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Therapy Dogs Offer New Fibromyalgia Management Option

Friday 28 August 2020


From Cision PR Newswire:


Alta, a Mayo Clinic Caring Canines therapy dog,
prepares for a saliva swab to measure her cortisol and
oxytocin levels as key indicators of her emotional state.

Therapy Dogs Offer New Fibromyalgia Management Option

- Better Together Study from Purina and Mayo Clinic found people with fibromyalgia experienced a more positive emotional-physiologic state after single session with therapy dog

- For condition with no known cure, researchers identify animal-assisted activity is an effective tool to help manage the physical and mental health of fibromyalgia patients

- Therapy dogs studied too; physiologic readings suggest dogs calmer at the end of patient sessions

August 19, 2020
Copyright © 2020 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. A Cision company.

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- New research from Purina and Mayo Clinic brings a pet-centered treatment option to the forefront for patients with fibromyalgia, a chronic centralized pain sensitivity disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. A newly published study by Mayo Clinic and Purina researched the impact of animal-assisted activity sessions in patients with fibromyalgia and found benefits of the interaction to patients and the therapy dogs working to help them.

The National Fibromyalgia Association estimates 10 million Americans and between 3 and 6 percent of the world population suffers from fibromyalgia. Purina and Mayo Clinic designed the Better Together study to investigate the direct effects of animal-assisted activity in patients with fibromyalgia. At the same time, the study measured the emotional state of the therapy dogs during the treatment session to better understand the impacts on these specially trained canine companions. For both patients and the therapy dogs, researchers used multiple non-invasive physiological biomarkers, including salivary oxytocin and cortisol concentrations, tympanic membrane temperatures and various cardiac parameters.

"The Better Together study showed therapy animals could be an evidence-based treatment option, and healthcare professionals should strongly consider utilizing animal-assisted activity in the care of their patients with fibromyalgia," said Arya Mohabbat, M.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic, and lead Mayo Clinic researcher on the project.


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