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Animal-Assisted Therapy for Improving Human Health

Keywords: Animal assisted therapy , human health , quality of life , public health

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Abstract:

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) or Pet Therapy is an adjunctive therapy by taking advantage of human and animal interaction, activate the physiological and psychological mechanisms, initiate positive changes improving health in metabolism. In recent years, this interaction are in use to treat psychological and psychiatric disorders such as stress, depression, loneliness, pervasive developmental disorders affect negatively to human health. Furthermore, AAT has been increasingly used to improve quality of life, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, chronic illnesses such as cancer and AIDS. The aim of this paper is to identify AAT by reviewing human and animal interaction, evaluate how AAT has a scientific background from past to now. Also, we aim to give some information about the risks, institutional applications, some factors referring AAT s mechanism of action and chronic diseases, psychological and physical improvements provided with animal assisted therapies. The therapy results will be evaluated more advisable providing AAT is being applied with public health specialist, veterinarian, physician, psychologist, psychiatrist and veterinary public health experts who are monitor applications. Especially, the psychosomatic effects result from physical, emotional and play mechanism of action of HDT can be used for improving quality of life in individuals with chronic diseases. In Turkey, there is no any investigation which have been performed in this scientific field. It is quitely important to evaluate the benefits of this therapy accurately and to select various methods proper to diseases. Consequently, it is obvious that AAT will be considered by the healthcare services as a supportive therapy process for improving human health in Turkey and needs further studies. [TAF Prev Med Bull. 2009; 8(3): 263-272]

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