The new study by the journal Veterinary Record found that caring for a sick pet can have similar effects on your mental health to caring for a sick (human) relative. In a survey of 238 dog and cat owners, researchers found that those caring for pets with chronic or terminal illnesses reported higher levels of depression and anxiety.
Those who belonged to pet disease social media groups reported the highest levels of depressive symptoms, suggesting that pet-owners tend to seek support online for their distress.
Researchers noted that the study was undertaken on a small group of respondents and that further research would need to be carried out to provide conclusive results. However, this could be the start to reducing the caregiver burden for pet owners as further research may lead to vets better understanding how to support owners of sick pets.