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Animal-assisted Therapy: Is it Undervalued as an Alternative Treatment?

Does your insurance company cover animal therapy, as they do a surgery or a bottle of pills? Research shows that they should consider it. Many doctors and patients are convinced of the value of animal-assisted therapy, and hope to see it employed more often in the medical community.

Pets offer unwavering consistency, affection, friendship, and faithfulness. Those qualities are valuable and stabilizing to a person suffering an illness or loss. Dr. Boris Levinson developed animal-assisted therapy (AAT) to capitalize on that bond. Though originally regarded with some cynicism, “pet therapy” is prevalent and appreciated by a large number of therapists today.

AAT is a coping intervention. It assists patients’ recovery from various health issues, or helps cope with the hardships of managing medical conditions. The therapy supports patient self-esteem, social interaction, mental health, and personal growth. A host of conditions are positively impacted by AAT including cancer, autism, ADHD, and PTSD.

Pet therapy is not confined by traditional pet choices. From spiders to skunks, animal therapy proves to be effective. Equine therapy, or horse therapy, especially has been shown to improve the moods of Alzheimer’s patients, and the strength of physically disabled people.

One of the primary benefits of AAT is its ability to reconnect patients to the world, as life may have been reduced to the people, facilities, and basic services attributed to their conditions. Patients are often allowed to care for, and interact with, animals in and out of healthcare locations. Smaller animals are often safely brought right into facilities to provide motivation, ensure comfort, and assist physical rehabilitation.

While the use of AAT in future medical treatment is clearly beneficial, the chances of it replacing drug treatment are not likely. Evidence surrounding the therapy is generally qualitative instead of quantitative. Because insurance companies desire hard facts and numerical data, ATT’s subjective nature will require more research. Until then, ATT should be considered a valuable accompaniment to other forms of therapy to improve patient quality of life.

Read the full article here: Animal-assisted therapy: is it undervalued as an alternative treatment? – Medical News Today