Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not animal assisted interventions with dogs are effective in improving psychosocial variables of mood in hospital patients.

STUDY DESIGN: Review of two English language randomized control trial published in 2008 and 2007, and one English language clinical trial published in 2009.

DATA SOURCES: Two randomized, controlled trials comparing animal assisted interventions to absent animal interaction, interaction with a human being, engaging in another interactive activity, or no treatment were found using PubMed and Cochrane System Reviews.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Anxiety was measured by POMS (Profile of Mood States) and the Speilberger State-Trait Inventory test. Mood improvement was analyzed through various patient exit questionnaires that addressed patient perception of energy level via VAS (Visual Analog Scale) patient perception of pain via VAS (Visual Analog Scale), Session helpfulness perceived by patient via end of study questionnaires or feedback forms.

RESULTS: A RCT by Cole et al, determined that there was significant improvement in anxiety within the dog therapy treatment group consisting of a hospital volunteer and dog when compared to those patients receiving a visit from a hospital volunteer only. In a clinical trial by Coakley et, al, AAA (Animal Assisted Activity) was found to show significant quantitative and qualitative findings providing support for decreased tension, anxiety, fatigue, and improved overall mood with AAT based on POMS scores. However in a study by Johnson et. Al, no significant changes were found regarding mood variables via the POMS test since all p –values were greater than 0.05

CONCLUSIONS: The results of one of the randomized control trial and one clinical trial demonstrate that animal assisted interventions with dogs can improve psychosocial variables of mood within the treatment groups. One RCT demonstrates the dog interventions improved psychosocial variables of mood when compared to the control groups.