Watch Your Pet…It’s a Full Moon Tonight!

You may have heard legends and seen movies of werewolves that appear on the night of a full moon lurking about, seeking to devour all in their path, to be stopped by nothing but a silver bullet. Well, the good news is that you don’t have to sleep with a silver bullet in your dresser drawer, but there may be something to this full moon phenomenon. Just look at your pet.

A study on pets was conducted in 2007 at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences by Raegan Wells, DVM, a researcher who wanted to find out if pets, like people,were affected by a full moon. Previous studies have concluded that people experienced more injuries and got into more trouble during periods when the moon was full. Wells discovered a correlation between more emergency visits for both cats and dogs during the periods occurring just before and after a full moon. Her study, “Canine and Feline Emergency Room Visits and the Lunar Cycle,” was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.It is thought that emergency rooms may see more patients a few days before and after a full moon because it’s lighter outside at night and the higher percentage of people out and about which could  increase chances of more accidents. Could this be the case with pets?

Looking at data from over an eleven year period, a total of 11,940 pets were seen at the university’s veterinary medical center for cardiac arrest, gastric problems, animal bites, epilepsy seizures, trauma, and other emergencies. The vets saw a total 9,407 dogs and 2,533 cats. The data revealed that during the times immediately preceding and following a full moon, the number of pets arriving at the emergency room increased by 28 percent for dogs and  21 percent for cats.

How do we explain the reason for our beloved pets propensity to be more susceptible to injury during this time? While Wells said of the study, “It is difficult to interpret the clinical significance of these findings,” it is imperative that during periods of a full moon when it is lighter outside, we should keep a close eye on our pets overall health, and be mindful of their environment to keep them safe and out of the emergency room.

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