Pet therapy helps decrease painkillers

Nov. 17, 2009 at 3:19 PM
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CHICAGO, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. medical researchers said patients using pet therapy may need less pain medication.

Researchers at Loyola University Health System in Chicago said adults recovering from total joint-replacement surgery given pet therapy required 50 percent less pain drugs that those not receiving pet therapy.

The study was presented by Julia Havey at the annual conference of the International Society of Anthrozoology and First Human Animal Interaction Conference in Kansas City, Mo.

"Evidence suggests that animal-assisted therapy can have a positive effect on a patient's psychosocial, emotional and physical well being," Havey said in a statement. "The data further support these benefits and build the case for expanding the use of pet therapy in recovery."

Havey and Loyola colleague Frances Vlasses have been raising puppies to become assistance dogs to people with physical and developmental disabilities for more than a decade through the program Canine Companions for Independence.

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