Scientific Title: Animal Assistance Therapy: Ensuring Animal Health and Program Sustainability in the Context of Hospital-associated Infections
Dr. Allen R. Chen, Johns Hopkins University
Update July 2018: Final Report
*Summary:* Researchers will determine whether the fur of animal assistance therapy dogs can become contaminated with hospital-associated infections and test whether low-cost interventions can reduce the risk of microbial transmission between therapy animals and patients with childhood cancer.
*Description:* Researchers will determine whether two common pathogens that cause hospital-associated infections, Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, can be transferred between assistance therapy dogs and children with cancer who are undergoing outpatient treatment. They will also investigate whether commercial veterinary skin products can reduce transmission rates of these pathogens. The goal of this study is to improve the health of working dogs and their \“patients\” by reducing bacterial infection risks.