Pet’s diseases and owner’s anxiety: is the leash an umbilical cord?
Keywords:attachment, dog owner axiety, cat owner anxiety
Nowadays domestic animals take part to the family system and represent a fundamental element of its equilibrium. Therefore, pet’s symptoms or diseases may become stressors for owners. The aims of the present study were to evaluate if the management of a pet, especially when affected by a disease, may influence the anxiety of the owner and if some pathologies or symptoms may affect owner’s anxiety more deeply. 85 owners of dogs and cats presented at the Department of Veterinary Clinics of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Pisa for dermatologic, gastro enteric and nephrological disorders were enrolled in the study through the administration of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Test (STAI). The questionnaire was anonymous and in accordance to privacy laws. Data were statistically analysed through the t-test and ANOVA test. Both men and women showed significantly higher values of feature anxiety compared with state anxiety but men presented significantly higher scores than women. No significant differences were found in owners concerning age and educational level. Cat’s owners showed significantly lower levels of anxiety than dogs ones and owners of nephropatic patients were less anxious than owners of gastroenteric and dermatologic subjects were. The present data showed that owner’s anxiety could be affected more or less deeply by pet’s disease according to the evidence pet species kind of disease, seriousness of symptoms and owner’s gender.