BMC - Self-injurious Behavior Scoring System
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Self-injurious behavior (SIB) includes behaviors such as self-biting, head banging and injurious hair plucking. Because it can result in significant tissue trauma, it is a major concern to veterinarians and behavioral managers. Despite this concern, there is a surprising lack of uniformity with respect to defining and categorizing this behavior. To better understand the etiology and progression of the behavior, as well as developing effective treatments and cures, it is important to be able to accurately assess the individual episodes. In an effort to standardize both the definition of SIB and how we assess the severity of the SIB events, the BMC developed an SIB scoring system. This shared assessment tool has allowed cross-center assessments permitting us to better understand the phenomenon of SIB.
Definition of SIB: Self-injurious behavior includes behaviors that could result in tissue damage.
Scoring: The BMC Self-injurious Behavior Scale contains five categories. Two of these categories cover non-injurious SIB incidents (i.e., those that do not cause wounding). These categories are broken down by behavior; one category involves SIB as a result of self-biting and the other covers behaviors other than biting (e.g., head banging). The other three SIB categories pertain to events that result in wounding, and are based on the severity of the wound (i.e., mild, moderate, severe).
In all cases, in order to be considered SIB, the injury must be assessed to be self-inflicted after ruling out other possible causes, including injury due to caging or enclosure features, or another animal.
|Noninjurious; self-biting||No wound||Self-biting behavior observed or reported. No visible wound.||In all cases, behavior must be observed by an appropriately trained individual.|
|Noninjurious forceful self-directed behavior; non-biting||No wound||Potentially injurious behavior (other than self-biting) observed or reported. No visible wound. Could include head banging.||In all cases, behavior must be observed by an appropriately trained individual.|
|SIB 1||Mild||Superficial wounds that do not require medical treatment. May include superficial abrasions, pin-point lesions, small puncture wounds, bruising and callouses. Does not include lacerations. Does not require medical treatment.||Provision of psychotropic drugs does not constitute medical treatment for the purposes of this classification.|
|SIB 2||Moderate||Surface wounds such as lacerations and puncture wounds. Requires assessment for possible veterinary treatment (including sedation for assessment, or minor treatment such as wound cleaning, pain medication, antibiotics; does not include major medical procedures such as suturing, amputation or surgery).||In all cases in which there is a wound, injury must be assessed to be self-inflicted after ruling out other possible causes.|
|SIB 3||Severe||Deep or subcutaneous wounds, such as large lacerations or deep puncture wounds that require major medical treatment. Treatment may include suturing, amputation, surgery or other major medical procedure under sedation.||In all cases in which there is a wound, injury must be assessed to be self-inflicted after ruling out other possible causes.|
Self-injurious Behavior Publications
Clemmons EA, Gumber S, Strobert E, Bloomsmith MA, Jean SM.
Self-Injurious Behavior Secondary to Cytomegalovirus-Induced Neuropathy in an SIV-Infected Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta).
Comp. Med. 2015 Jun; 65(3): 266-70.
Gottlieb DH, Capitanio JP, McCowan B.
Risk factors for stereotypic behavior and self-biting in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta): animal's history, current environment, and personality.
Am. J. Primatol. 2013 Oct; 75(10): 995-1008.
Kempf DJ, Baker KC, Gilbert MH, Blanchard JL, Dean RL, Deaver DR, Bohm RP.
Effects of extended-release injectable naltrexone on self-injurious behavior in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).
Comp. Med. 2012 Jun; 62(3): 209-17.
Lee KM, Chiu KB, Didier PJ, Baker KC, MacLean AG.
Naltrexone treatment reverses astrocyte atrophy and immune dysfunction in self-harming macaques.
Brain Behav. Immun. 2015 Nov; 50(): 288-97.
Lee KM, Chiu KB, Sansing HA, Inglis FM, Baker KC, MacLean AG.
Astrocyte atrophy and immune dysfunction in self-harming macaques.
PLoS ONE 2013 08; 8(7): e69980.