Washington, D.C. (November 11, 2020) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and IDEXX held a virtual lecture on the health benefits of psychiatric service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is the first lecture of the IDEXX Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series, which highlights impactful scientific research on the health benefits of the human-animal bond and the importance of veterinary medicine in strengthening human-animal bonds.
The Veterans Day lecture, titled The Efficacy of Service Dogs for Veterans with PTSD, featured a conversation with Marguerite E. O’Haire, PhD, Associate Professor of Human-Animal Interaction, Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University. Dr. O’Haire discussed findings and implications of her groundbreaking HABRI-funded study, Preliminary efficacy of service dogs as a complementary, therapeutic treatment for post-traumatic stress in military members, veterans and their families.
“IDEXX is proud to sponsor this lecture series which will serve as a valuable educational resource for both the general public and for the veterinary community about the science of the human-animal bond,” said Kerry Bennett, Corporate Vice President, IDEXX. “We know pet owners rely on their veterinarians to deliver scientific information about the health benefits of their pets, and when veterinarians and animal health professionals effectively communicate the science of the human-animal bond, they can strengthen bonds by encouraging compliance and improving animal care and welfare.”
Published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 2018, Dr. O’Haire’s proof-of-concept study assessed the efficacy of service dogs as a complementary treatment for military members and veterans living with PTSD. Results indicate that those with a service dog exhibited significantly lower overall PTSD symptom severity, including increased overall psychological well-being; a better ability to cope with flashbacks and anxiety attacks; a lower frequency of nightmares and less overall sleep disturbance; lower overall anxiety, depression, and anger; higher levels of companionship and social reintegration; and lower levels of social isolation, in comparison to those on the waitlist to receive a service dog. The success of this study led to a large-scale National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trial, which is ongoing and expected to be completed in 2021.
“This virtual lecture was an exciting opportunity to share the important findings that demonstrate the efficacy of service dogs for reducing PTSD symptomology in war veterans, who deserve the healing support of service dogs,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “HABRI is grateful for IDEXX for making this lecture series possible, so that veterinary health professionals and pet owners can learn more about the many ways in which the science of the human-animal bond benefits our collective health and wellness.”
The lecture remains available for viewing on-demand at http://www.habri.org/HAB-Lectures.
HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that 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, please visit https://www.habri.org/
IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. is a member of the S&P 500® Index and is a leader in pet healthcare innovation, serving practicing veterinarians around the world with a broad range of diagnostic and information technology-based products and services. IDEXX products enhance the ability of veterinarians to provide advanced medical care, improve staff efficiency, and build more economically successful practices. IDEXX is also a worldwide leader in providing diagnostic tests and information for livestock and poultry, tests for the quality and safety of water and milk, and point-of-care and laboratory diagnostics for human medicine. For more information, please visit https://www.idexx.com/en/
More Press Releases
ANNOUNCING THE HUMAN ANIMAL BOND INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) today announced the winners of the inaugural Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards, which recognize companies and organizations with innovative products and programs designed to advance the human-animal bond and create a more pet-friendly society. “As the Presenting Sponsor for the Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards, PetSmart Charities is proud to celebrate organizations that have gone above and beyond to strengthen the connection between people and pets,” said Aimee Gilbreath, President of PetSmart Charities. “This year’s honorees support the deep integration of pets into people’s lives, and their efforts will make a difference for many pets — and those who love and care for them.” Nominations were selected by an expert committee of pet care community leaders assembled by HABRI. Winners were honored at a special awards ceremony held in conjunction with the annual SuperZoo show in Las Vegas. The 2022 Human Animal Bond Innovation Award winners are: Product & Service Category: Health Alliance Medical Plans Health Alliance Medical Plans offers health insurance plans across multiple states in the Midwest region of the United States. As of January 2022, Health Alliance Medical Plans became the first human insurance company to provide fully-paid access to 24-hour veterinary telehealth for 30,000 Medicare Advantage plan members in three regional offerings. “It’s a fact that pets play a tremendous role in human well-being,” said Heidi Sirota, President and Chief Pet Officer of Nationwide’s pet insurance division. “As a proud sponsor of HABRI’s Innovation Awards, Nationwide applauds Health Alliance Medical Plans for advancing the human-animal bond by making critical health resources available to pet families.” Workplace Culture Category: American Heart Association The American Heart Association’s Best Friend Fridays campaign is part of the Association’s Healthy Bond for LifeTM initiative to raise...
New Research to Investigate Benefits of Equine-Assisted Therapy for Older Adults with Parkinson’s Disease
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today a new research project to determine the effects of an equine-assisted therapy (EAT) program on the lives of older adults diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The study, How does 8 weeks of equine-assisted therapy affect older adults diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease?, led by researchers from the Texas Woman’s University School of Health Promotion and Kinesiology, will compare bradykinesia severity and functional outcomes before and after 8 weeks of EAT in adults with PD, and characterize the resulting human-animal interaction “While research studies examining the physiological benefits of horseback riding have been conducted before, there is a lack of published research regarding the physical adaptations of EAT in adults with PD,” said the study’s Principal Investigator, B. Rhett Rigby, PhD, Texas Woman’s University. “We hope that the results of this study will further the efficacy of EAT as a novel treatment modality for this population, and lead to a more widespread acceptance by healthcare practitioners.” Thirty men diagnosed with PD, aged 40 to 80 years, will be recruited and randomly assigned into two groups. Fifteen participants will complete eight weeks of EAT, and fifteen participants will complete a similar protocol on a horseback riding simulator. The EAT intervention will contain 17 total sessions across a period of eight weeks, and a licensed physical therapist will oversee and conduct all EAT sessions. A similar protocol will be in place for the simulated riding session. Preliminary data in the form of two pilot studies suggest that an improvement in postural sway and balance is present after both EAT and simulated riding in older adults with balance deficits. The study will seek to determine if these adaptions will lead to improvements with other hallmark features of PD pathophysiology, including bradykinesia, posture, balance, and gait. Researchers expect that individuals...
PetSmart Joins HABRI Board of Trustees
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced that Sherry Jane Love, PetSmart Vice President Merchandise Buying – Hardgoods, has been elected to the HABRI Board of Trustees. PetSmart joins the three founding organizations on the Board – American Pet Products Association (APPA), Petco, and Zoetis – in making a major commitment to advancing scientific research that demonstrates how pets are good for human health. “PetSmart is a leader in strengthening the human-animal bond for millions of pet owners,” said APPA President and CEO Bob Vetere, who serves as HABRI President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “With Sherry Jane Love lending her time and talent to the HABRI Board of Trustees, PetSmart is showing how serious it is about achieving good health at both ends of the leash.” “At PetSmart, we have always been firm believers that pets make us better people, and we know the positive impact they have on our lives,” said Sherry Jane Love, PetSmart Vice President Merchandise Buying – Hardgoods. “HABRI is unifying everyone who believes in the healing power of pets. PetSmart is proud to be part of this important effort to strengthen and share the human-animal bond.” The HABRI Board of Trustees is the governing body that oversees the programs and activities of this 5-year-old non-profit organization. HABRI funds research on an annual basis in the areas of child health and development; healthy aging; and mental health and wellness, contributing to the growing body of evidence that shows companion animals are good for human health. HABRI also widely shares information about how the presence of companion animals in society helps make individuals, families, and communities healthier.