Washington, D.C. (October 25, 2016) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a $44,000 grant to Duke University School of Medicine’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology for a new research study titled Impact of Animal Assisted Therapy on Quality, Completeness, and Patient and Parental Satisfaction in Children Undergoing Clinical Echocardiography.
This study will examine the influence of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) on young children undergoing an echocardiogram. It is hypothesized that children will have a more complete and higher quality echocardiogram in the presence of therapy dogs. In addition, parents are expected to report higher visit satisfaction scores and greater exam comfort for their children.
“Echocardiography is an effective way to use ultrasound to ‘see’ inside the heart, and while taking the pictures is non-invasive, it can still be a scary procedure for young children,” said the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Piers C.A. Barker, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Duke University School of Medicine. “Typically, we must sedate children who have trouble holding still so that we can get adequate pictures. This study aims to evaluate whether animal-assisted therapy could serve as an effective alternative technique to comfort the children and put them at ease, potentially resulting in more complete echocardiograms, higher quality images, and avoidance of sedation drugs.”
“We know from previous scientific research that animal-assisted therapy is effective in alleviating anxiety in hospital patients,” said co-investigator, Margaret Gruen, DVM, PhD, DACVB of Duke. “This is one of the first studies to focus on the potential of animal-assisted therapy to impact a clinical outcome. If results are successful, this study could potentially add non-pharmacologic, low-cost options to improve diagnostic quality for children having medical imaging procedures and could encourage broader use of therapy dogs in other pediatric cardiology settings.”
The two-and-a-half-year project is a collaboration between Duke’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology and the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The team has partnered with the Pets@Duke program, which certifies therapy dogs to interact with patients throughout Duke University Health System hospitals.
The study will examine 150 children between the ages of 1 and 5 and randomly assign them to a group: canine-assisted therapy only; canine-assisted therapy plus standard distraction techniques; and standard distraction techniques only. Dr. Barker – along with co-investigators Bruce W. Keene, DVM, MSc, DACVIM of NC State, Michael J. Campbell, MD of Duke and Margaret Gruen, DVM, PhD, DACVB of Duke – will evaluate quality, completeness and parental satisfaction of echocardiograms among the three groups, as well as reduction of stress or fear among the children.
The HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information about the HABRI Foundation, please visit www.habri.org.
More Press Releases
Virtual Pet Week on Capitol Hill Celebrates Pets during Pandemic
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) virtually delivered the message that pets are good for our health and wellbeing through Pet Week on Capitol Hill. Pet Week featured conversations with pet care leaders and members of Congress about the importance of pet ownership in America and the scientific evidence that shows how pets and people are good for each other. “HABRI is proud to host Pet Night on Capitol Hill, but since we couldn’t be together in person, we decided to build a virtual Pet Week on Capitol Hill,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI’s Executive Director. “The entire pet care community came together to share the power of pets with Congress, and we ended up with even greater participation, which shows how the human-animal bond has grown even stronger during the pandemic.” Pet Week highlighted timely issues including the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on pet adoption in America and the importance of passing lifesaving pet-related legislation aimed at improving the lives of veterans with PTSD and survivors of domestic violence. Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5) discussed the importance of One Health Act legislation aimed at helping protect people and pets from zoonotic diseases, and the key role of veterinary medicine in preventing future pandemics. Thousands of participants experienced the human-animal bond from afar, with virtual visits from Pet Partners therapy animals and adoptable pets from the Humane Rescue Alliance. Pet Week also featured a special guest appearance from baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony La Russa, who spoke on the lifesaving impact of service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress. For Pet Week’s closing celebration, the Animal Health Institute crowned the winners of the Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill contest, recognizing the most adorable congressional companions from both sides of the aisle. Dog: Sergeant Pepper Owner: Syd Terry Office of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) Cat: Jackson Owner: Liz Leibowitz Office of Senator Cardin...
LifeLearn Animal Health Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that LifeLearn Animal Health has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the mutually beneficial health benefits of companion animals. “LifeLearn is proud to become a HABRI supporter,” said Randy Valpy, President and CEO of LifeLearn. “The bond between people and their pets has been shown to influence the care that pet owners provide for their pets. So, supporting HABRI aligns with LifeLearn’s core commitment to advance animal health and education worldwide.” “LifeLearn is a leader in delivering innovative, trusted, and expert-vetted education resources for both veterinary teams and pet owners, which is what makes them such a good fit for a HABRI partnership,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI Executive Director. “LifeLearn can spread the word to key audiences about the strong connection between human and animal health.” HABRI research shows that when pet owners are educated about scientific research on the health benefits of pets, 92% say they are more likely to maintain their pet’s health, including keeping up with vaccines and preventative medicine. Additionally, 88% of pet owners are more likely to provide their pet with quality nutrition and 66% are less likely to skip visits to the veterinarian’s office when educated on the science behind the health benefits of pet ownership. “By creating education platforms that make it easier for people to communicate within the animal health profession, LifeLearn is making an important contribution towards strengthening bonds and improving lives on both ends of the leash,” Feldman added. About LifeLearn Animal Health Celebrating 25 years of continuing innovation and excellence, LifeLearn Inc. provides education and communications products and services to the veterinary profession, animal health organizations, and pet service businesses. LifeLearn’s award-winning competencies in digital media, combined with longstanding veterinary...
PAWS Act Coalition Hails Passage of Appropriations Bill as Key Milestone in Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence and their Pets
The PAWS Act Coalition, a group of nonprofit and for-profit organizations, lauded the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, which, for the first time, will provide $2 million in USDA grants to enable more domestic violence shelters to become pet-friendly so that victims of domestic violence and their pets may shelter and heal together. The grants come one year after the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act was authorized as part of the 2019 Farm Bill, which received bipartisan support in its passage. “These new grants will help expand the network of domestic violence shelters which allow pets to accompany their families seeking safe shelter,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Purina. “This is an important milestone in the coalition’s collective efforts to create safer communities for pets and pet owners, and Purina will remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting the bond between domestic abuse survivors and their pets by ensuring they can safely heal together.” The PAWS Act Coalition would like to thank the original co-sponsors of the Pet and Women Safety Act for their leadership and commitment to its passage, especially the lead sponsors Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and former Senator Dean Heller (R-NV). The Coalition is also particularly grateful for Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) for spearheading the effort to pass the bill by including its language in the Farm Bill. “No one should have to make the choice between finding safety and staying in a violent situation to protect their pet,” said Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA-5). “This law and the newly appropriated federal dollars will empower survivors with the resources to leave a dangerous situation while being able to continue to care for their pet. I’m grateful for the partnerships we’ve formed between organizations working to end both domestic violence and animal abuse. Together, we will help save lives.” The USDA will now be able...