Washington, D.C. (January 21, 2021) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and IDEXX held a virtual lecture on the impact of a shelter cat fostering program on the health and wellbeing of older adults living independently alone. This was the second in a planned series of lectures, sponsored by IDEXX, to highlight impactful scientific research on the health benefits of the human-animal bond and the importance of veterinary medicine in strengthening human-animal bonds.
In this lecture, “The Impact of a Feline Fostering Program for Older Adults Living Alone”, Dr. Sherry Sanderson, BS, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACVIM, Dipl ACVN, Associate Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, discussed the main aims and shared preliminary results of her ongoing HABRI-funded study, “Healthy Aging: Human Companionship Through Fostering Felines”, which have indicated that participation in the foster cat program decreases loneliness in older adults.
“IDEXX is proud to sponsor this human-animal bond lecture and to provide pet owners and veterinarians with tangible, real-world examples of how the human-animal bond can improve lives in both humans and companion animals in need,” said Kerry Bennett, Corporate Vice President, IDEXX.
Funded by HABRI, “Healthy Aging: Human Companionship Through Fostering Felines” aims to determine if fostering a shelter cat, with the option for adoption, improves the mental health and emotional health of older adults living alone. In addition, Dr. Sanderson and her research team are assessing the impact of feline fostering on older adults’ interest in and commitment to adopting their foster cat, as well as evaluating the feline fostering program as a sustainable partnership between the University of Georgia and community partners. Preliminary results indicate that participants experience a decrease in loneliness at one- and four-months post placement of the foster cat, and that the level of comfort participants receive from their cats continually increases the longer they are with their cat.
“HABRI is grateful for IDEXX for their continued sponsorship of this lecture series which serves as a wonderful opportunity to reach a broad audience of pet owners and animal health professionals interested in the science of the human-animal bond,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “IDEXX also supports HABRI’s research program, which is demonstrating that pets play a vital role in not only supporting the health and wellbeing of older adults, but also in improving the lives of all pet owners and the communities where they live.”
Professionals who register and view this session are eligible to receive RACE-approved Continuing Education (CE) credit through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB).
The lecture will remain available on-demand at http://www.habri.org/HAB-Lectures. The first lecture in the Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series, “The Efficacy of Service Dogs for Veterans with PTSD”, which HABRI hosted on Veterans Day, November 11, 2020, is also available on-demand at http://www.habri.org/HAB-Lectures.
HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit https://www.habri.org/.
IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. is a member of the S&P 500® Index and is a leader in pet healthcare innovation, serving practicing veterinarians around the world with a broad range of diagnostic and information technology-based products and services. IDEXX products enhance the ability of veterinarians to provide advanced medical care, improve staff efficiency, and build more economically successful practices. IDEXX is also a worldwide leader in providing diagnostic tests and information for livestock and poultry, tests for the quality and safety of water and milk, and point-of-care and laboratory diagnostics for human medicine. For more information, please visit https://www.idexx.com/en/.
More Press Releases
Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and LifeLearn Animal Health Team up to Create Shareable Content for Veterinarians: The Human-Animal Bond Kit
In recognition of Pet Appreciation Week, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), in partnership with LifeLearn Animal Health, have created a new, shareable human-animal bond kit, highlighting the health benefits of a healthy relationship with a pet. The scientific research that supports the human-animal bond – or the mutually beneficial relationship between people and pets – for better health indicates that pets can make a difference in promoting physical activity, facilitating social connectedness, healthy aging and more. According to HABRI’s survey of pet ownersi, knowledge of the human-animal bond improves pet care and welfare. When educated on the scientific research on the health benefits of pets: 92% of pet owners are more likely to maintain their pet’s health, including keeping up with vaccines and preventative medicine 89% of pet owners are more likely to take their pet to the vet for regular check-ups HABRI and LifeLearn are proud to work together in creating shareable content for veterinarians and animal health professionals. The more we can remind people that in good times and bad, our companion animals are wonderful sources of support, comfort and joy, the healthier and happier we will be, together.
Pet Food Institute Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that the Pet Food Institute (PFI) has made a $25,000 contribution to support research on the benefits of the human-animal bond for people and pets. “PFI is proud to support HABRI, whose important research on the health benefits of pet ownership advances our collective awareness about the significant role pets play in our lives,” said Cathleen Enright, PhD, President & CEO, Pet Food Institute. “As the voice for U.S. pet food and treat makers, PFI and our members understand and celebrate the special bond between humans and pets.” “For the nearly 150 million dogs and cats in the U.S., health and wellbeing starts with sound nutrition and safe food,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “Research shows that healthy pets make healthy pet-owners, and HABRI is proud to have the support of PFI, an organization committed to supporting long and healthy lives for pets.” HABRI has assembled a growing body of scientific evidence showing that pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and development; and contribute to healthy aging. In addition, companion animals can assist in the treatment of a broad range of conditions from post-traumatic stress to Alzheimer’s disease to autism spectrum disorder. The benefits of the human-animal bond can be found at both ends of the leash. Findings from a recently-published HABRI survey of 2,000 pet owners demonstrate that the more they know about the scientific research on the human-animal bond the more likely they are to take better care of their pets, including providing pets with higher-quality nutrition and keeping up with visits to the veterinarian. “Spreading awareness of the health benefits of pet ownership improves pet health and welfare,” Feldman added. “PFI and its member companies are great partners to share this message.” PFI, whose members make up 98 percent of all U.S. pet food...
New Research to Study Impact of Therapy Dogs On Stress and Academic Performance in Children with Autism
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a $33,717 grant to the Texas Tech University for a new study, Integration of AAI and Applied Behavior Analysis to Improve Academic Performance in Children with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability (IDD). This study will examine the effect of an integrated animal-assisted intervention (AAI) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) on children’s academic performance and physiological stress. “The goal of this study is to determine if interaction with a therapy dog during an ABA-based intervention results in improved academic response and a decrease in child stress levels,” said the study’s principal investigator, Alexandra Protopopova, PhD, Texas Tech University. “The results of this study may provide support for incorporating animals into ABA-based therapy, a bridging of two beneficial therapies for individuals with ASD/IDD that could result in the emergence of advancements in behavioral science.” The one-year, single-subject designed study will examine 6 children between the ages of 4 and 13 with ASD/IDD. The unique, within-subject design will use the 6 participants to address each aim of the study. Dr. Protopopova, Assistant Professor of Animal and Food Sciences and co-investigator Breanna N. Harris, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of the Department of Biological Sciences, will expose each child to 5 conditions, 5 times each in a random sequence and will measure on-task behavior and collect saliva for measurement of cortisol levels. The investigators will then compare each condition on an individual basis. It is expected that when provided with a therapy dog during the ABA-based intervention, the children will have significantly lower stress and that the dogs will be a more potent and durable reward for children, resulting in educational improvements. “Scientific research, including results of previous HABRI-funded studies, has shown that therapy dogs can have a positive...