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  • Ethology and veterinary practice: The HIREC effect and companion animal…

    Dr. Myrna Milani Pet Care

    Despite its lack of notoriety like some animal behavioral concepts, human-induced rapid evolutionary change, or HIREC, possesses the potential to alter wild and companion animal behavior in many ways. As wildlife scientists became increasingly concerned about the effects of climate change and habitat destruction on wild animal populations, some researchers chose to study the behavior effects on wild animals who couldn’t or wouldn’t vacate habitats overtaken by humans. In a relatively short time, these animals not only survived in these environments but thrived.

  • Ethology and veterinary practice: Client perceptions of animal behavioral…

    Dr. Myrna Milani Pet Care

    When veterinarians begin integrating the treatment of behavioral problems into their practices, it may surprise them how client perceptions of these problems may differ compared to medical ones. Consequently, these client perceptions may blindside practitioners and sabotage problem behavior resolutions. Here are some of the most problematic ones I’ve encountered.

  • Ethology and veterinary practice: Human beliefs about animal medical vs.…

    Dr. Myrna Milani Pet Care

    Ethology, by definition, is the study of animal behavior in the animal's natural environment. For the companion animal, that environment consists of the owner's home, property and wherever that person routinely takes the animal and the associated animal health, behavior and bond components. Within that complex environment, owner beliefs about animal medical vs. behavioral problems can differ considerably.

  • Ethology and veterinary practice: Ethology- vs. problem-based behavioral…

    Dr. Myrna Milani Pet Care

    Despite the growing concern about the limitations of the problem-oriented approach and the restrictive thinking it fosters, most people take a problem-oriented approach to their companion animals’ behavior. They focus on the problem instead of the on bigger picture. This variation on the theme of silo-thinking may make getting a comprehensive ethology-based history difficult when perceived companion animal behavior problems arise.

  • Zugunruhe and companion animal behavior

    Dr. Myrna Milani Pet Care

    Prior to migration, animals that migrate experience multiple physiological and behavioral changes. Ethologists adopted the German word zugunruhe, which means "migratory restlessness" to describe this phenomenon. Aside from dog and cat owners who head south in the winter with their pets and back north in the summer, we seldom think of migration as a factor in companion animal behavior. When most of us think of migration, we think of birds and monarch butterflies making their semi-annual flights. However, many species migrate.

  • How being mistreated because of learning disabilities made me push back

    Amy Temple Pet Care

    In 2006, shortly after moving to Florida, I was hired as a dog sitter for a couple who were living in the same residential community as me. They had the cutest Boston terrier with the calmest disposition I had ever seen in a dog. It was the perfect job. I could set my own hours and the pay was pretty good. However, the couple's true colors began to show shortly after. I think my learning disabilities were the reasoning behind the couple's behavior. They often talked down to me.

  • The companion animal behavior implications of R- and K-species orientations

    Dr. Myrna Milani Pet Care

    Can wild animal ethology concepts like R and K species help us understand better companion animal behavior? To answer that question, we first need to know what R and K species are. Wild R species live in harsh, unpredictable environments. They produce large numbers of offspring that mature rapidly and require minimal to no parental care. Most of these animals only mate once and die young. Compare them to K species, who live in more stable environments with sufficient but limited resources for which animals must compete.

  • Ethology and veterinary practice: When bonds that worked no longer do

    Dr. Myrna Milani Pet Care

    One of the basic tenets in ethology reminds us that we can say nothing about what an animal’s behavior means unless we know the context in which it occurs. But what does that actually mean? In an effort not to overwhelm my clients, I usually define context as the recognition of what preceded the perceived problem behavior, the behavior itself, and what follows it. "What follows it" includes their responses to the animal’s behavior. However, as a clinician, I also must acknowledge that context involves a lot more.

  • Feeding large breed puppies

    Natalie Asaro, Dr. Jennifer Adolphe and Michele Dixon Pet Care

    As scientific research has progressed, feeding growing puppies has proven to be a complex task, especially for large breed puppies. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), "large breed" refers to dog breeds that typically grow to an adult weight of 70 pounds or more. Unlike smaller dogs that remain relatively similar in size throughout their life, an average large breed puppy undergoes a 70-fold increase in size during its first year. There are several key nutritional factors that must be considered when formulating a recipe suitable for the growth of large breed puppies.

  • Ethology and veterinary practice: Seasonal companion animal behaviors

    Dr. Myrna Milani Pet Care

    With the arrival of spring, the number of calls regarding animals displaying problem behaviors often increases. Both cats and dogs may become more aggressive toward members of their own species, including those with whom they live. Multiple natural cycles of varying length contribute to the behavioral unrest. In the wild and free-roaming domestic animal populations, the physiological and behavioral changes associated with some of these cycles first support the territorial displays that occur in the early spring. But how does spaying and neutering affect companion animal responses to these same events?

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