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Dogs’ viewing preferences may support vision tests, study says
Dogs enjoyed watching content featuring other animals.

Understanding video content responses could make ophthalmology more accurate.

A survey of dog owners across the world could provide ophthalmologists with data to support more accurate tests for canine vision.

The study examined the observations of 1,600 dog owners from places including the UK, USA and countries in the European Union, who recorded their dogs’ responses to different video stimuli.

Dog owners reported on the types of screens in their house, how their pets interacted with the screens, and the sort of content they interacted with the most. This was compared to other data about their dog’s age, breed, sex, and where they lived.

Dogs could also be shown four short videos, each featuring subjects of possible interest, including a panther, a dog, a bird and traffic. The owners then rated their dog’s interest in each video and how closely they tracked the on-screen movement.

Most dog owners recorded their pet’s behaviour to be active when watching videos, with many pets jumping or tracking the on-screen action rather than passively lying down or sitting.

Dogs enjoyed watching content featuring other animals, with videos of other dogs proving particularly popular. However, videos including humans were the least popular, ranking ninth out of 17 categories.

Their age and vision correlated with how much they interacted with the screen. Sporting and herding dogs also watched more content than other breed types.

The data also highlights on-screen movement to be motivating, and cartoons proved engaging for over ten per cent of the dogs.

These findings may support canine ophthalmologists to devise more accurate assessments of dogs’ vision. By ascertaining what type of content sustains a dog’s attention, a ‘dog eye chart’ equivalent can be created to assess canine vision.

They could also be used to monitor how dogs’ visual attention changes as they age.

Dr Freya Mowat, a veterinary ophthalmologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, contributed to the study.

She said: "We know that poor vision negatively impacts quality of life in older people, but the effect of aging and vision changes in dogs is largely unknown because we can't accurately assess it,

"Like people, dogs are living longer, and we want to make sure we support a healthier life for them as well."

The full study can be found in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Image © Shutterstock

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Bristol uni celebrates 75 years of teaching vets

News Story 1
 The University of Bristol's veterinary school is celebrating 75 years of educating veterinary students.

Since the first group of students were admitted in October 1949, the school has seen more than 5,000 veterinary students graduate.

Professor Jeremy Tavare, pro vice-chancellor and executive dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: "I'm delighted to be celebrating Bristol Veterinary School's 75 years.

"Its excellence in teaching and research has resulted in greater understanding and some real-world changes benefiting the health and welfare of both animals and humans, which is testament to the school's remarkable staff, students and graduates." 

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News Shorts
RCVS HQ to temporarily relocate

The headquarters of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is to move temporarily, ahead of its permanent relocation later in the year.

From Monday, 26 February 2024, RCVS' temporary headquarters will be at 2 Waterhouse Square, Holborn, London. This is within walking distance of its current rented offices at The Cursitor, Chancery Lane.

RCVS have been based at The Cursitor since February 2022, following the sale of its Westminster premises the previous March.

However, unforeseen circumstances relating to workspace rental company WeWork filing for bankruptcy means The Cursitor will no longer operate as a WeWork space. The new temporary location is still owned by WeWork.

RCVS anticipates that it will move into its permanent location at Hardwick Street, Clerkenwell, later on in the year.