Health Report 4/21/13

April 22nd, 2013

From autistic kids to people with chronic pain, they've been shown to be beneficial without any real side effects. They aren't miracle pills, they're pups! Lou Baxter tells us how dogs are making a difference in healthcare.

"Kelsie's coming in today."

It may be hard to believe.

Sgt. Matthew Krumweide, injured in Afghanistan, says: "I didn't really believe it until, you know, I got here."

But this dog ... "She's awesome" ... is kind of like a drug.
"Settles things down."

Sergeant Krumweide lost both legs and severely injured his arm in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Krumweide, "I stepped on an IED."

Rehab's been hard.

Sgt. Krumweide, "You know, it hurts a lot."

But Kelsie makes it easier.

Sgt. Krumweide, "I love her."

Matthew says, one day during physical therapy, he was struggling while working on his arm's range of motion. He tells us when Kelsie came in, the pain went away.

Sgt. Krumweide, "We were able to get there. Get to 90 degrees."

Doctor Elizabeth Johnson believes therapy dogs are: "Just probably the most holistic approach to treatment that I think is out there."

A study found therapy dog visits to chronic pain patients led to significant reduction in pain and emotional distress. Research shows therapy dogs also lowered autistic children's stress hormones or cortisol levels by 48-percent, which points to potential behavioral benefits. Various reports say, pet therapy can help lower anxiety, decrease blood pressure, shorten hospital stays and improve patient outcomes.

Matthew is improving every day. He's working on walking and eventually wants to snow-ski.

Sgt. Krumweide, "So that's gonna be hard. I gotta work at it."

And Kelsie will be close by to help him through it all.
Lou Baxter, Jet 24, Action News.

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