Evaluation of the effect of topical application of lavender oil on autonomic nerve activity in dogs

Migiwa Komiya Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, United Graduate School of Veterinary Science, Yamaguchi University, 1677-1 Yoshida, Yamaguchi-shi, Yamaguchi-ken, 753-8515, Japan.
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, 4-101 Minami, Koyama-cho, Tottori-shi, Tottori-ken, 680-8553, Japan.

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Akihiko Sugiyama Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, 4-101 Minami, Koyama-cho, Tottori-shi, Tottori-ken, 680-8553, Japan.

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Kazuko Tanabe Japan Animal Aromatherapy Association, 3-644-8 Kamiyama-cho, Funabashi-shi, Chiba-ken, 273-0046, Japan.

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Tomiya Uchino Veterinary ME Research Center Co Ltd, 487-10 Ina Akiruno-shi, Tokyo, 190-0142, Japan.

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Takashi Takeuchi Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, 4-101 Minami, Koyama-cho, Tottori-shi, Tottori-ken, 680-8553, Japan.

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Abstract

Objective—To investigate the effect of topical application of undiluted lavender oil on sympathovagal activity in dogs.

Animals—5 healthy adult male Beagles.

Procedures—An ambulatory ECG monitor (Holter recorder) was placed on each dog (day0), and 48-hour ECGs were recorded, beginning at 8:00 the next day (day 1). Lavender oil (0.18 mL) or saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (0.18 mL) was topically applied to the inner pinnas of both ears of all dogs at 8:30, 12:00, 15:30, and 19:00 on day 2. Each trial was duplicated in each dog, with an interval of 3 to 4 days between trials. Spectral indices of heart rate variability, power in the high-frequency range, and the ratio of low-frequency to high-frequency power were calculated as an indirect estimate of autonomic nerve activity.

Results—When dogs were treated with lavender oil, the mean heart rate was significantly lower during the period of 19:00 to 22:30 on day 2, compared with the mean heart rate during the same period when dogs were treated with saline solution. On the other hand, high-frequency power during the period of 15:30 to 19:00 was significantly higher when dogs were treated with lavender oil, compared with the high-frequency power during the same period when dogs were treated with saline solution.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The study revealed some evidence that topical application of lavender oil affected vagal activity in dogs. However, whether such an effect exists and whether lavender oil has a calming effect on dogs remains equivocal and requires additional investigation.

Abstract

Objective—To investigate the effect of topical application of undiluted lavender oil on sympathovagal activity in dogs.

Animals—5 healthy adult male Beagles.

Procedures—An ambulatory ECG monitor (Holter recorder) was placed on each dog (day0), and 48-hour ECGs were recorded, beginning at 8:00 the next day (day 1). Lavender oil (0.18 mL) or saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (0.18 mL) was topically applied to the inner pinnas of both ears of all dogs at 8:30, 12:00, 15:30, and 19:00 on day 2. Each trial was duplicated in each dog, with an interval of 3 to 4 days between trials. Spectral indices of heart rate variability, power in the high-frequency range, and the ratio of low-frequency to high-frequency power were calculated as an indirect estimate of autonomic nerve activity.

Results—When dogs were treated with lavender oil, the mean heart rate was significantly lower during the period of 19:00 to 22:30 on day 2, compared with the mean heart rate during the same period when dogs were treated with saline solution. On the other hand, high-frequency power during the period of 15:30 to 19:00 was significantly higher when dogs were treated with lavender oil, compared with the high-frequency power during the same period when dogs were treated with saline solution.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The study revealed some evidence that topical application of lavender oil affected vagal activity in dogs. However, whether such an effect exists and whether lavender oil has a calming effect on dogs remains equivocal and requires additional investigation.

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