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Author Topic:   Dogs Lower Anxiety Among Heart Patients
zenwarner
Knowflake

Posts: 104
From: tx, usa
Registered: Aug 2005

posted November 17, 2005 11:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for zenwarner     Edit/Delete Message
DALLAS - Charles Denson's face brightens as a speckled Australian shepherd named Bart cuddles next to him while he rests in his hospital bed. "You've got a pretty coat," the 51-year-old heart patient says while stroking Bart's soft fur.

New research indicates that hospitals that use such pet therapy sessions aren't barking up the wrong tree.

The novel study, presented Tuesday at an
American Heart Association meeting, is one of the first to use scientific measurements to document that therapeutic dogs lower anxiety, stress and heart and lung pressure among heart failure patients.

"You can see it on their face, first you see a smile and then you see the worries of the world roll off their shoulders," said Kathie Cole, a nurse at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center who led the study.

Leslie Kern, director of cardiac research for the heart institute at Memorial Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif., said such visits help make patients' lives more normal.

"I'm not surprised at all that something that makes people feel good also makes them feel less anxious, has measurable physiological effects," said Dr. Marc Gillinov, a cardiac surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic who was not involved in the study.

Cole and her colleagues studied 76 heart failure patients average age 57 who got either a visit from a volunteer, a volunteer plus a dog, or no visit.

The scientists meticulously measured patients' physiological responses before, during and after the visits.

Anxiety as measured by a standard rating scale dropped 24 percent for those visited by the dog and volunteer team, but only by 10 percent for those visited by just a volunteer. The scores for the group with no visit remained the same.

Levels of epinephrine, a hormone the body makes when under stress, dropped about 17 percent in patients visited by a person and a dog, and 2 percent in those visited just by a person. But levels rose about 7 percent in the group that didn't get visitors.

Heart pressure dropped 10 percent after the visit by the volunteer and dog. It increased 3 percent for those visited by a volunteer and 5 percent for those who got no visit. Lung pressure declined 5 percent for those visited by a dog and a volunteer. It rose in the other two groups.

Gillinov said the study was especially impressive because of the hard data it provided.

"It helps to legitimize that the intervention is more than something nice and something extra to do for the patient, that it has physiologic benefit," said Janet Parkosewich, a cardiac nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn., who attended the study presentation Tuesday.

Cole said she hopes the study, funded by the Pet Care Trust Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes the value of animals in society, helps show that pet therapy is a credible addition to patient care, not just a nicety.

In Dallas, Linda Marler's animal assisted therapy program for the Baylor Healthcare System has grown from one dog in 1985 to 84 dogs today.

"It makes the hospital seem less like a hospital and it lowers people's blood pressure," said Marler, who also works for the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation.

The dogs used in the study which ranged from a poodle to a golden retriever to a miniature schnauzer were carefully screened at UCLA and had to pass a behavior test and checkup by a veterinarian, Cole said. Patients were also asked if they liked dogs and wanted to be part of the study.

Dr. George Dennish, a cardiologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., where dogs are occasionally used, said patients feel calmer and more satisfied. But he said more long-term studies with more people need to be done.

For bypass patient Danny Smith, being visited by a furry friend was a highlight of his stay at Scripps Memorial.

"It was very relieving because all they want to do was give you love," said Smith, 57, of Oceanside, Calif.

Back at Baylor University Medical Center, Bart, the Australian shepherd, left Denson and padded into another heart patient's room. The predictable smile emerged as 68-year-old John Coleman began reminiscing: "Last dog I had was a Dachshund"

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peace
Knowflake

Posts: 689
From: Honolulu,HI
Registered: Apr 2004

posted November 18, 2005 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for peace     Edit/Delete Message
YAY!

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Randall
Webmaster

Posts: 23464
From: Columbus, GA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted November 19, 2005 06:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randall     Edit/Delete Message

------------------
"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things." "I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Lewis Carroll

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Randall
Webmaster

Posts: 23464
From: Columbus, GA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted December 12, 2005 06:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randall     Edit/Delete Message
*bump*

------------------
"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things." "I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Lewis Carroll

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teaselbaby
Knowflake

Posts: 782
From: Northeast Ohio
Registered: Sep 2002

posted December 12, 2005 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for teaselbaby     Edit/Delete Message
I read a book a few months ago, called An Angel By My Side, co-written by a man who had a service dog that would alert him when he was about to have an angina attack (I think that was it). His doctor wanted him to get a therapy dog in the first place, because he didn't want to be alive in the state he was in, and she was scared for him.

I was thinking about lending the book out, as Sheaa was doing with a few of hers. If I decide to, I'll mention it here as well.

Angela

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peace
Knowflake

Posts: 689
From: Honolulu,HI
Registered: Apr 2004

posted December 15, 2005 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for peace     Edit/Delete Message
Dogs Rule!

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thirteen
Knowflake

Posts: 682
From: Rochester Hills, MI USA
Registered: May 2004

posted December 15, 2005 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for thirteen     Edit/Delete Message
When my mother was recovering from a heart attack last year, she cried so many times for her dog. He is a cutie too. Yeah, dogs rule.

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silvermoon
Knowflake

Posts: 269
From: Monterey Bay, Calif. USA
Registered: Nov 2005

posted March 03, 2006 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for silvermoon     Edit/Delete Message
Dogs are definately good
for whatever ails you.
True Earthangels in wolve's clothing...
silvermoon

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Randall
Webmaster

Posts: 23464
From: Columbus, GA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted May 29, 2006 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randall     Edit/Delete Message
*bump*

------------------
"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things." "I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Lewis Carroll

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peace
Knowflake

Posts: 689
From: Honolulu,HI
Registered: Apr 2004

posted May 30, 2006 12:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for peace     Edit/Delete Message
"BUMP!"

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