Scientists wish to explore benefits of pet therapy

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Pets may help some patients form needed bondsThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) is accepting proposals for studies which investigate how interactions between humans and animals affect typical development and health.

The National Insititue of Child Health and Human Development, a sector of the NIH, has teamed up with the Waltham Center for pet Nutrition in England to study whether some animals can have recognizable effects on a child’s psychological welfare.

The request for research proposals was encouraged by doctors who treat Alzheimer’s and autism who have noticed that patients often respond to their pets or service dogs in ways that they cannot relate to humans.

Dr Melissa Nishawala, clinical director of the autism-spectrum service at the Child Study Center, described how an 11-year-old boy with autism, Milo, reacted to pet therapy after a service dog moved in with the boy’s family. "I noticed a prominent and noticeable change. He started to give me narrative in a way he never did." She added that he mostly spoke about the new dog.

While pets work wonders to miraculously improve our health, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association says that veterinary pet insurance can be used to protect pet health and ensure the financial stability of the pet’s family.

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