Dog Therapy Works

People with mental disease and health problems typically seek relief by hiring a shrink or snagging a prescription. The adventurous few might sign on for a trek in the Himalayas or a five-month silent retreat, but if you prefer a cuddlier solution, various studies show that you might do just as well with dog therapy.

We’ve written before about Continue reading

What is Your Dog Thinking? Brain Scans Unleash Canine Secrets

Callie wears ear protection as she prepares to enter the scanner. The research team includes, from left, Andrew Brooks, Gregory Berns and Mark Spivak. Photo by Bryan Meltz.

When your dog gazes up at you adoringly, what does it see? A best friend? A pack leader? A can opener? Continue reading

Man and Canine Share a Joint Tumor Marker

The dog may be man’s best friend but even so it comes as a surprise that the two species share a common tumor marker. This finding comes from a joint study between scientists of the Vetmeduni Vienna and the MedUni Wien, headed by Erika Jensen-Jarolim. The researchers looked for similarities in breast cancer of dogs and women, focusing on the tumor marker CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen). They uncovered a molecule, the CEA receptor that turned out to be essentially identical in the two species. The result could lead to the rapid development of new therapeutic methods for use in dogs and humans.

Despite steadily improving methods for its diagnosis and treatment, cancer still represents one of the  Continue reading

A Service Animal Can Be a Dog or Bird. It is the Law

Dani Moore uses a rat perched on her shoulder as a service animal to alert her to spasms from a disabling condition. Daniel Greene’s service animal is a snake wrapped around his neck to help him predict epileptic seizures.

But these creatures and many others are no longer acceptable as service animals under new federal guidelines issued March 15 by the U.S. Department of Justice for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new recommendations limit service animals to dogs and housebroken miniature horses.

The new guidelines are not binding to states, municipalities and other agencies, which are free to adopt the policy or to make their own. But individuals who rely on other types of animals to help them manage physical disabilities and conditions are worried.

The law used to say a service animal could be any animal trained to do a task for an individual, said Don Brandon, director of the Northwest Americans with Disabilities Act Center in Seattle.  Continue reading