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The Human-Animal Bond

Posted 06.01.17 by Susanne Heartsill, DVM

A wise man once said, “until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains un-awakened.” No truer words were ever spoken. Veterinarians know first hand that people are happier and healthier in the presence of animals. Scientifically-documented benefits of the human-animal bond include decreased blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and enhanced feelings of well-being. The benefits of therapy pets visiting with the ill and elderly is also well documented. The American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes the human-animal bond as “a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both. This includes, but is not limited to, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment.”

Veterinarians primarily support and defend this bond by providing wellness and preventative care. Many of us have seen the sick puppy whose disease could have been prevented with a simple and inexpensive vaccine…or the sick heartworm positive dog whose disease could have been prevented with a simple monthly preventative. Zoonotic parasites such as hookworms, roundworms and ticks can make people and animals sick; therefore, treatment and prevention of these pests is in the best interest of human health. Your veterinarian is your pet’s advocate. We speak for him or her because they cannot. We know that finding a problem early leads to better treatment options, potential for cure and increased quality of life for your pet…by supporting that human-animal bond we are doing what’s best for people as well.

Keeping pets happy and healthy keeps people happy and healthy. Supporting the human-animal bond is just one way veterinarians advocate for human health too.

Dr. Susanne Heartsill

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