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Use of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Veterans with Combat-related PTSD

By Nichole Nelson

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The purpose of this paper was to determine whether animal-assisted therapy is effective in treating combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. While the intent was to discover the efficacy of animal-assisted therapy, articles which discussed only the use of psychiatric service dogs were found in the final search. This review highlighted an area for further clarification in future research to ensure that the distinction is made clear between psychiatric service dogs and animal-assisted therapy. The findings illustrated that, when the veterans began to feel benefits of the human-animal bond with their dogs, their psychiatric symptoms became more manageable. A reduction in symptoms enabled the veterans in the studies to feel more comfortable engaging with their communities and participate in outreach efforts. Finally, the combination of a strong bond, manageable symptoms, and community participation lead the veterans to express the hope that they would continue to improve through the partnership with their psychiatric service dog.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Pages 46
Department School of Social Work
Degree Master of Social Work
University St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Nichole Nelson (2018), "Use of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Veterans with Combat-related PTSD,"

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  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Dogs
  3. Human-animal bond
  4. open access
  5. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  6. Psychiatric Services
  7. Service animals
  8. veterans
  1. open access