How Ethology Can Help Improve End of Life Care for Animal Patients: Part 1 in a 3 Part Series Pain is arguably the most important clinical and ethical issue in end of life care for companion animals. Research suggests that many companion animals—perhaps numbering in the millions—are not being treated for pain or are being treated inadequately. [i] A significant portion of missed diagnoses, misdiagnoses, undertreatment, and overtreatment likely can be tied to incorrect behavioral assessments, particularly on the part of pet owners but also, perhaps, on the part of veterinarians. The author's dog, Maya Source: Jessica Pierce Pain is a quintessentially personal experience. Indeed, the most common medical definition of pain is “what the person says it is.” A large body of research has explored how the experience and expression of pain can be influenced by gender , age, past experiences, and cognitive priming . Even individual personality can influence how people … [Read more...] about Personality and Pain in Animal End of Life Care
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Source: fotosparrow/Shutterstock How well do you know your cat? Is your cat extroverted or shy ? Impulsive or cautious? Greedy? Jealous ? Playful? The study of animal personality — or the expression of enduring, stable behavioral patterns — has a long and rich history ( Whitham and Washburn ; Dugatkin ), and we have robust literature in exploring the personality traits in chimpanzees, dogs, pigeons, mice, and even spiders. There has also been some work on personality traits in wild felid species kept in captivity, such as cheetahs. Yet until now, relatively little work had been done to try to understand the personality of the felines we know best — the domestic cats with whom millions of people around the world share their homes, and under whose rule many of us live. A study recently published by Carla Litchfield and colleagues in PLOS One — “The ‘Feline Five’: An exploration of personality in pet cats ( Felis catus )” — set out to investigate personality in … [Read more...] about Do You Know Your Cat’s Personality?
What can you say about a movie where they kill Gwyneth Paltrow in the first few minutes? That’s Contagion , the 2010 movie from Steven Soderbergh that shows, among other things, that we knew exactly how a pandemic would unfold 10 years before the real thing hit. Sadly, it seems some of our leaders skipped the screening. But for the rest of us, that scary movie may have toughened us for the real deal. Can frights really make you more resistant to a pandemic? The screams A new study shows that gorehounds may be better prepared for nasty things like the coronavirus pandemic. Like many of the COVID-19 studies today, this one has yet to be peer-reviewed. (In this juiced-up environment, science writers like me are forced to stick a wet finger in the wind to judge the veracity of unreviewed research. It’s a poor indicator; caveat emptor.) The study looked at 310 people and found that those who were fans of horror, apocalyptic, zombie, or alien-invasion films showed greater … [Read more...] about Screams and Giggles to Beat the Pandemic
It has become more and more common for young people around the world to describe themselves not as a “man” or a “woman,” but as “something else.” One term for this something else is transgender . Transgender is an umbrella term for a wide variety of different identities (e. g ., genderqueer, gender variant, gender fluid, gender non-conforming, hyper-feminine gay man, asexual, etc.). The common core of transgender identities is they don’t fit within traditional cisgender binaries of men versus women (“cisgender” refers to people whose sexual and gendered identities align in typical ways). Transgendered individuals frequently face intense prejudices and physical dangers in trying to live their authentic lives around the world (looking at you, North Carolina ). Here is a brief, emotionally-compelling video describing some transgender people’s problematic experiences with health care in the USA. It’s a powerful video, I encourage you to watch it and think about how … [Read more...] about Sex and Gender Are Dials—Not Switches
Over the past year, we’ve all been living a surreal and unsettling existence wrought by the COVID-19 virus. This most unwelcome "visitor" to our tiny planet inflicted a stifling and lethal pandemic on our species. In a rare occurrence in our multi-millennial history, every man, woman, and child throughout the world has been affected by this unrelenting microscopic foe. We are all inconvenienced, many are troubled or weary, and others are overwrought. Millions of people have fallen ill worldwide, almost 3 million have died, and countless are in mourning . Life has been difficult for everyone—people living alone, children out of school learning remotely, parents overwhelmed, businesses shuttered, bills and debts accruing. We are all affected but alas, not equally: the poor, the downtrodden and exploited; the physically and mentally ill; the elderly; the isolated and lonely, have borne the worst burdens. Our moods and opinions change as we get daily conflicting information … [Read more...] about Pandemic Woes and Worries, Yet Wonderment