Virtual Lecture for Autism Awareness Month: New Research Supporting Shelter Cat Adoption for Children with Autism and their Families | HABRI

Virtual Lecture for Autism Awareness Month: New Research Supporting Shelter Cat Adoption for Children with Autism and their Families

IDEXX Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series Brings the Science of the Human-Animal Bond to Veterinarians and Pet Owners

Washington, D.C. (April 23, 2021) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and IDEXX today hosted a virtual lecture during Autism Awareness Month, focusing on new research demonstrating the impact of shelter cat adoption on the social skills and anxiety levels in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

This lecture titled, “The Impact of Shelter Cat Adoption in Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder”, features Dr. Gretchen Carlisle, Research Scientist, Research Center for Human Animal Interaction (ReCHAI), University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, discussing her HABRI-funded publication, “Exploratory study of cat adoption in families of children with autism: Impact on children’s social skills and anxiety”, which found that found introduction of a shelter cat into the home may have a positive impact on children with ASD and their parents.

Results from Dr. Carlisle’s project were published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing in December 2020. This was the first randomized controlled trial of adoption of a temperament-screened shelter cat by families of children with ASD. This exploratory study found that introduction of a cat into the home may have a positive impact on children with ASD, including greater Empathy and less Separation Anxiety for children with ASD, along with fewer problem behaviors including Externalizing, Bullying and Hyperactivity/Inattention. The children and their parents reported close bonds with their new cats almost immediately after adoption, and despite the cat caretaking responsibility, these bonds did not decrease over time.

“These research results show that children with autism and their families can benefit from the calmer, quieter demeanor of a pet cat,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “HABRI and IDEXX hope that together, we can help raise awareness of the health benefits of pet cats and help more cats find loving homes.”

Professionals who viewed this session live are eligible to receive RACE-approved Continuing Education (CE) credit through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). The lecture, along with the others in the series will remain available on-demand at http://www.habri.org/HAB-Lectures.

About HABRI

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/.

About IDEXX

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/.

Contact

Jamie Baxter

jamie@theimpetusagency.com

775.322.4022

###

Press Releases
Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group™ Supports Human-Animal Bond Research

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group™, one of the oldest U.S. providers of pet health insurance, has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “For twenty years, we’ve been committed to helping people get access to reliable and affordable pet insurance coverage,” said Bob Capobianco, Senior Vice President, Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group. “Supporting HABRI research is important because it connects the positive impact that pets play in our lives, and closely aligns with the work we do to help pets live longer and healthier.” “HABRI is thrilled to welcome Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group as a supporter,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “From HABRI research, we know that pets are considered part of the family, and that the growing importance of pets in our lives has driven demand for pet-inclusive policies and benefits at home, in the workplace, and beyond. Pet health insurance plays a key role in strengthening the human-animal bond and supporting the needs of our furry family members, and HABRI is thrilled to be working with Crum & Forster to help more people and pets benefit from healthy human-animal bonds.” Scientific evidence increasingly shows 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 impact more than just human health. Findings from a recent HABRI survey of 2,000 pet owners demonstrate that knowledge of the scientific research on the human-animal bond motivates pet owners to take better care of their pets. From providing pets with higher quality nutrition to purchasing...

Press Releases
New Research to Study Whether Therapy Dogs Can Lower Dose of Sedation in Children Undergoing Surgery

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a $79,000 grant to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine for a new study, The Effect of Animal-Assisted Intervention on Preoperative Anxiety and Dose of Sedation in Children. This study will examine the effect of animal-assisted intervention (AAI) on children’s anxiety levels and sedation medication dosages prior to surgery. “The goal of this study is to determine if interaction with a therapy dog 20 minutes prior to surgery has a significant effect on reducing a child’s anxiety levels and, in turn, lowering the dose of medication necessary for sedation,” said the study’s principal investigator, Zenithson Y. Ng, DVM, MS, College of Veterinary Medicine at University of Tennessee. “The results of this study may be further used to justify and advocate for AAI in various medical situations and open doors for additional research on measurable medical outcomes associated with AAI.” The three-year, cross-over-designed study on behalf of the veterinary college’s Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences and Biomedical and Diagnostics Sciences will examine 72 children between the ages of 2 and 17 and randomly determine whether the child receives a therapy dog or an iPad tablet 20 minutes before sedation. Dr. Ng and co-investigators Julia Albright, DVM, MA and Marcy Souza, DVM, MPH, will then evaluate heart rate, blood pressure and medicine levels for sedation and compare the amounts of each group. It is expected that children provided with a therapy dog prior to surgery will have significantly lower preoperative anxiety and will require a decreased amount of medication for sedation compared to children who do not interact with a therapy dog. “Scientific research has shown that therapy dogs in hospital settings can have a calming effect, ease stress and provide reassurance to patients young and old, and to their families as well,” said HABRI Executive Director...

Press Releases
New Effort Highlights Potential Impact of Pets on Social Isolation and Loneliness

Mars Petcare and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) today gathered leaders in public health, research, psychology, gerontology, and veterinary medicine to advance scientific research, best practices, and practical solutions to facilitate the role of companion animals and human-animal interaction (HAI) in addressing the public health crisis of social isolation and loneliness in society. Health experts have described loneliness as reaching epidemic levels – affecting people of all generations from all walks of life.[i] And most importantly, social isolation has been shown to be as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes per day, making it a serious threat to public health.[ii] There is widespread agreement among both pet owners and non-owners that companion animals can play a role in addressing the societal challenge of loneliness and social isolation.[iii] Results from nationally-representative market research reinforce the social bond between humans and pets. Specifically, 80 percent of pet owners say their pet makes them feel less lonely. When it comes to both pet owners and non-pet-owners, 85 percent of respondents believe interaction with a companion animal can help reduce loneliness and 76 percent agree human-animal interactions can help address social isolation. Further, pet owners with the closest bond to their pet see the highest positive impact on their feelings of loneliness and social isolation.[iv] The market research also showed:[iii] Around one in four (26 percent) pet owners stated they got a pet because they know it is good for mental health – with respondents aged 55+ doing so more frequently (55 percent). 54 percent of respondents say their pet helps them connect with other people. Half of respondents (51 percent) say their pet helps them feel less shy. 9 in 10 people aged 55+ believe pets can help older adults feel less lonely. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of those surveyed believe nursing homes and assisted-living facilities have...

HABRI