New research is under way at Purdue University to determine whether service dogs can alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Marguerite O’Haire, an assistant professor of human-animal interaction at the school’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is leading a study of 100 post-9/11 veterans to see if a dog trained to help a veteran with PTSD influences medical symptoms, social anxiety, relationships and more.

The research could help answer a question that has plagued the Veterans Affairs Department, which provides service dogs to former troops with certain physical disabilities but not those with mental health disorders: Do service dogs have a tangible impact on veterans with PTSD and other anxiety-related conditions?

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