What is pet therapy?


By Gay Fulkerson, MD



Pet therapy is the use of an animal, reptile, fish, or bird to help with any medical condition. Most people are familiar with seeing eye dogs for the blind and dogs who help the deaf. Dogs can be trained to retrieve items and open doors, stand to stabilize gait for a person going up and down steps, etc. (to help the disabled). Some animals can detect when diabetics have low sugar, and they can also alert someone of an impending seizure. Some dogs can identify cancer. Pet therapy is used in hospitalized patients. Frequently children and adults will respond to a dog or a cat much better than a human when they are in treatment for a long or severe illness.

Studies have also shown that pets can greatly improve anxiety and depression. I have found this to be true in my own life. A cat worked much better to control anxiety than prescription medication. Walking a dog can help control high blood pressure and diabetes. Many people think that animals are not useful and do not matter. Science has proven that they are very helpful and beneficial. Recent studies have shown that an animal in the house can help prevent allergies in children and help prevent future infections. Pets are valuable members of your family. Please spay and neuter your animals and keep vaccinations up to date to keep you and your pets healthy. In the heat, make sure you and your pets are cool and have plenty of cool water to drink. We have been given pets to help us in many ways. We should be grateful and take very good care of them.

Two local families have lost pets. If you have seen them, please call the office at 270 259-4666 during office hours. A male, neutered basset hound, brown/black with white chest and orange collar is missing from the Shrewsberry/Quizenberry Community. He was last seen April, 2015.

A spayed, dark tabby female cat with white chest and four white feet escaped after a vet visit from east Leitchfield on March 25, 2015.

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By Gay Fulkerson, MD

Gay Fulkerson, MD, is a board certified family physician and wound care/hyperbaric specialist.

Gay Fulkerson, MD, is a board certified family physician and wound care/hyperbaric specialist.

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