LOS ANGELES, Aug. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Mental health care isn't just for
humans anymore. Mental Health and Well-being in Animals, published this month
by Blackwell Publishing, is the first textbook to be written on mental health
in animals. Recent research has now clearly shown that psychological and
emotional issues once believed important only for people-happiness, stress
management, the mind-body connection, emotional suffering, mental illness,
emotional abuse, and mental cruelty -- are experienced by animals. With
writings by the world's leading authorities in the fields of animal emotion
research, animal behavior, cognitive science, neuroscience, and veterinary
medicine, this landmark textbook ushers in a new era of animal care and
establishes mental health as a bona fide field of animal health care.
Franklin D. McMillan, D.V.M., on the adjunct faculty of the Western
University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine and the
editor-author of the text, noted that, "Until very recently, mental health
issues in animals were important only when they caused pets to do things that
their owners would disapprove of-so-called 'misbehavior' -- that would then be
dealt with by training techniques to 'correct' the behavior. And mental health
concerns for farm animals, laboratory and research animals, and captive birds
weren't even heard of." He added, "We now know we can make the lives and
emotional well-being of animals much better than we could in the past, and
directing our efforts at what goes on in their heads is the key to maximizing
their quality of life."
Throughout the history of medicine and psychology the scientific community
as a whole had given no meaningful credence to the concern of mental health in
animals, often simply dismissing it as naive anthropomorphism. Jaak Panksepp,
a neuroscientist at Bowling Green State University and the discoverer of
laughter in rats, said, "The scientific evidence supporting animal emotions is
now overwhelming. After all, every drug used to treat emotional and
psychiatric disorders in humans was first developed and found effective in
animals. This kind of research would obviously have no value if animals were
incapable of experiencing these emotional states."
McMillan stresses that the establishment of a field of mental health in
animals does not only mean that pets and other animals will receive care for
emotional distress and mental illnesses, but also that "we now have the
knowledge and tools to help animals enjoy lives that are fulfilled rather than
just physically healthy."
Dr. Franklin D. McMillan is associated with Western University of Health
Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine in Southern California and the author
of Unlocking the Animal Mind: How Your Pet's Feelings Hold the Key to His
Health and Happiness.
The website for the book is
SOURCE Franklin D. McMillan, D.V.M.