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Dog-owner bond similar to mother-infant relationship
woman with dog
"The human-dog relationship is exceptional because it is an interspecies form of attachment."
Mutual gazing between dog and owner triggers oxytocin release

Dog owners often admit to loving their pet as much as (or even more than) members of their family. New research findings may explain this, suggesting eye contact between dogs and owners triggers the release of oxytocin, facilitating the same bonding process that occurs between a mother and her child.

A team of Japanese scientists believe dogs may have acquired human methods of communication during domestication.

According to their research, which has been published in the journal Science, mutual gazing between dogs and owners triggered a significant increase in urinary oxytocin, which is also known as the 'love hormone'.

Gaze is an important part of human communication, enabling us to interpret another's intention and also, crucially, to establish relationships, for example social attachment between mother and infant.

Eye contact between a mother and her child releases oxytocin, which drives bonding between the two and generates maternal behaviours.

Writing in Science, researchers said: "The human-dog relationship is exceptional because it is an interspecies form of attachment."

Dogs and owners involved with the Japanese study were urine tested before and after a 30 minute period of interaction with one another. Dogs were divided into two groups - 'long gaze' and 'short gaze'. Owners and dogs in the long gaze group showed a significantly greater increase in oxytocin levels.

The same experiment was also carried out on hand-reared wolves. This group rarely showed mutual gazing with their owners and oxytocin levels remained unchanged. This suggests mutual gazing as a form of communication between dogs and owners evolved during domestication.

Commenting on the findings in Science, the researchers wrote: "These results suggest that humans may feel affection for their companion dogs similar to that felt toward human family members and that dog-associated visual stimuli, such as eye-gaze contact from their dogs activate oxytocin systems."

For the full research report:

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Webinar to explore the meaning of veterinary leadership

News Story 1
 The WSAVA has announced a free webinar exploring the meaning of veterinary leadership in the 21st century.

Taking place at noon on Tuesday, October 19, the webinar will explore the role of veterinary professionals in leading on animal welfare, the leadership competencies required of all veterinary professionals, and the effects of leadership style on teams.

The webinar, which ends with a Q&A session, will be moderated be WSAVA President Dr Siraya Chunekamrai and led by Veterinary Management Group President Richard Casey. For more information and to access the event, click here

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News Shorts
Horiba announces veterinary haematology webinar

Horiba Medical has announced a free webinar providing practical insight on best practice in veterinary haematology. Entitled 'In practice haematology - Beyond the pale!' the webinar will be presented by Ronnie Barron from the University of Glasgow Veterinary School.

Ronnie's presentation, which will conclude with a Q&A session, will look at QC and artefacts of sample quality and review the effects of different pathologies. Using images, photomicrographs and video links, he will also explain the techniques and equipment needed to complement analytical automation to confirm results quality.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, October 28 (7.30-9pm). For more details and to register, click here.