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Race, Zoonoses and Animal Assisted Interventions in Pediatric Cancer

By C. Cotoc, S. Notaro

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Emerging evidence accumulates regarding the benefits of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) in facilitating pediatric cancer treatment and alleviating symptomatology through positive changes in the patients' emotional, mental, and even physical status. A major concern expressed by healthcare providers and parents in implementing AAIs in hospital settings is the transmission of disease from animals to patients. Immunocompromised children, such as pediatric cancer patients are at increased risk for pet-associated diseases. Furthermore, existing disparities among the racial and ethnic minority groups of pediatric cancer patients can potentially exacerbate their risk for zoonoses. This literature review highlights the most common human infections from therapy animals, connections to the race and ethnic background of pediatric oncology patients, as well as means of prevention. The discussion is limited to dogs, which are typically the most commonly used species in hospital-based animal-assisted therapy. The aim is to highlight specific preventive measures, precautions and recommendations that must be considered in hospitals' protocols and best practices, particularly given the plethora of benefits provided by AAI for pediatric cancer patients, staff and families.

Date 2022
Publication Title International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume 19
Issue 13
ISBN/ISSN 1661-7827 (Print)1660-4601
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ijerph19137772
Author Address Medical School and School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.College of Doctoral Studies, University of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ 85040, USA.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted interventions
  2. Animal-assisted therapies
  3. Animals
  4. Children
  5. Dogs
  6. Ethnicity
  7. Humans
  8. Minority Groups
  9. oncology
  10. open access
  11. patients
  12. Zoonoses
  1. open access