18th November 2005

 

APPEAL FOR DOGS WITH A FEAR OF FIREWORKS

 

Dog owners whose pets are scared of fireworks are being invited to take part in a study by animal behaviourists at the University of Lincoln.

 

The universityís Biological Sciences Department has been asked to independently co-ordinate a clinical trial of a homeopathic remedy for fear of fireworks in dogs.

 

People have been using homeopathy for centuries yet there is still much controversy surrounding its effectiveness.

 

This is the same in veterinary medicine, where homeopathy is becoming an increasingly popular choice for pet owners partly because it is more economical to use than expensive drugs.

 

One of the advantages of carrying out a homeopathic study on animals is that it eliminates some of the effects caused by patient expectation such as the placebo effect. This is a well-documented medical phenomenon where a patient taking pills will feel better, regardless of what the pills contain, simply because they believe the pills will work.

 

Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine Daniel Mills said they need at least 150 dogs for the trial to go ahead. He explained: ďAs this is a placebo-controlled trial there are two treatments involved. One is the actual homeopathic remedy; the other is whatís known as a placebo which is very similar to the remedy except that it isnít believed to have any effect.

 

ďOne treatment either the remedy or the placebo, will be randomly assigned to each dog and neither the owner, their vet nor the researchers will know which one it is until the results are analysed.Ē

 

In addition to the administered treatment the dog owners themselves will be given basic behavioural advice on how to deal with their petís fear of fireworks.

 

Throughout the trial the owners will be asked to complete a daily diary to monitor their petís progress each week.

 

To request an information pack about the study contact Nina Cracknell at the University of Lincoln on 01522 895 452 or email ncracknell@lincoln.ac.uk.

For more information contact:

Kate Strawson, Assistant Press Officer

(01522) 886244Visit our news web pages:†† www.lincoln.ac.uk/news/latestnews.htm