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Investigating the protein pathways elicited by partnering military veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder with psychiatric service dogs

April 23, 2024

How are military veterans with PTSD and their service dogs impacted by their pairings over time?

 PTSD symptom status is being tracked in 50 veterans before and after being paired with their service dog. A series of coinciding blood draws will be analyzed using proteomics technology that is capable of measuring over 11,000 proteins in biological samples. These data will identify the physiological changes mediated by the dogs that lead to reductions in PTSD symptoms. Behavioral data and blood draws from the dogs will be analyzed using the same approach to explore how this type of service affects the dogs. The research is anticipated to substantially increase our understanding of how the human-canine bond improves PTSD symptoms and how acting as service dogs affects their health and well-being. Further, the study is likely to identify panels of biomarkers that can be used to track progress toward PTSD symptom reduction and canine health and stress levels.