Depending on the style of music you are listening to, you may feel a variety of emotions. People use music to relax, to brighten a mood or to relate to other people. Listening to instrumental and vocal compositions is generally enjoyable, but humans are not the only ones who feel this way. Studies have shown that music can also have an effect on animals, from indoor pets to livestock.
Reduce side effects of anesthesia
It’s natural to worry about your cat when it goes in for surgery, but a recent study from the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery revealed that having an animal listen to classical music during the operation may be advantageous. The study monitored cats with headphones placed over their ears while they were under general anesthesia. The headphones exposed them to classical, pop and heavy metal music in two-minute intervals. The study measured the effects of the music through respiratory rate and by observing the diameter of the cats’ pupils. The end results revealed that the felines had the most beneficial reaction to the classical music, displaying lower respiratory rates and pupillary diameter.1
This information is significant to veterinary technicians because the use of classical music in feline surgeries may reduce the anesthetic dose given to our furry friends. This, in turn, could minimize unwelcome side effects of anesthesia.1
For vet techs, it’s worth considering the use of this method when working on felines in the future; the cats will be more relaxed during surgery, and you can be confident knowing you’re making them as comfortable as you can.
Soothe dogs in a kennel
Anyone who has left a pet at a kennel knows how hard it is to leave the family friend behind, but just imagine how difficult it is for them waiting for you to return. There’s no need to feel so guilty, though, as it has been found that music can be utilized to soothe dogs held in a kennel. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior reported that dogs exposed to classical music slept more and appeared more relaxed. In contrast, when the dogs were listening to heavy metal music, they displayed more agitated behavior, like sleeping less and barking more.2
Vet techs can use this information to make the canine’s stay better by playing a little classical music for the duration of the dog’s visit. It is also a reminder to avoid any sounds that may have adverse effects on the animals in your care.
If you’re thinking of handling larger animals after completing your vet tech program, then don’t forget to treat cows to a little classical music performance as well. NPR reported on a study by the University of Leicester, which found that when relaxing music was played for dairy cows, they produced 3 percent more milk.3 The cows reacted the best to slower songs with less than 100 beats per minute. A couple examples of the music used in this study are Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel.
Next time you have an appointment with a dairy farmer, you can now give him or her some advice on how to increase the milk yield by 3 percent. The farmer will be happy with the results and the cows will be able to enjoy some sounds other than those of the machinery.
As you’ve probably realized, classical or relaxing tunes are the most popular among the animal community. Keep this information in mind when working with animals in the future. You never know when a calming melody may come in handy.
1 “Influence of music and its genres on respiratory rate and pupil diameter variations in cats under general anesthesia: contribution to promoting patient safety,” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, March 2015. http://jfm.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/03/30/1098612X15575778.full.pdf+html
2 “Behavioral effects of auditory stimulation on kenneled dogs,” Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 2012. http://www.news.colostate.edu/content/documents/Behavioral%20effects%20of%20auditory%20stimulation%20on%20kenneled%20dogs%20published.pdf
3 “Moo-d Music: Do Cows Really Prefer Slow Jams?” NPR, March 2014.