Imagine being 10 years old and finding out that you have cancer, and that you’ll have to go through chemotherapy, radiation, and a liver transplant… then the doctor tells you that your best friend & confidant, your dog, is a threat to your health!
Pets are potential reservoirs of zoonotic infections, particularly in immunosuppressed patients. For this reason, some program discourages patients from owning pets despite a lack of scientific evidence on the actual risk-benefit ratio. It was under these difficult circumstances that Laurent, only 10 years old at the time, would have gone through his cancer treatment and transplant… but for him and his family, this was not an option!
His mother Hélène, a small animal veterinary practitioner, knew the profound affection that Laurent had for their dog Sushi, and also the vital moral and emotional support that Sushi provided. With that in mind, Hélène reached out to her alma mater, the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire of the University of Montreal, to see if more evidence-based clinical knowledge was available. With the scarcity of valid information and the need to fill this gap suddenly brought to light, the Projet Laurent was born!
Projet Laurent is now a pan Canadian unique interdisciplinary project, INITIATED and co-created by patient partners and professionals from coast to coast. Their vision is to enable immunosuppressedpatients to safely own pets in order to reap a multitude of benefits, all while minimizing the risks of infection.
Even though Projet Laurent is still in its early days, it has already brought together an outstanding intersectoral team of experts: immunologists, veterinarians, anthropologists, microbiologists, clinicians, parasitologists, sociologists, kinesiologists, epidemiologists, pet therapyworkers, psychologists, and of course patients and their family.
RESEARCH & INNOVATION
We will rapidly implement studies to provide scientific evidence on the impact of pet ownership on immunosuppressed patients. Goals:
Characterize the true risks of zoonotic disease transmission using humanized mouse models and cohort studies.
Characterize the broader psychosocial well-being and physicalhealth benefits (e.g. mental health, impacts on physical activity, rehabilitation, social interaction, quality of life).
The cost-benefit ratio of pet ownership.
In a second phase, we will conduct prospective interventional studies to determine best practices including new interventions on pets to prevent the transmission of zoonoses and maximize benefits on the physical health and psychological and social well-being of immunosuppressed patients.
REAL TIME KNOWLEDGE DISSEMINATION & COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
Using a model of real time knowledge dissemination and communication strategy, we will create training modules and decision support tools adapted for:
Immunosuppressed patients and their families.
Human health professionals (including doctors, nurses, kinesiologists, psychotherapists, physiotherapists, etc.).
Pet-assisted therapy practitioners.
College and university students in human medicine, veterinary medicine, kinesiology, physiotherapy, nursing care/science, psychology, and pettherapy and develop and deploy adiversified communication strategy (web portal, fact sheets, presentation materials).
This content will be updated in real time,incorporating new evidence as it emergesfrom the Research and Innovation studies.
Now imagine being 10 years old, and your doctor has all theinformation needed to help minimize the risks related to yourpet, in the hope of allowing your best friend & confidant, yourdog, to help you through chemotherapy, radiation and atransplant for your liver cancer!
This is our goal, and we need you to help us make it a reality!