The Use of the Thundershirt to Alleviate Anxiety in Hospitalized Canine Patients

Description

Anxiety in hospitalized dog can contribute to patient morbidity and affect the caregivers’ ability to provide adequate nursing care. Additionally, anxiety experienced by one dog, and associated vocalization, often stimulates anxiety in other dogs in the hospital.

This study will involve the measurement of anxiety with the use of an anxiety scoring system in dogs hospitalized in the ICU. Following enrollment, dogs will be videotaped and scored (by the primary investigator) for 20 minutes as a baseline evaluation. The Thundershirt (a jacket placed around the dog’s torso which provides reassuring pressure) will be applied and the dog will be videotaped for an additional 10-20 minutes and scored again. After the period of videotaping the dog’s primary clinician will decide whether to keep the Thundershirt on the patient. More information about the Thundershirt can be found at http://www.thundershirt.com

We hypothesize that application of the Thundershirt will reduce anxiety in hospitalized canine patients as assessed by the anxiety score.

Inclusion Criteria

Dogs exhibiting anxiety, as subjectively assessed by ICU personnel, will be enrolled following client consent.

Exclusion Criteria

Physical factors that prevent the application of the Thundershirt, such as chest tubes.

Client Benefits

The direct benefit is the potential that the Thundershirt will reduce anxiety levels of their dog, preventing the need for giving sedative or anxiolytic drugs.

Contact Information

Dr. Claire Sharp: Claire.Sharp@tufts.edu
Michelle Damon: Michelle.Damon@tufts.edu