Zoetis And American Humane Association Announce Launch of Clinical Trial on Animal-Assisted Therapy For Pediatric Oncology

Just-released findings from pilot study confirm feasibility of clinical trial approach

FLORHAM PARK, N.J., Oct. 29, 2013– Zoetis Inc. and American Humane Association yesterday announced that a 14-month full clinical trial on the effects of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) on pediatric oncology patients and their parents has officially launched with the opening of the first trial site. The clinical trial comes on the heels of a breakthrough Zoetis-American Humane Association pilot study—Canines and Childhood Cancer: Measuring the Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy for Pediatric Oncology Patients, Their Parents and Therapy Dogs— that confirmed the feasibility of conducting a randomized control trial using AAT in multiple settings.

The clinical trial will involve approximately 100 patients receiving treatment at three to five pediatric oncology sites. The first trial site, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, will begin  consent and enrollment later this month. Additional sites for the study are expected to open within the next few months.  

Zoetis and American Humane Association announced the new clinical trial at the 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida, where they also released the pilot study findings.

The pilot study observed children who have been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia—the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer. The study measured animal-assisted therapy’s ability to impact the well-being and distress levels of pediatric oncology patients and their parents, as well as the therapy dogs that visit them, throughout the cancer treatment process.

“The remedial benefits of animal assisted therapy for cancer patients have long been shared by doctors, patients, caregivers and animal-handlers, but,  there is limited quantitative data validating these claims,” said Amy McCullough, M.A. National Director of Animal-Assisted Therapy for the American Humane Association. “We are ecstatic to share our earliest findings of the pilot study with our colleagues at the American Academy of Pediatrics and announce the official launch of the study.”

Unlike the majority of existing research in the human-animal interaction field, this rigorously designed pilot study took place at multiple sites, and incorporated a randomized control cohort and validated instruments. In addition to confirming feasibility, the pilot study also successfully identified areas for study design optimization related to sample size and eligibility criteria.

“We strongly believe in the human-animal bond and its therapeutic power,” says Vanessa Mariani, Director of Academic & Professional Affairs at Zoetis. “Through our partnership with American Humane Association on Canines and Childhood Cancer, our goal is to advance the understanding and adoption of Animal Assisted Therapy in the treatment process, and to inform the care of these wonderful animals, through groundbreaking, sound research—while hopefully improving pediatric cancer treatment for both children and their families.”

To learn more about the Canines and Childhood Cancer clinical trial and download the literature review and executive summary of the study, please visit www.caninesandchildhoodcancer.org.

About Zoetis

Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on a 60-year history as the animal health business of Pfizer, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2012, the company generated annual revenues of $4.3 billion.  With approximately 9,300 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2013, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 29 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information on the company, visit www.zoetis.com.

About American Humane Association

American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.

For further information, Contact:

Rebecca Cisek
(973) 822-7082

Katy Long
(410) 821-8220



Mon–Fri, 8:30am–8:00pm ET

This site is intended for U.S. Animal Healthcare Professionals. The product information provided in this site is intended only for residents of the United States. The products discussed herein may not have marketing authorization or may have different product labeling in different countries. The animal health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with an animal healthcare professional. All decisions regarding the care of a veterinary patient must be made with an animal healthcare professional, considering the unique characteristics of the patient.

All trademarks are the property of Zoetis Services LLC or a related company or a licensor unless otherwise noted. ©2022 Zoetis Services LLC. All rights reserved.