Funded Research Studies

Reciprocity in Action - University of Glasgow

By focusing on the detection of specific cancer markers in blood samples, this projects aims to develop a rapid blood test that can potentially avoid the need for invasive biopsy procedures to diagnose certain types of cancer and determine its exact type, in order to select the most effective treatment options for the patient.

When cells die, their genetic material (DNA) is released into the bloodstream. This DNA can then be tested for specific changes associated with particular cancers. This project is working to optimise the technique for use in dogs after the successful development of similar blood profiling to diagnose and monitor human cancers.

If a reliable blood test for the diagnosis of specific cancer types can be developed it will improve the treatment of cancer by enhancing diagnostic accuracy and enabling easy monitoring.  Ultimately, the availability of better diagnostic and monitoring tests will improve the prognosis for canine cancer patients in the same way that it has for humans.


Animal Assisted Intervention Research

Pets as Therapy dog handlers Lyndsey Uglow and Karen Ramsay along with their therapy dogs Leo, Jessie, Totty, Hattie and Archie have been working with Humanimal Trust, undertaking dedicated research into Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) at Southampton Childrens Hospital, part of University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust.

AAI has many modalities incorporating Animal Assisted Activity, Animal Assisted Education, Animal Assisted Play Therapy and Animal Assisted Therapy. The latter is goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process delivered by a volunteer handler and dog team with specialised expertise and in partnership with the patients’ medical team.

Lyndsey and Karen have been collating and studying experience feedback from the children, their parents and professionals who have had direct experience of the therapy dog teams at Southampton Children’s Hospital over the past 12 months. 

The study will progress to look at the physiological impact of this. For example, does it create a psychological ‘nice feeling’ or is there a real physical impact on things like heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenaline? What about engagement and patient compliance with treatment and therapies? And what impact does all this have on the recovery of a patient?

The starting point is the impact of therapy dogs with children, but the same principles could over time be mirrored into other departments and on into veterinary care and how we look after animals during their veterinary health care provision – Do animals recover better in a veterinary hospital or with their family? Do human family visits aid animal recovery?

The outcomes of this research will be documented, measured and evaluated - updates will be shared via our website and social media.