Animals Visiting in Healthcare Facilities

Kathleen (Kit) Darling, MS President

Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, Texas A & M University
College Station, TX

Pamela Douglas, MSN, RN, CIC Infection Prevention Coordinator

Texas A&M University Veterinary Teaching Hospital
College Station, TX

Revised Publication:
February 14, 2024
Original Publication:
October 2, 2014
Declarations of Conflicts of Interest:
  • Kathleen (Kit) Darling currently serves on the board of directors for Aggieland Pets With A Purpose (President) and Aggieland Humane Society. No financial compensation was received.
  • Pamela Douglas is a Clinical Editor of the APIC Text. She did not handle the chapter in an editor capacity and reports no other conflicts of interest.

Special thanks to Kathleen (Kit) Darling for writing the original 2014 chapter in addition to revising the 2024 section.


People benefit from human-animal interaction socially, psychologically, and physiologically. In healthcare-related situations, programs for animal visitation, animal-assisted activities, animal-assisted therapy, and service animals are intended to assist in returning patients to wellness and independence. Healthcare facilities must establish animal and handler guidelines and program-specific infection prevention policies to provide a safe environment for animals, handlers, and patients. Healthcare providers need to understand and abide by the laws for service animals and persons with disabilities.