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Researchers examine human-animal bond during lockdown
Some 90 per cent of respondents to the survey said their pet helped them cope emotionally with the lockdown.
Findings show pets helped to reduce feelings of stress.

Researchers at the Universities of York and Lincoln have examined the impact of pets on mental health and loneliness during the coronavirus lockdown.

Their research study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, aimed to investigate links between mental health and loneliness, companion animal ownership, the human-animal bond, and human-animal interactions. It also set out to investigate animal owners’ perceptions related to the role of their animals during lockdown.

Some 6,000 participants from across the UK took part in a survey between March 23 and 1 June, of which 90 per cent owned at least one pet. The findings reveal that sharing a home with a pet appeared to reduce feelings of loneliness and stress during lockdown.

Some 90 per cent of respondents said their pet helped them cope emotionally with the lockdown and 96 per cent said their pet helped keep them fit and active. The strength of the human-animal bond did not differ significantly between species, with the most common pets being cats and dogs followed by small mammals and fish.

"This work is particularly important at the current time as it indicates how having a companion animal in your home can buffer against some of the psychological stress associated with lockdown,” said co-author Professor Daniel Mills from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln. “However, it is important that everyone appreciates their pet's needs too, as our other work shows failing to meet these can have a detrimental effect for both people and their pets."

Interestingly, 68 per cent of pet owners in the study reported having been worried about their animals during lockdown, owing to restrictions on access to veterinary care and exercise, or because they wouldn’t know who would look after their pet if they fell ill.

Lead author Dr Elena Ratschen from the Department of Health Sciences University of York said: “While our study showed that having a pet may mitigate some of the detrimental psychological effects of the COVID-19 lockdown, it is important to understand that this finding is unlikely to be of clinical significance and does not warrant any suggestion that people should acquire pets to protect their mental health during the pandemic.”

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Vet Professionals offering webinars on feline health for vets

News Story 1
 Vet Professionals - a company that provides advice and information to pet owners and veterinary staff - are offering free 'ten-minute tips' education sessions on a range of topics related to feline health.

The webinars are held on Wednesdays at 1.30pm via Zoom. Sessions typically last around 30 minutes and include a live Q&A session.

Upcoming sessions include:

- 'How to place naso-oesophageal feeding tubes in cats' - 14 October
- 'How to place oesophagostomy feeding tubes in cats' - 28 October
- 'How to calculate tube feeding nutritional requirements' - 18 November.

Full details on future sessions, as well as links to previous webinars and video tutorials, are available on the Vet Professionals website. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
More cases of African swine fever confirmed in Germany

More cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in wild boar in Germany.

According to Pig World, 20 outbreaks have been identified in two districts - Brandenburg, where the original case confirmed on September 10 was found, and near the town of Neuzelle, some 7.5 km away.

The finding represents a further seven cases confirmed by Germany's Friedrich-Loeffler Institute. A Central Crisis Team has been established to coordinate the response to the outbreak.