Animal Behavior Changes with a Full Moon: Myth or Fact?
It is very common for vet assistants to receive inquiries from their clients that are a bit on the odd side. A popular question among many clients is, "Will the full moon affect my pet?" It is then up to the veterinary assistant to advise the client to the best of his abilities, but how do you answer a question like that? Is there any fact behind a full moon having actual health or behavior affects on a pet, or is it all myths and rumors?
How the Moon Affects the Earth
The moon and Earth have a very strong magnetic pull on each other. As water is not stationary and able to move about freely, the Earth does not have full control over it. This enables the magnetic pull of the moon to influence large bodies of water on Earth. This magnetic pull is so strong that it creates ocean currents, which in turn cause tides to form.
Statistics Show Doctor Visits Increase During a Full Moon
As we have seen the lunar effects on the Earth, many people have begun to believe that this magnetic pull can also influence animals and humans alike. One study done by Dr. Raegan Wells, DVM, suggested that emergency room visits during the three days the moon is full increases by a staggering percentage. Her research shows that there was a 23 percent increase in the number of cats and a 28 percent increase in the number of dogs in the emergency room during a full moon’s three-night peak.
Full Moon Equals Increased Activity
The study sited above is just one of many studies hypothesizing on the full moon and its effects on animals’ behaviors and health. The issue still begs the question: Does the full moon affect animals? One must remember that those three days of peak light from the moon often encourage night activities, which could lead to more pet owners having nocturnal outings with their pets. As activities increase outside at night, a greater amount of emergency room visits could feasibly be expected.
Behavior Change is Scientifically Unproven, But...
It is the job of the veterinary technician to caution pet owners on the importance of pet safety while out at night. Light reflecting collars or collar flashers should be used so automobiles may see your pet from a distance. Also, owners should be given the contact information to the nearest emergency center so they may plan accordingly. While many workers in the veterinary world like to joke about the weird occurrence that can happen on a full moon, and while many studies have hypothesized about the possible effects the moon may have on your pet, it has not been scientifically proven yet. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t be careful during a nighttime romp with Fido!
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