Service Dogs for Veterans With PTSD

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development Identifier:
First received: March 30, 2011
Last updated: March 29, 2016
Last verified: March 2016
The purpose of this study is to evaluate use of service dogs for individuals who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Objectives include: (1) assess the impact service dogs have on the mental health and quality of life of Veterans; (2) to provide recommendations to the VA to serve as guidance in providing service dogs to Veterans; and (3) To determine cost associated with total health care utilization and mental health care utilization among Veterans with PTSD.

Condition Intervention
Other: Service Dogs

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Official Title: Service Dogs for Veterans With PTSD: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Further study details as provided by VA Office of Research and Development:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Mental Health Outcomes [ Time Frame: 3,6,9,12,18 and 24 months after receipt of service dog ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Mental Health Outcomes are defined by the following measures: (PCL-S - PTSD symptoms; Depression - measured by PHQ9; and Alcohol abuse - measured by the Audit-C)

Enrollment: 62
Study Start Date: July 2011
Estimated Study Completion Date: March 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date: January 2017 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Arm 1
Service Dogs
Other: Service Dogs
Service dogs will be trained to help veterans with PTSD


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age greater than or equal to 18 years
  • Referral from provider.
  • PTSD diagnosis
  • In active treatment for PTSD for at least three months at time of enrollment, with plans to remain in active treatment
  • Acceptance by the dog vendor for the service dog
  • Ability to adequately care for a dog - physically/financially
  • Living in Florida
  • Able to travel to vendor for pairing with dog

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Been hospitalized for mental health reasons in the prior 6 months
  • Not living at the same residence for 6 months.
  • Diagnoses: Psychoses, Delusions, dementia, active alcohol/substance dependence. Moderate to severe TBI. Any other diagnosis deemed by PI to limit ability to participate or give informed consent
  • At time of enrollment - Active suicidal ideation, homicide, cognitive disabilities that would preclude safety of animal and ability needed for participation in the study.
  • Children under age 10 living in the home
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01329341

United States, Florida
James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, Tampa, FL
Tampa, Florida, United States, 33612
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Principal Investigator: Stephanie McGovern, RN James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital, Tampa, FL
  More Information

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT01329341     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: D8094-I 
Study First Received: March 30, 2011
Last Updated: March 29, 2016
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by VA Office of Research and Development:
Service Dogs processed this record on May 30, 2016