Animal lovers probably don’t need to be told about the benefits of pet ownership, but Cole and colleagues show that even a short (12-minute) interaction with a dog can reduce cardiopulmonary pressures, neurohormones, and anxiety in patients with advanced heart failure. Do you allow pets in your ICU? Do you have a pet protocol? Consider the following:

  • Animal therapy can reduce patients’ blood pressure, heart rate, and fear of procedures.

  • In several clinical studies, animal therapy programs did not increase patients’ infection rates.

  • A recent article describes the habits of Oscar the Cat in identifying the end of life and providing companionship to those who would otherwise have died alone (

    Dosa DM. A day in the life of Oscar the cat.
    N Engl J Med.
    2007
    ;
    357
    [4]:
    328
    –329)
    .

See Article, pp 575–588

Hyperglycemia in...

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