Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

A Systematic Literature Review of Animal Assisted Interventions in Oncology (Part I): Methods and Results

Version 1 : Received: 18 December 2019 / Approved: 19 December 2019 / Online: 19 December 2019 (06:41:38 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Integrative Cancer Therapies 2020
DOI: 10.1177/1534735420943278


Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) use human-animal interactions to positive effect in various contexts including cancer care. This systematic literature review is the first part of a two-part paper series focusing on the research methods and quantitative results of AAI studies in oncology. We find methodological consistency in the use of canines as therapy animals, in the types of high-risk patients excluded from studies, and in the infection precautions taken with therapy animals throughout cancer wards. The investigated patient endpoints are not significantly affected by AAI, with the exceptions of improvements in oxygen consumption, quality of life, depression, mood, and satisfaction with therapy. The AAI field in oncology has progressed significantly since its inception and has great potential to positively impact future patient outcomes. To advance the field, AAI research in oncology should consistently improve the methodological design of studies, report data more completely, and focus on the therapy animal’s well-being.


animal-assisted interventions; animal-assisted activities; animal-assisted therapy; oncology; cancer; human-animal bond; quantitative


MEDICINE & PHARMACOLOGY, Oncology & Oncogenics

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