A recent study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) convincingly demonstrates a pronounced statistical upswing in animal emergency hospital traffic on the eve of a full moon.

No longer is full-moon madness a purely human phenomenon. It now seems to impact pets, too. Whether it be a consequence of their human companions’ compulsions or purely their own has yet to be teased out. And I doubt seriously that’ll prove easily done. (I mean, Fluffy isn’t exactly volunteering a vet visit, moon on the rise or not.)

At issue, then, is whether pets are more likely to become infirm during a full moon or whether their humans are more likely to pick up on their illness and be willing to do something about it as a result of the moon’s effects, presumably tidal/gravitational in origin. The study clearly has no capacity to deduce anything beyond its numerical influences so it represents little more than marginal triviality.

Nonetheless, I’ve heard several vets talking excitedly about the article, perhaps because we so infrequently read such just-for-fun sorts of submissions to scholarly journals.

Moreover, personal experience dictates that I concur with the results of these findings. My own stints as an emergency vet never let me down in my hunch that the full moon made my work life crazy. I would swear that the pets were more poorly behaved, that their parents were unreachably obstinate or emotional, and that my own staff’s behavior was more worthy of reproach than usual. But maybe that’s just my own version of the full moon. I’d wager my staff might render another opinion.

At issue here is not merely the value of the observation printed in the JAVMA (I mean, what’s its worth if I can’t find a use for the esoteric BS they print in scholarly journals these days?), it’s also the implication that animals may be susceptible to the same inexplicable (but clearly natural) forces we are.

Yet on both fronts I find the article somewhat inconsequential. But it’s nice to have my feelings confirmed nonetheless, fluff and filler though I might suspect it to be. I wonder whether any of you might offer me an opinion, seeing as I clearly have no vision for the utility of such data, beyond aiding vets in their staffing needs and such.