- Bridget Marquardt | Animal Nation | Fri, Aug 10, 2012 4:12 PM EDT | Comments
We recently visited a clinic for children with developmental disabilities where therapists are using horses to provide occupational and physical therapy. It's called hippotherapy and at McKenna Farms in Dallas, Georgia, the patients range from autistic children to those with physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy.
We met one four year-old boy named Noah, whose cerebral palsy prevents him from sitting upright or fully using his hands or legs. For Noah, doing his therapy while riding on the horse helps him build strength in his trunk muscles that will help him work towards the goal of keeping his body upright and head up. His therapists also say that, since the stride length and pace of the horse so closely mimic the human stride, these hippotherapy sessions are helping his brain and muscles learn the patterns involved in walking. They are also of the the few times he gets to experience what it might feel like to walk.
Noah's mom says the horses have made a huge difference in
- Sarah D. Bunting | Animal Nation | Tue, Aug 7, 2012 1:18 PM EDT | Comments
When your cat leaves you the occasional "gift" on the back steps, you probably don't think much of it. He's a cat, after all – a hunter. Catching mice, birds, even the occasional garter snake is just what he does (even if you sometimes wish he'd hide the evidence).
But Tigger may kill more than four times as much as what he brings home. Kittycams attached to house cats by researchers at the University of Georgia revealed what USA Today called "a secret world of slaughter," and while only 30% of roaming domesticated felines kill small prey – averaging about two animals a week – the feline population is responsible for a significant decline in U.S. bird species. "One in three" of those species is on the decrease, American Bird Conservancy president George Fenwick told USA Today, and "cat predation" is one reason why.
Why didn't we know the extent of said "cat predation" before? U of G researcher Kerrie Anne Loyd explained that "previous estimates were probably too conservative," because t...Read More »
By WebVet.comDogs can join the police force and monkeys are our fellow primates, but new research found that parrots might be the smartest animal of them all. A new study found that African Grey Parrots performed as well as three-year-old children on a mental test.
African Grey Parrot
The test involved hiding pieces of walnut inside one of two containers. "One or both was then shaken and the birds, which are used to the idea of the containers holding treats, used their beak to upend the one with the hidden walnut 70 to 80 percent of the time," according to the Daily Mail.
The high success rate means that the birds were able to link the rattling sound to food -- and even more impressively, understand that when an empty container was shaken, it meant food was in the alternate box.
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"Such behaviour has so far been shown only in great apes but not in any other non-human animal," concluded researcher Dr. Christian Schloegl.
African Grey Parrot:...Read More »
- Babble.com | Animal Nation | Mon, Aug 6, 2012 1:00 PM EDT | CommentsDon't expect this to be covered by your insurance, but getting a pet might be just the thing for teaching autistic children to share and comfort. A new study found that autistic children with pets have better "prosocial behaviors" like sharing, and comforting, than autistic children without pets. The study, conducted in France and published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, was small, and researchers said that larger studies would be needed to confirm the findings. Interestingly, the study only found the difference when the child's family adopted a pet when the child was age five or older. Children who had had pets from birth did not show the same results.
Maxwell feeds his kitten, Steve, with a bottle. Steve, who is female, is named after a Minecraft character.
Does this mean all parents of autistic children should run out and get pets. Absolutely not.
"We certainly don't want families who are already stressed to get the idea that they need to add a pet to their family if that pet is not really wanted," said Alycia Halladay, PhD to WebMD. Dr. Halladay is director of envi...Read More »
- Webvet | Animal Nation | Tue, Aug 7, 2012 7:25 AM EDT | Comments
By WebVet.com...Read More »
Everyone is inspired to lose weight in different ways. For some an unflattering picture will spark a diet and exercise routine, others are motivated by an upcoming event -- and for Lindsey Evans, it was her dog Millie.
Millie had nearly starved to death when Lindsey rescued her, but the Rhodesian Ridgeback quickly put on weight thanks to her new mom's TLC -- and the junk food Lindsey shared with her. Soon Lindsey had ballooned to 350 pounds, while Millie tipped the scales at 126 -- nearly twice the weight considered "healthy" for her size.
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Vets were shocked at Millie's girth when Lindsey brought her in for a leg operation and quickly put her on a crash diet. As Lindsey watched her pup shrink to healthy 70 pounds, the 39-year-old knew it was time to follow.
"I thought if my dog Millie can do it so can I," Lindsey told the Daily Mail. Earlier this year, she started a diet program and cut junk food from her life.
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