Hur djurassisterad terapi kan påverka djurens välfärd och välbefinnande

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från SLU/Dept. of Animal Environment and Health

Sammanfattning: Animal assisted therapy is when you use animals in health care to promote human health. Animals were used in health care for the first time in 1860 but were not used for therapy until 1960. There are many different types of animal assisted interventions and the type is adapted to the needs of the patient. The different types are called animal assisted therapy, animal assisted education, animal assisted activity and animal assisted coaching. A therapy session with an animal usually involves the patient petting and playing with the animal during supervision. When choosing which animal to use in animal assisted therapy, one tests the animals and selects the animals that enjoy socializing with people and who are stress resistant. The aim of this study was to find out how animal welfare is during therapy sessions and to find out which laws that regulate the use of animals in healthcare. There is some research done that shows that dog's welfare is good during work with patients. Whereas other studies show that dogs do experience stressful situations at work since certain individuals show behaviors that indicate stress. Other studies have shown that horses who participate in riding therapy have equally good welfare as show jumping horses. A study on guinea pigs has shown that their welfare is enhanced if they are able to hide during the therapy session. Studies on cats’, rabbits’ and birds’ welfare are lacking during work with animal assisted therapy. All keeping of animals in Sweden is regulated by the Animal Welfare Act and The Animal Welfare Ordinance. However, they lack a regulation on the use of animals in animal-assisted therapy. The few studies conducted on the subject makes it difficult to know how animals perceive being used in animal assisted therapy. Studies show that horses and dogs have a relatively good welfare during such sessions. More studies need to be done on several different animal species and including several factors coming into play for example, environmental factors, the animals’ experience and age and the animal handlers’ experience. This is to ensure that the animals have a good welfare and that the laws that regulate these animals are enough.

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