Pet Therapy & Service Animals for Multiple Sclerosis
- by Nichole B.
- February 05, 2018
Nichole B. is a paid employee of Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
Animals have a natural way of providing support. They can calm people down just by being there, they can sense when someone’s feeling low, and they are often there as a friend when needed. With chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis, it’s common to experience symptoms like depression, loneliness and isolation. Pets could be a great way to lift your spirits. If the disease has had an impact on your independence, a service pet may help you get some of it back.
There are therapy animals and service animals. Therapy animals provide emotional support and a calming presence, but are not allowed everywhere as defined by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Service animals may help with turning on lights, picking things up off of the floor, guiding for the visually impaired and many other daily living tasks. Unlike therapy animals, service animals are allowed in many places, as defined by the ADA. Service animals can also be trained to identify certain medical issues such as seizures or high blood sugar. If you’re interested in learning more about service animals, you can check out the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s resources.
When considering getting a therapy or service animal, there are a few things to take into consideration:
- Can you care for the pet, or do you have someone who lives with you full time to ensure the pet has food and water and a clean litter box, and is walked and let outside?
- Consider the financial commitments of a pet, like veterinary bills, licensing fees, food, grooming, vaccinations (required by your city and county) and the fees for the adoption.
- Can you see yourself with an animal for at least 10 years or longer?
- If you have children in the home, be sure to do your research and find a breed that is good with children.
Pets are a wonderful source of comfort for many people with MS. They could become a valuable member of your family or a part of your MS team. They can be great companions, playmates, and they might help you stay active if you need to take them for walks. A pet could be right for you, and if it is, get ready for lots of lovin’!
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Shared Solutions® Nurse
About The Author
Nichole B., RN, works at Teva’s Shared Solutions®. She has specialized in multiple sclerosis for two and a half years and has 6 years of nursing experience.
COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.
Do not use COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.