wet dog shake
A behaviour in the repertoire of most mammalian species–including rats, in which it is best studied. The wet dog shake–WDS is a quivering shudder of the body up to the shoulders, named after the way dogs rid themselves of water in their fur. It consists of movements of the trunk, which rotates about 20 degrees in each direction along the centre axis of the body, and seems to roll over the body from the shoulder to the tail root. It may extend beyond the shoulders to the neck and head and, in rats, it lasts ±0.5 seconds.
Relevance WDSs can be both spontaneous–e.g., by dipping the little feller in water, or induced by external stimuli, including electrical stimulation of the limbic structures and pharmacological interventions including 1-[2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenyl]-2-aminopropane–DOI, a hallucinogen that activates 5HT-2 receptors. The WDS trigger is lowered by administration of corticosterone–which inhibits sexual behaviour. Novel drug entities–e.g., potential antipsychotics, can be tested on rats pretreated with DOI to see if the drugs antagonise the DOI-induced WDSs. The model is also useful in assessing the effect of hormones and drugs on sexual behaviour.
Synonym Whole body shake
Reference Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology 05/2006; 98(4):423-6.