[MOL] Man's Best Friend -- The Best Medicine [00170] Medicine On Line


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[MOL] Man's Best Friend -- The Best Medicine



Man's Best Friend -- The Best Medicine

Sept. 4, 2000 (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Pets are often used as therapy to help
the sick and elderly. Yet, separation from a pet may be to blame for
sickness in some people.

In an editorial in the most recent issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine,
John Burnum, M.D., of the University of Alabama sites the cases of two
hospitalized patients who left the hospital early because they couldn't bear
to be separated from their pets. In a similar instance, he sites the case of
a woman who was suffering severe depression and heart problems until her dog
was brought to the hospital to visit her. Only then did her conditions
improve. 

On the other hand, Dr. Burnum shows that the problem can affect the animal
as well. He sites the case of a dog that refused to eat when his owner was
in the hospital and dying. After two weeks the dog passed away.

Dr. Burnum explains separation sickness is a reflection of a close
attachment between people and their dogs. More than 40 percent of U.S.
households have dogs as pets. Fifty percent of pet dogs sleep in the
bedroom, and 50 percent of these sleep on the owners' beds.

This being said, Dr. Burnum suggests physicians consider the possibility of
pet separation syndrome whenever a patient is doing poorly and is insistent
on leaving the hospital.

Copyright  2000 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc. 

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