Skip to main content Accessibility help

Hoarding pet animals in obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • André L. Campos-Lima (a1), Albina R. Torres (a2), Murat Yücel (a3), Ben J. Harrison (a4), Jorge Moll (a5), Gabriela M. Ferreira (a1) and Leonardo F. Fontenelle (a1) (a3) (a5)...



Although severe hoarding symptoms have been considered rare among obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) samples, the prevalence of animal hoarding in OCD is unknown. To help clarifying this issue, we searched for cases of animal hoarding among patients attending a university OCD clinic (n=420).


Chart review.


Only two patients from our sample exhibited animal hoarding (<0.5%) and only one of them presented additional obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Both cases also collected inanimate objects, presented low insight, exhibited poor response to serotonin reuptake inhibitors and did not adhere to therapy.


There seems to be a lack of relationship between animal hoarding and OCD. However, further studies with larger numbers of patients are needed to better define their psychopathological profile and more appropriate nosological insertion.


Corresponding author

Dr. Leonardo F. Fontenelle, Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Research Program, Institute of Psychiatry of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 547, Sala 617, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22410-003, Brazil. Tel and Fax: +55 21 2239 4919; E-mail:


Hide All
1.Worth, D, Beck, A. Multiple ownership of animals in New York City. Trans Stud Coll Physicians Phila 1981;3:280300.
2.HARC. How is animal hoarding defined? 2013. Available from Accessed on 17 November 2013.
3.Patronek, GJ. Hoarding of animals: an under-recognized public health problem in a difficult-to-study population. Public Health Rep 1999;114:8187.
4.Nathanson, JN. Animal hoarding: slipping into the darkness of comorbid animal and self-neglect. J Elder Abuse Negl 2009;21:307324.
5.Brown, SE, Katcher, AH. The contribution of attachment to pers and attachment to nature to dissociation and absorption. Dissociation 1997;10:125129.
6.Brown, SE, Katcher, AH. Pet attachment and dissociation. Soc Anim 2001;9:2541.
7.Rynearson, EK. Humans and pets and attachment. Br J Psychiatry 1978;133:550555.
8.APA. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013.
9.Frost, RO, Patronek, G, Rosenfield, E. Comparison of object and animal hoarding. Depress Anxiety 2011;28:885891.
10.Salkovskis, P, Shafran, R, Rachman, S, Freeston, MH. Multiple pathways to inflated responsibility beliefs in obsessional problems: possible origins and implications for therapy and research. Behav Res Ther 1999;37:10551072.
11.Brakoulias, V, Starcevic, V, Berle, D, Milicevic, D, Hannan, A, Martin, A. The relationships between obsessive-compulsive symptom dimensions and cognitions in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Psychiatr Q 2014;85:133142.
12.McCraw, RK. Obsessive-compulsive disorder apparently related to abortion. Am J Psychother 1989;43:269276.
13.Lipper, S, Feigenbaum, WM. Obsessive-compulsive neurosis after viewing the fetus during therapeutic abortion. Am J Psychother 1976;30:666674.
14.Patronek, G, Loar, L, Nathanson, JN. Animal hoarding: structuring interdisciplinary responses to help people, animals and communities at risk. Boston: Consortium HoAR, 2006.
15.Patronek, GJ, Nathanson, JN. A theoretical perspective to inform assessment and treatment strategies for animal hoarders. Clin Psychol Rev 2009;29:274281.
16.Chakraborty, V, Cherian, AV, Math, SBet al.Clinically significant hoarding in obsessive-compulsive disorder: results from an Indian study. Compr Psychiatry 2012;53:11531160.
17.Fontenelle, JM, Santana Lda, S, Lessa Lda, R, Victoria, MS, Mendlowicz, MV, Fontenelle, LF. The concept of insight in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Rev Bras Psiquiat 2010;32:7782.
18.Veale, D. Over-valued ideas: a conceptual analysis. Behav Res Ther 2002;40:383400.
19.Frost, RO, Hartl, TL, Christian, R, Williams, N. The value of possessions in compulsive hoarding: patterns of use and attachment. Behav Res Ther 1995;33:897902.
20.Bumke, O. Lehrbuch der Geisteskrankheiten. München: Bergmann, 1948.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed