Your dog makes strange vocalizations while she’s sleeping. Your cat moves his legs and almost seems to be running while he is asleep. Is there something wrong with your pet? Is your pet having a seizure? Or could there be a simpler explanation for the strange behaviors?
In all likelihood, your pet is simply dreaming. It could be a pleasant happy dream, or maybe your pet might be having the equivalent of bad dream that people sometimes experience.
Based upon the available research, it appears that our pets as well as many animals not only have dreams but may be able to retain actual sequences of events while they are asleep, according to MIT researchers in the Jan. 25 issue of the journal Neuron.
According to the research, studies indicate that animals’ brains follow the same series of sleeping states as ours do.
Studying laboratory rats, the researchers determined that the rats were in fact dreaming and that their dreams are connected to actual experiences, based upon the firing patterns of a collection of individual cells in the rats’ brains.
The hope is that this research may become a tool in treating memory disorders and maybe even forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. It may even offer clues to help us learn more efficiently.
So the next time you see or hear your pet doing something a bit unusual while he’s sleeping, take heart that he’s likely enjoying a well-deserved dream, possibly even reliving a fun experience he shared with you!
One of my favorite sayings by those who oppose the use of “alternative” therapies is as follows:
“Most alternative medicine is not mainstream for good reason. If it’s truly effective it will become mainstream and no longer alternative. If it remains alternative, it belongs there.” Scott L. Replogle, M.D.
There are several interesting points about this saying.
First, most of us who practice integrative medicine do not like the term “alternative.” That’s because we don’t consider what we do “alternative.” Rather, we are conventional doctors who are able to offer our patients a number of different therapies in addition to the standard conventional therapies such as surgery and mainstream pharmaceutical medications.
Second, we would love conventional doctors, including those who are skeptical of what we do, to accept the volumes of research that have been accumulated over the last 50 years proving that “alternative” therapies actually work. In other words, we don’t consider our therapies “alternative,” so why should anyone else?
No one except the most closed-minded among us would say that supplements such as fish oil, coenzyme Q-10, and glucosamine don’t work and shouldn’t be accepted as part of the many treatment options we have available for patients.
My contention is that “alternative” therapies remain “alternative” because many in the conventional community refuse to accept them as mainstream medicine, despite the fact that the majority of us do accept these therapies as just a normal part of what we do and expect from medicine.
Hopefully closed minds will become open and the term “alternative” will disappear and we can just talk about “medicine,” always seeking to choose whichever therapy is best for ourselves and our patients.