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;357:328–329)
See Article, pp 575–588