Dogs as medicine: shedding light on the use of psychiatric assistance dogs

Lloyd, Janice, Johnston, Laura, and Lewis, Julia (2019) Dogs as medicine: shedding light on the use of psychiatric assistance dogs. In: Abstracts from the Townsville Health Research Showcase 2019. p. 39. From: Townsville Health Research Showcase 2019, 28-30 October 2019, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

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A psychiatric assistance dog (PAD) is a service dog that is trained to assist its handler (owner) who has been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Little is known about the population of people who own PADs, the type of dogs used or the functions they provide. One third (n = 199) of PAD owners registered with the charity 'mindDog' (that assists people procure, train and certify PADs) participated in an online survey to explore these matters. Results show that owners have differing mental health diagnoses, and their dogs performed different tasks to support them in daily life. PAD usage decreased (46%), increased (30%) or did not change (24%) participants' use of psychiatric or other healthcare services. Decrease in service use was mainly due to reduced suicide attempts, and less requirement for hospitalisation and medication; increased use was mainly due to enhanced ability to attend appointments. Results also suggest that successfulperson-dog teams do not require the dog to have been bred, raised and trained for the role by assistance/service dog provider organisations. These findings will inform clients and medical professionals, who play a pivotal role regarding their patients' application for a mindDog, about how dogs may be of assistance.

Item ID: 60746
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2019 23:43
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070799 Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110319 Psychiatry (incl Psychotherapy) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 60%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences @ 20%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences @ 20%
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