Last week, American Humane revealed the results of its seven-year “Canines and Childhood Cancer Study,” the first and largest randomized, controlled clinical trial to rigorously measure the effects of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) in the field of pediatric oncology.
The study, published in the Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing and funded by Zoetis and the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) Foundation, showed evidence that regular visits from a therapy dog can provide significant psychosocial benefits to families of children undergoing treatment for cancer. Benefits include improved communication within families and between parents and medical staff, as well as reduced stress levels and improved emotional functioning in parents.
“This study advances our understanding of the benefits of the vital bond shared between people and animals,” said principal investigator and American Humane National Director of Humane Research Dr. Amy McCullough. “We believe the findings may further increase access to therapy animals in hospital environments, enhance therapy dog training and practice, and improve well-being outcomes for families facing the challenges of childhood cancer.”
About the Canines and Childhood Cancer Study
To learn more about the Canines and Childhood Cancer Study, including methodology, Zoetis’ involvement and full results, read American Humane’s press release. You can also find media coverage of the study here:
- NBC’s TODAY Parenting Blog: How Best Friends Help Us in Our Worst Times