Las Vegas-Pets have the power to heal our bodies, soothe our souls and calm our minds. That's the message Edward Creagan, MD, gave to more than 300 veterinarians last month at the 74th annual Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas. The event, "The Pet Prescription," sponsored by Veterinary Pet Insurance, featured expert findings on the physiological and psychological effects of pets on people.
Las Vegas-Pets have the power to heal our bodies, soothe our soulsand calm our minds.
That's the message Edward Creagan, MD, gave to more than 300 veterinarianslast month at the 74th annual Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas.The event, "The Pet Prescription," sponsored by Veterinary PetInsurance, featured expert findings on the physiological and psychologicaleffects of pets on people.
Creagan, who's spent 28 years working in the world-renowned Mayo Clinic'soncology unit, says after treating 55,000 terminally ill patients, he knowsone thing's for certain:
"Pets are the catalyst of the mind-body connection. The way we thinkis the way we become."
Four-legged life savers
It's been proven, Creagan says, that fear, stress and loneliness canshorten a person's life, causing cardiac arrests and strokes that oftenare driven by emotion.
"In the United States, 40 percent of us will undergo psychoanalysisat some point in our lifetime, one in three will have some type of a mentalbreakdown and 27 percent of all teenagers will contemplate suicide,"he says. "My advice is to get a cat or dog. It will simplify a lotof miseries."
Citing data from veterinarians, physicians and psychiatrists, Creagansurmises that relationships with pets can be as important a catalyst tohealth as diet and exercise.
"Pets love us unconditionally," he says, "and our attitudeabout ourselves has a direct effect on our health."
For example, a 30-year study conducted at the Mayo Clinic reveals pessimistsdie, on average, eight years younger than optimists, Creagan notes.
"We simply don't need a mathematical model to prove this,"he says, "You need that four-legged personal trainer at the end ofthe bed. Without positive connections, it's very difficult to go the distancein today's society."
People, he says, succeed when they feel good about themselves-a truthpet-owning cancer patients show while hanging on in a terminal condition.
"Social isolation equals mortality," he says. "Whetherit be a dog, cat, fish or bird, pets provide nonjudgmental affection thatwe all need. We're all in the same canoe. We all need someone to love."