Animal-assisted therapy eases postoperative pain

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Maywood, Ill. -- People who received pet therapy while recovering from total joint replacement surgery required 50 percent less pain medication than those not receiving pet therapy.

Maywood, Ill.

-- People who received pet therapy while recovering from total joint replacement surgery required 50 percent less pain medication than those not receiving pet therapy.

This was the conclusion of a recent study presented at the joint 18th Annual Conference of the International Society of Anthrozoology and the First Human-Animal Interaction Conference that took place in Kansas City, Mo., in late October.

"Evidence suggests that animal-assisted therapy can have a positive effect on a patient's psychosocial, emotional and physical well being," said study presenter Julia Havey, RN, from the Department of Medical Center Information Systems at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill. "These data further support these benefits and build the case for expanding the use of pet therapy in recovery."

The dogs used in the study were part a program called Canine Companions for Independence. This nonprofit organization teaches the dogs 40 commands to help motivate, rehabilitate or soothe people who have physical and developmental disabilities.

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