Pets Also Receptive To Placebo Effect, Says New Study

A placebo is anything that seems to be a real medicinal treatment such as a pill, a shot, or any other fake treatment. Placebo effect is the result of a patient given a placebo treatment. A new study says that this is not just receptive for human but for pets too.

Research on the placebo effect proves that there is a great relationship between mind and body of a person. One of the most common theories is that the placebo effect is due to a person's expectations. If a person is expecting for a pill to do something regarding in his/her condition, then it's possible that the body's own chemistry can cause effects similar to what a medication might have caused.

Many believes that is a very effective technique to motivate patients. According to BBC Earth, some scientists believes that placebo is not just for humans, but can also be effective for their pets. It is strange to think that pets also receptive to placebo effect. We all know that animals don't have the conceptual understanding to make that belief possible.

In the 2010 study in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, researchers testing a treatment for canine epilepsy discovered that dogs in the placebo group were having fewer seizures than when they'd started the trial.

It doesn't mean that the dogs were reacting to the placebo, but it is possible that many dogs would have simply gotten better over time whether or not they were taking medicine.

“Epilepsy is a waxing and waning disease with a natural course,” veterinary neurologist and lead author of the study, Karen Muñana. “What happens in epilepsy is that owners will seek care when their dog’s disease — when their seizures in this case — are at the worst.” As they naturally recover while taking placebos, then, the upswing can become a case of misplaced cause-and-effect.

According to Henriques, a reporter from BBC News, placebos change the behavior of pet owners more than anything in the animals' physiology. "The owner's perception [is] that the dog is being monitored better, watched better," she says. "Perhaps because they're in the study [the owner is] more likely to give those medications that are being used to treat the underlying disease."

As a result, this would imply that the pet itself is not experiencing a placebo effect. It is the pet owner who might be responding to the placebo. The fact that the owner is monitoring their pet is helping the pet fell more at ease and to get better.


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