Friday, 18 January 2019 13:12

Animal Behavior Discoveries from Veterinary Scientists Help Improve Pet Health

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Animal Behavior Discoveries from Veterinary Scientists Help Improve Pet Health Animal Behavior Discoveries from Veterinary Scientists Help Improve Pet Health Animal Behavior Discoveries from Veterinary Scientists Help Improve Pet Health

Each year millions of pets are relinquished to shelters because of preventable, behavior-related issues. Even the most experienced pet owners can become confused by what they view as problematic animal behavior, leaving them with few options.

Unwanted behavior is the number-one reason for the fracture of the human-animal bond and our relationships with our pets, resulting in millions of dogs and cats losing their homes each year. Sadly, many are euthanized.

So whats being done to fix this pressing issue facing pets and their owners?

Organizations dedicated to protecting animal health are conducting extensive research into the topic. A leading expert in the field of animal behavior, Dr. R.K. Anderson reflects, “We cant fix this problem without data. And we need to do research to supply the data.”

Morris Animal Foundation (MAF), a nonprofit foundation funding animal health research studies, partnered with Dr. Anderson to establish the R.K. Anderson Animal Behavior Research Endowment. This fund will advance the science and knowledge of behavior in companion animals so that the quality and duration of their lives can be increased.

Currently, MAF is funding research to better understand both canine and feline behavioral issues. On the canine front, MAF is studying the effectiveness of shelter enrichment programs, which are designed to reduce stress for dogs, enhance adoptability, shorten the dogs time in the shelter and improve behavior and retention in homes following adoption.

Another dog behavior study will develop a more effective version of the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ), commonly used in shelters to assess animals that are relinquished. The goal is to help shelter staff better predict the adoptability of an animal.

Still another canine research study will evaluate possible behavioral differences between surrendered animals and strays. The behavior of these two groups of animals will be compared to see if any differences exist. Ultimately, by understanding these animals behavior, shelter staff can better handle and train these animals, leading to better adoptions.

On the feline front, MAF is sponsoring a research study to look at how cats behave in relation to their color as well as how they react when they are admitted for radiographs. The researcher will record their sex, color, whether or not they have claws, how healthy/sickly they look, why they are having radiographs performed as well as their behavior while at the clinic. She will then compare the groups to determine whether there is any relation between the color of the cats and their behavior.

While the MAFs Animal Behavior Research Endowment meets a critical need in funding these animal research and behavior studies, the fund also honors the lifetime dedication of Dr. Anderson to the development of the fields of animal behavior, human-animal bond, veterinary epidemiology and preventive medicine.

Dr. Anderson encourages pet owners as well as friends of companion animals to help the endowment reach its $5 million goal. Contributions support research to increase knowledge of the interactions of genetics, physiology, environment and people and how these factors affect the behavior of companion animals and humananimal relationships.

Read 60 times Last modified on Friday, 18 January 2019 13:39

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