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Cancer Issues Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Jul 7, 2016 - 5:36:25 PM

Clinical Trial Launches to Document Efficacy of Animal-Assisted Therapy for Child Cancer Patients and Their Families

By Staff Editor
Feb 19, 2014 - 4:17:17 PM

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( - WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 19, 2014-Zoetis Inc. and American Humane Association today announced the official launch of the full clinical trial of the Canines and Childhood Cancer (CCC) Study, a first-of-its-kind effort to examine the effects of animal-assisted therapy on pediatric oncology patients, and their families.

The CCC Study will examine how animal-assisted therapy affects stress and anxiety among children with cancer and their parents/guardians, as well as health-related quality of life for patients. The study will also examine if and how animal-assisted therapy sessions with this population affect the therapy dogs. The patient population will be children aged 3 through 12 years who are newly diagnosed with childhood cancer and who receive regular chemotherapy treatment in the outpatient clinic.

Five leading children's hospitals are participating in the clinical trial - St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa, FL.; Monroe Carrell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN; Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland, OR; UC Davis Children's Hospital in Sacramento, CA; and UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center in Worcester, MA, in partnership with Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts in North Grafton, MA. Each site will collect data for approximately 12 months, with staggered start dates.

"We strive to advance the understanding and scientific rigor around animal-assisted therapy and to broaden informed adoption of the therapeutic power of the human-animal bond," said Vanessa Mariani, Director of Academic & Professional Affairs at Zoetis. "These incredible partnerships with participating sites and the collaboration between children's health providers, patients and veterinarians is a model that we hope to continue advancing in the future for the benefit of children and animals through strong science."

While therapy dog programs are common in children's hospitals across the country, and therapeutic benefits of animal-assisted therapy for patients with cancer have long been shared anecdotally by doctors, patients, families and therapy dog owners, there has been limited hard evidence to substantiate these claims and no rigorous evaluations about how to best implement animal-assisted therapy in pediatric oncology settings. The CCC Study is unique because it will not only measure the well-being effects of animal-assisted therapy on young patients and their families across multiple sites, but also on the therapy dogs themselves.

"This clinical trial is an important step forward in identifying and understanding perhaps underused weapons in the war on childhood cancer," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association's president and CEO. "After years of anecdotal evidence pointing to its effectiveness, we are hoping to examine in a rigorous manner the scientific underpinning of the benefits of animal-assisted therapy on children with cancer."

Prior to launching this 12-month clinical trial, the American Humane Association research team and Zoetis published a comprehensive literature review on pediatric oncology and animal-assisted therapy, and conducted a six-month pilot study in early 2013. The literature review and findings from the pilot study can be downloaded from

About Zoetis

Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on a 60-year history as the animal health business of Pfizer, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2012, the company generated annual revenues of $4.3 billion. With approximately 9,300 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2013, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 29 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information on the company, visit

Zoetis is the proud sponsor with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibitions and the American Veterinary Medical Association of the mobile educational exhibit Animal Connections: Our Journey Together. Families visiting the exhibit will explore the vast bonds between people and animals and learn about the important role veterinarians play in protecting animal and human health. For more information, visit

About American Humane Association

American Humane Association is the country's first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we're also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at today.

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