Animal therapy reduces pain medication intake, researchers find

Share this article:
Animal therapy
Animal therapy

Animal-assisted therapy reduced pain medication needs for patients recovering from total joint replacement surgery, a new study shows.

“The animal-human connection is powerful in reducing stress and in generating a sense of well-being,” lead author Julia Havey, MSN, RN, CCM, told Loyola Medicine. “This study further demonstrates the positive influence animals can have on human recovery."

The researchers compared the use of oral pain medications between one group of patients that received care with an AAT program and another without. All patients were recovering from total joint replacement surgery and were grouped together based on age, ethnicity, gender, length of stay and type of total joint replacement.


The ATT group met with specially trained dogs for an average of five to 15 minutes every day.

Results showed that the AAT group needed “significantly less” pain medication, reducing their intake by about 28%. The AAT group used about 15 mg while the comparison group used about 21 mg.

The researchers were from Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and Loyola University Health System.

Findings were published online in the September issue of Anthrozoos.

Share this article:

More in News

Nursing home antipsychotic use has dipped nearly 19% under national effort, latest figures show

Nursing home antipsychotic use has dipped nearly 19% ...

The percent of long-stay nursing home residents receiving antipsychotic medication has decreased 18.8% under a nationwide initiative that started in 2012.

Jimmo succeeds in getting Medicare coverage, two years after landmark case ended

Glenda Jimmo has reached a settlement with the federal government and will finally receive Medicare coverage for claims that were denied in 2007, which led her to file a class-action lawsuit over the so-called "improvement standard."

Breier named new CEO at Kindred

Breier named new CEO at Kindred

Kindred Healthcare announced Thursday that it has chosen a new top executive to lead its push toward creating a mammoth national brand. Benjamin A. Breier, the company's current president and ...