IDEXX Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series Highlights New Science for Veterinarians and Pet Owners
Washington, D.C. (July 22, 2021) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and IDEXX today hosted Dr. Katharine Watson MA, BVMS, discussing her active HABRI-funded study on the association of pet ownership, the gut microbiome, and cardiovascular disease risk among older adults. This is the fifth virtual lecture in the IDEXX Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series, which focuses on new research exploring the influence of pet ownership on human health.
Dr. Watson, a small animal veterinarian and epidemiology doctoral student in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Indiana University, School of Public Health, is working to determine whether living with a cat or dog is associated with a richer and more diverse gut microbiome in older adults and whether this, in turn, may mediate reduced prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
“HABRI is grateful for IDEXX for making this lecture possible and for supporting this important research, which has the potential to make a significant contribution to the field of human-animal interaction,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “Much of the science on the physical health benefits of pets involve the association between pet ownership and physical activity. This research is exciting because it has the potential to shed light on new, physiological underpinnings of the human-animal bond – the relationship between pet ownership, the microbiome and heart health.”
The human microbiota is made up of trillions of cells, with the biggest populations residing in the gut. Research has shown the human microbiome is important for our nutrition and immunity to disease, including CVD, through dynamic interactions with the host and environment. More than 20% of inter-person microbiota differences have been found to be related to demographic or environmental factors, and the degree to which pet ownership influences the composition of the gut microbiota in adults is largely unknown.
Veterinary 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.
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
New Research to Help Shelters Better Place Cats in Loving Homes
Results of a newly-published study funded by HABRI and the Winn Feline Foundation in the Animal Studies Journal, led by researchers at the University of Missouri, demonstrate the effectiveness of the Feline Temperament Profile (FTP) in assessing the behavioral responses of cats in different situations. Results also indicate that the FTP may be shortened with no loss of reliability to serve as a quick and practical tool for animal shelters and rescue organizations to assess a cat’s temperament to find compatible homes and reduce the likelihood of cat relinquishment. “Cat temperament assessments can help shelters and rescue organizations better place cats into the right homes, and are especially important for families with special needs who may fare better with a more social and calm cat,” said Dr. Gretchen Carlisle, Research Scientist at the University of Missouri and Principal Investigator of the Feline Friends study. “With this study, we conclude that the shorter FTP can be deployed to increase the possibility of successful adoptions by matching cats with adopting families’ expectations and improving shelter staff’s accuracy to easily and objectively assess behavior.” “We know from scientific research that pets, especially dogs, can be beneficial to families of children with autism in improving family functioning and decreasing stress,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “Research also shows that quiet and non-verbal interactions with cats may be beneficial for children with autism by promoting social contact. Having a reliable way to assess feline temperament is important to this equation.” “Up until now there has been a critical lack of evidence-based studies regarding the temperament of cats and the effect on different aspects of the human-cat bond. The results of this study provides important information assisting shelters with finding compatible homes for successful adoption of cats’, added Dr. Vicki Thayer, interim executive director...
Nationwide Becomes Human-Animal Bond Certified Company
The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), joint founders of the Human-Animal Bond Certification program, announced today that Nationwide, the first and largest provider of pet health insurance in the U.S., has become a Human-Animal Bond Certified Company. “Nationwide has earned this meaningful recognition through its significant commitment to human-animal bond research, education, and professional development,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI Executive Director. “Being a Human-Animal Bond Certified Company recognizes that Nationwide is strengthening the human-animal bond as a core part of its mission.” As part of the certification process, all Nationwide pet associates will complete human-animal bond training, learning about the science behind the human-animal bond and gaining a deeper understanding of how this science supports pet health and the practice of veterinary medicine. The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors considered essential to the health and well-being of both. “Becoming Human-Animal Bond certified is an honor and a process that we are committed to in every interaction we have with pets and their families. We know the more we learn, the more we can protect them,” said Heidi Sirota, Nationwide’s Chief Pet Officer. Launched in 2018, the NAVC Human-Animal Bond Certification prepares veterinarians and animal care staff to recognize and promote the importance of the bond between pets and their families. The program evaluates the science, communication, community engagement, animal welfare and wellness, and medical care needed to create and maintain a positive human-animal bond. “The Human-Animal Bond Certification gives veterinarians and all those who support them additional tools and training to further understand and safeguard this bond,” said NAVC CEO Gene O’Neill. “The NAVC is committed to...
Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Announces 2016 Research Grants
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced funding for four research grants focused on the effects of human-animal interaction on human health, including outcomes for children undergoing hospital procedures; classroom learning; and the link between the health of pet owners and the health of their pets. “The human-animal bond is an essential element of human wellness,” said Bob Vetere, President and CEO of the American Pet Products Association and President of the HABRI Board of Trustees. “HABRI-funded research projects are scientifically documenting how pets improve the health of people, pets and the communities where they live.” For 2016, HABRI has awarded a total of $175,000 to the following recipients and research projects: Zenithson Y. Ng, DVM, M.S. (University of Tennessee, Knoxville): The Effect of Animal-Assisted Intervention on Preoperative Anxiety and Dose of Sedation in Children Piers C. A. Barker, M.D (Duke University): Impact of Animal Assisted Therapy on Quality, Completeness, and Patient and Parental Satisfaction in Children Undergoing Clinical Echocardiography Amy McCullough, PhD (American Humane Association): Pets in the Classroom (PIC): What are the Social, Behavioral, and Academic Effects of Classroom Pets for Children, 8-10 years? Charles Faulkner, PhD (Lincoln Memorial University): Measuring the Impact of a Mutually Reinforcing Relationship Between Pet Owners and Their Pets “We know from previous scientific research that animal-assisted therapy is effective in alleviating anxiety in hospital patients,” said Margaret Gruen, DVM, PhD, DACVB of Duke. “This is one of the first studies to focus on the potential of animal-assisted therapy to impact a clinical outcome. If results are successful, this study could potentially add non-pharmacologic, low-cost options to improve diagnostic quality for children having medical imaging procedures and could encourage broader use of therapy dogs in other pediatric...