusual organic compound or pheromones. The scent of mint in the video is what that horse is responding to.

    Telling you that my horse was 'smiling' was my little joke on you and thank you for taking it so well. Horses do have a sense of humor, though, and like to play and that is not a joke. My young gelding went through a stage where he enjoyed playing with sticks and would bring them from the far side of his pen and pile them beside the fence close to where he gets his hay. I took advantage of his 'help' to clear up the sticks, an ongoing chore for the wind breaks limbs off of the trees and willows shed branches continuously and I have several acres of corrals to keep picked up. His name is Yukon's Handyman which is rather appropriate, lol, 'Handy' for short.

    When he got a snoot full of quills this summer, he was smart enough to follow me around the pen and draw attention to his plight. He was very good while I extracted them. Fortunately, it must have been a young one from the size of the quills. The barbs are just as sharp though!





    The flehmen response (/ˈflmən/; German: [ˈfleːmən]), also called the flehmen position, flehmen reaction, flehming, or flehmening, is a behaviour whereby an animal curls back its upper lips exposing its front teeth, inhales with the nostrils usually closed and then often holds this position for several seconds.
    Flehmen response - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I don't think animals laugh... I think its what we want to see... they can show expression of being comforted but laughing is to far away...
    You may find this to be interesting if that is the opinion you currently hold. There's an additional link from the owner of the feature in response to viewers giving feedback that the actual audio recording not being loud enough to hear the actual gorilla laughter.


    Here's another one in a more natural setting.
    i hear sound... what we humans interpret as laugh... but I don't see them laughing...
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    ... we humans...
    By "we humans", did you mean you alone?
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    ... we humans...
    By "we humans", did you mean you alone?
    I didn't say they smiling but you right???so in best case it would be you alone... but you are not only one who interpret this sounds as smiling
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I didn't say they smiling but you right???so in best case it would be you alone... but you are not only one who interpret this sounds as smiling
    I'm not sure if I fully understood what you wrote in the above post, but if I did so sufficiently, perhaps the following article may be satisfactory enough to clear some doubts.

    The evolution of laughter in great apes and humans

    And since the intent of this thread is to find out more about the physiological aspects of possible animal mental disorders, and not focused on laughter specifically or whether laughter is a solely human expression; I shall try and get back on track.
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    Earlier in this thread I have remarked that aberrant behavior in animals in the wild would be selected against unless it served to the advantage of the individual or species. Animals have been observed to 'shun' their own kind when they are different from the group standards and stallions have been observed to refuse to mate with mares of a certain color etc. although the reasons for these selections can only be speculative.

    One horse in particular had a most unusual behavior. He was a gelding, brought to board at my place by a young woman who was leaving an obviously stressful personal situation. She was extremely attached to this horse and her unusual emotional state was reflected by the horse. It was going into winter and the horses were watered by bucket several times a day. This horse immediately pooped in his water, which is a not uncommon mishap so I thought nothing of it but I cleaned and moved the bucket to an area of his containment where there was no evidence of being used for elimination.

    More poop in the water bucket. Very nasty to clean in the colder temperatures.

    Thinking that perhaps the horse did not care to use a bucket that had previously been used by another horse, I brought out a new and unused bucket. Same result. No matter where I placed the bucket or what bucket I used, it was pooped in nearly every day and the additional nasty work was beginning to grate on my nerves. I certainly did not charge enough money for this!

    I had an old tractor tire lying about and I wrestled that into the paddock where I had relocated the horse to, a large pen with a greater view and number of diversions made available by one of my equine tenants moving on. In the center of the tire, I set a large Rubbermaid garbage type pail and filled this with water. I then spent considerable time in observing the reaction of this troubled horse to these new arrangements.

    He expressed normal curiosity and explored the paddock at length before coming over to check out the watering arrangements. He tested the handles of the container with his teeth and tried to pull the container free from both sides but the weight of the water was more than he could lift. Then I watched as he switched ends and literally backed up until his back legs were touching the tire. He then actually got as far into a squat position as he could manage and defecated on the rim of the tire which was of sufficient width that none of the dung managed to get into the water bucket.

    This behavior went on for several weeks but then seemed to end and I was pleased that I had managed to resolve my health care challenge with this animal. That was the most persistent and unusual conduct that I have personally witnessed in a horse. Whether or not it could be considered 'mental illness' however, remains debatable because horses are territorial in the matter of food, water, and their places of elimination so it may just have been an extreme case of 'possessiveness.' The fact that this behavior renders the food/water useless to the animal doing the marking does not seem to enter into their reasoning process.
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    Some may say I am crazy I do not mind, but my opinion is these animals are no fools and know exactly what is going on. They have to compete in the same world we humans operate. I have had animals all of my life and have observed their behavior and most of time my interpretations were right, even in illness. On the other hand I trust my intuitive feelings and usually follow them. All of my reaction was based on human thought based on what I was observing. I know, there is no scientific basis for my observations.
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    I don't have much experience with animals... so I cant go on every detail because I don't know how those animals normal react I had a cat and a rabbit I can talk about that... well lets get back on track why not but what to say once again it all depends on definition of mental illness there is thing like cryze cow... its kind of mental illness..
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I don't have much experience with animals... so I cant go on every detail because I don't know how those animals normal react I had a cat and a rabbit I can talk about that... well lets get back on track why not but what to say once again it all depends on definition of mental illness there is thing like cryze cow... its kind of mental illness..
    I really do not know of any study that says anything about defining mental illnesses in any animal. I know if I see a bull behaving in an unmoral way that I do not ascribe to physical pain I deduce a mental problem, however, as I say it is purely based on my interpretation. How do we define mental illness by humans? It is based on behavior that we define. If I stick my finger in my eyes you would take me to a mental hospital. If I stick my finger in my nose you would think I am nasty. Yet if you open my brain and go to the part responsible for action you might realize that the cause is mental.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I don't have much experience with animals... so I cant go on every detail because I don't know how those animals normal react I had a cat and a rabbit I can talk about that... well lets get back on track why not but what to say once again it all depends on definition of mental illness there is thing like cryze cow... its kind of mental illness..
    I really do not know of any study that says anything about defining mental illnesses in any animal. I know if I see a bull behaving in an unmoral way that I do not ascribe to physical pain I deduce a mental problem, however, as I say it is purely based on my interpretation. How do we define mental illness by humans? It is based on behavior that we define. If I stick my finger in my eyes you would take me to a mental hospital. If I stick my finger in my nose you would think I am nasty. Yet if you open my brain and go to the part responsible for action you might realize that the cause is mental.
    if I see you stick a finger in your eye I would try to do the same
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stargate View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blackscorp View Post
    I don't have much experience with animals... so I cant go on every detail because I don't know how those animals normal react I had a cat and a rabbit I can talk about that... well lets get back on track why not but what to say once again it all depends on definition of mental illness there is thing like cryze cow... its kind of mental illness..
    I really do not know of any study that says anything about defining mental illnesses in any animal. I know if I see a bull behaving in an unmoral way that I do not ascribe to physical pain I deduce a mental problem, however, as I say it is purely based on my interpretation. How do we define mental illness by humans? It is based on behavior that we define. If I stick my finger in my eyes you would take me to a mental hospital. If I stick my finger in my nose you would think I am nasty. Yet if you open my brain and go to the part responsible for action you might realize that the cause is mental.
    if I see you stick a finger in your eye I would try to do the same
    Thank you for my fist enjoyable laugh today.
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