Monday, December 3, 2007

Dystonia and pet ownership: An unorthodox inclusion to treatment plans

Much has been written about the many types of dystonia, the diagnostic processes, presenting symptoms and appropriate treatments. However, thinking on a more lateral perspective about enhancing orthodox intervention strategies, the role of animal companionship is also worthy of recognition. This is particularly so when people become socially isolated because of living with the effects of dystonic symptoms.

Research shows that people with pets are less socially isolated because they find it easier to meet others in their community. Whilst it is estimated 12 million Australians have an association with pets, 63 per cent of households recognize domestic pets as family members. It seems those delightful little bundles of fur or feather do have a good effect on us by promoting our wellbeing.

Whether it be walking your dog, throwing a ball or just enjoying eachother's company, it is equally beneficial as stroking your cat while enjoying that amazing reciprocal relationship. If you have any form of cardiac disease you can rest assured, there is evidence that recovery following heart attack is recognized as being much quicker for those who have a family pet!

Pictured above are our delightfully neurotic geriatric labradoodle and our aloof but ever so loving cat, also of the geriatric kind! They give us much enjoyment and are devoted companions to eachother and to all in our family. By engaging with our pets I experience a reduction in anxiety when treatment begins to fade and spasms return.

Do you have a special relationship with a domestic pet? If so, what does this experience mean for you? Click on the highlighted links throughout this article to learn more about pet companionship.

Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia.

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