Screening & Prevention


EP114-3 - Pets Impact Your Patients' Health

Thursday, November 23
1:55 PM - 2:10 PM

Background (50 words):
People are strongly bonded with their pets, considering them members of the family. Pets are a source of health benefits (zooeyia) and a mitigatable zoonotic risk for their families. When family physicians know about the pets in the family, they can activate this existing family health resource.
Summary of work (50 words):
Asking about pets when clinically relevant and during periodic health reviews, enables health care providers to better assess their patients' determinants of health and social history, resulting in better communication and care. Asking about pets is a boundary-appropriate topic that easily opens conversations and strengthens the therapeutic alliance.
Summary of results (50 words)
Asking about pets was universally relevant to all health care providers studied- all had at least some patients who lived with pets. Participants increased routinely asking patients three-fold within four months and reported that they now knew more about their patients' physical activity levels, social capital, and healthy behaviours.

Discussion (50 words)
Asking about pets improved patient-centred communication. Healthcare providers reported that discussions initiated about the pet went on to reveal more about the patient's home life, their physical activity levels, their housing, and their sources of social companionship.
Conclusion (50 words)
Asking about pets can improve communication with patients and assessment of their social determinants of health. This question is a simple communication strategy to open conversations about how patients live. Health care providers reported improved patient care through leveraging zooeyia- including encouraging physical activity and motivating healthy choices.

Learning Objectives:

Marcia Darling

Principal Investigator, Medical Writer

Marcia Darling is a freelance Medical Writer, working with content experts in a wide range of fields to develop papers for submission to peer reviewed journals, and continuing medical education programs. Her research, in partnership with Kate Hodgson, DVM, MHSc, CCMEP and Alan Monavvari, MD, MHSc, CCFP, CHE, CPHQ, focuses on how health care providers can work with patients and clients to leverage zooeyia (the benefits of pets to human health), and mitigate the risks.


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EP114-3 - Pets Impact Your Patients' Health

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