Nature can be viewed as a huge pharmacy; it contains thousands of components essential to man’s survival. Therefore, the animal world is in a way part of our survival kit. Used since the nineteenth century, leeches are now employed in surgery because of the anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties of their saliva. The active elements of the Brazilian Viper’s venom have been synthesized into a medication that controls blood pressure. Scorpion venom is used in research on brain tumours. Sharks contribute to studies of muscle degeneration and certain forms of cancer. Bee honey improves human health by targeting and attacking certain microbes in our organism. One of only two poisonous lizards on earth, the Gila Monster secretes a substance in its venom that may help treat diabetes. Taken from Zoo Granby.
Animals are there to support us in this lifetime and it has been proven scientifically that animals and especially our furry friends have numerous health benefits:
- Visits with a therapy dog helps heart and lung function by lowering pressures, diminishing release of harmful hormones and decreases anxiety with hospitalized heart failure patients (Cole, 2005).
- Fish tanks with brightly coloured fish may curtail disruptive behaviour and improve eating habits of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (Beck, 2002).
- The presence of a therapy dog can lower behaviour distress in children during a physical examination at a doctor’s office and may be useful in a variety of healthcare settings to decrease procedure-induced distress in children (Nagengast, 1997 Hansen, 1999).
- The presence of a dog during dental procedures can reduce the stress of children who are distressed about coming to the dentist (Havener, 2001).
- Animal-assisted therapy can effectively reduce the loneliness of residents in long-term care facilities (Banks, 2002).
- People with borderline hypertension experienced lower blood pressure on days they took their dogs to work (Allen, K. 2001).
- Seniors who own dogs go to the doctor less than those who do not do. In a study of 100 senior patients, even the most highly stressed dog owners in the study have 21 percent fewer physician’s contacts than non-dog owners (Siegel, 1990).
- Activities of daily living (ADL) level of seniors who did not currently own pets deteriorated more on average than that of respondents who currently owned pets (Raina, 1999).
- Seniors who own pets coped better with stress life events without entering the healthcare system. (Raina, 1998).
- Pet owners have lower blood pressure (Friedmann, 1983, Anderson 1992).
- Pet ownership can lessen cardiovascular reactivity to psychological stress among hypertensive patients treated with a daily dose of Lisinopril (Allen, 1999). ACE inhibitors like Lisinopril lower resting blood pressure but they do not diminish reactivity to mental stress.
- Pet owners have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than non-owners. (Anderson, 1992).
- Companionship of pets (particularly dogs) helps children in families adjust better to the serious illness and death of a parent (Raveis, 1993).
- Pet owners feel less afraid of being a victim of crime when walking with a dog or sharing a residence with a dog (Serpel, 1990).
- Pet owners have fewer minor health problems (Friedmann, 1990, Serpel, 1990).
- Pet owners have better psychological well-being (Serpel, 1990).
I cannot imagine a day without our canine and feline friends – they give one a purpose in life. Please adopt a canine or feline friend. They will improve your health and are wonderful companions that will always look forward seeing you.
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