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Animal Visitation Chlorhexidine Trial


If you'd like to enroll or have questions, please email us at:

Baltimore Site:

Philadelphia Site: 

Doctors Leading the Study

PI: Meghan F. Davis, DVM, PhD, MPH
Johns Hopkins University

Allen Chen, MD
Johns Hopkins Hospital

Ronald Rubenstein, MD, PhD
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Daniel O. Morris, DVM, MPH
UPenn Veterinary School

Laurel E. Redding, VMD, PhD
UPenn Veterinary School

Kathryn Dalton, VMD, MPH
Johns Hopkins University

Kaitlin B. Waite, DVM, MPH
Johns Hopkins University

Infection control has always been important for Animal Therapy programs in hospitals. Animal Therapy programs provide many health benefits to patients and are strictly regulated to decrease the risk of infection. Research studies are trying to examine if dogs in animal therapy programs can sometimes serve as vehicles for transporting potentially harmful germs from one patient to another. We think that the dogs are not the source of these germs, but that they may be accidentally helping the germs move around.

Although there are NO reports of increased infection in patients who participate in dog therapy visits, these studies have made us aware of possible gaps in current infection control guidelines. Hospitals everywhere will need to address these concerns. We are attempting to develop a scientifically proven protocol to reduce the chance of exposure to potentially harmful germs in patients participating in Animal Therapy programs. You can help with this effort!

Goals of this Study:

  1. To evaluate whether there are any risk factors for developing a hospital-associated pathogen (such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)), in patients who participate in dog therapy sessions.

  2. To evaluate if using chlorhexidine wipes on the dog will help lower the risk of exposure to hospital-associated pathogens in patients participating in therapy sessions. 

  3. To measure if the benefits of dog therapy sessions were affected by the addition of the chlorhexidine intervention.