The Canines and Childhood Cancer Study: Examining Behaviors and Stress in Therapy Dogs
Dr. Kevin Morris, PhD
The primary objective is to determine the stress levels of therapy dogs during regular AAI sessions with pediatric oncology patients and their families. The observed behavior of the therapy dogs in each session will be compared to their baseline and post-session salivary cortisol levels.
To date, 26 animal-handlers have consented to participate and have collected their dog’s baseline saliva samples; 8 of these teams are currently visiting with patients and are collecting canine saliva after each AAI session. Nearly 250 canine saliva samples have been collected and approximately 40 hours of videotaped canine behavior from AAI sessions have been obtained.
Analyses of canine salivary cortisol and observed session behavior are in-process and are expected to continue until late 2015.