Can aromatherapy be used to reduce anxiety in hospitalised felines
Monday, April 2, 2018
Background:Within veterinary practice, animals can feel anxious for a number of reasons such as exposure to novel environments, including unfamiliar sounds and smells, the feeling of lack of self-control or previous negative experience. As part of a holistic approach within human medicine, aromatherapy has been utilised in minimising pre-operative stress, reducing anxiety, as well as reducing post-operative pain.Aim:The aim of this study was to assess whether lavender oil is effective in reducing stress in felines.Method:A total of 16 cats took part in the study at a veterinary practice. Eight cats were exposed to lavender oil through inhalation aromatherapy. The other eight cats formed the control group and where not exposed to the lavender oil. Each cat's behaviour was observed and recorded at 10 minute intervals over a period of 30 minutes and scored using ‘Kessler & Turners 1997 Cat Stress Score Chart’.Results:The results showed a statistically significant reduction in behaviours associated with stress and anxiety between the aromatherapy and control groups at each interval: admission (Mann-Whitney U test: w=89.5, n=8,8, p=0.02), 10 minutes (Mann-Whitney U test: w=96.0, n=8,8, p=<0.01), 20 minutes (Mann-Whitney U test: w=96.5, n=8,8, p=<0.01) and 30 minutes (Mann-Whitney U test: w=99.0, n=8,8, p=<0.01) suggesting that the lavender oil does have anxiolytic affects and this can evoke therapeutic responses in felines.
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