Animal-assisted therapy has gained more and more space in important medical treatments for various pathologies, due to the surprising results they present.
Pet Therapy Focus
Health professionals who study and apply Pet Therapy, as it is also called, attest to its positive effects. A significant improvement is observed, both in emotional, physical and motor aspects , of patients who are treated with this practice.
Dogs and cats are already the old companions of many families. We already know all the benefits of having a pet close by. In addition to faithful companions and friends, pets can bring comfort and happiness to people who are experiencing emotionally delicate moments, in addition to contributing significantly to the treatment of many psychomotor and mental illnesses.
Pet Therapy in Brazil
Animal-assisted therapy is moving slowly in Brazil, where it has not yet been regulated. Studies and projects in this area are still very scarce, compared to other countries that have already regulated this type of treatment and have made this therapeutic practice official in many health institutions, public and private, as part of the treatment program for serious diseases such as neurological, psychological and mental.
Although it still occupies a precarious position of recognition as a therapeutic method here in Brazil, there are already many NGOs and clinics that apply this therapy and defend it as a really effective treatment, which brings countless benefits and a proven evolution in important pathological conditions.
Diseases that can be treated with TAA
Animal-assisted therapy (TAA) is a therapeutic practice applied by health professionals, with the purpose of contributing to the psychological, cognitive, social and physical development of patients in numerous stages and types of diseases.
Proponents of this method do not intend to replace any other conventional therapy or to impose TAA as the only treatment for whatever pathology. The proposal is that TAA complements these treatments, that it be a new line of methodology capable of aggregating and bringing even more satisfactory results.
The treatment of pet therapy aims at the evolution of the clinical picture, adding quality of life, promoting the social insertion mainly of physical, sensorial, mental and motor disabled .
Even with little space between existing and regulated therapeutic methods, animal-assisted therapy proves to be effective in treating different pathologies such as cerebral palsy, neurological and orthopedic problems, mental disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome and even social ones, such as behavioral disorders, schizophrenia, autism and psychosis.
It has also become a strong ally for the improvement and positive development of emotional problems from mild to serious, such as depression , hearing impaired , learning disorders, hyperactivity, as well as problems such as stress and insomnia.
Guide Dog For The Visually Impaired
When we talk about animal support for the well-being of people, a practice best known by the majority is the use of guide dogs to help visually impaired people , including those already regulated by our constitution. It is a fact that dogs have contributed to the process of social reintegration of the blind in addition to the psychological good that the company of furry friends brings to these people.
How Animal Assisted Therapy Works
To apply animal-assisted therapy, much more is needed than the patient and the animal . For the method to be executed correctly, guaranteeing positive and satisfactory results, the team needs to be multidisciplinary, formed by occupational therapists, social workers, doctors, nurses, psychologists and veterinarians.
This team will be prepared to indicate the most appropriate therapy method, considering the needs of each patient. In addition to being responsible for monitoring the execution of activities, ensuring the well-being of patients, professionals and of course, also the animal.
What Happens During Therapy
Therapy does not just act as a behavior motivator, it has a physiological effect on this improvement process. During treatment, a hormone is released into the patient’s body , endorphin, which promotes a feeling of well-being, decreasing the level of the hormone cortisol, in addition to a decrease in blood pressure.
All of these effects bring important results. The physical, mental and psychological benefits are significant for promoting pain inhibition , social behavior and for stimulating memory. The opportunity to communicate even in ways other than verbal is the key to TAA’s effectiveness.
Animal-assisted therapy is based on the promotion of feelings such as security, motivation and self-esteem to reduce feelings harmful to any recovery such as loneliness and depression, and thus contribute positively to the improvement and development of patients who receive this treatment.
Many species of animals can be used in animal-assisted therapy such as: cats, rabbits, turtles, hamsters, dolphins, birds, iguanas and snails. Horses are also one of the animals able to work on these therapies, even in Brazil there are already some private and public clinics that adopt this type of therapy.
But the great star of the animal kingdom, which brings benefits to patients, is our old dog friend. The reasons are those we already know, dogs are easy to train, sociable and even because they are easier to accept and understand in patients under treatment.
The therapy assisted by dogs also called TAC, has as main objective to aggregate the dog in the process of recovery and treatment of several pathologies. The dog becomes an integral part and occupies the role of mediator and facilitator of therapeutic activities, which are so important in treatments for physical, emotional and social pathologies.
The therapy is applied with the scheduled visit of the dog to the patient, together with its owner and the specialist in the medical field. It is usually performed in geriatric, children’s and penitentiary hospitals and in schools.
A Dog’s Routine That Promotes Dog Therapy
The dog therapist, when he is not fulfilling his duties, follows his daily routine normally. He remains at home, in the family , guaranteeing his moments of leisure and rest and, of course, winning the treats he is used to.
Dog Therapy Results
TAC contributes to a number of factors. See the main ones:
- Awakens reflexes in people with motor disabilities.
- Helps patients overcome phobias, depressions and nervous and emotional illnesses
- Contributes to the relaxation and well-being of patients with dementia, improving the quality of life
- Decreases the levels of violence and isolation in penitentiary centers.
Well, that dogs bring countless benefits for those who adopt them as a pet is already known by all of us. Difficult who has a pet that does not reinforce how important and healthy it is for family life and even for children. Apparently, in addition to man’s best friend, the dog is a strong candidate to also be the family doctor !!!
See Also: Child Therapy – Why Seek Help?
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.